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Why do some athletes wear hinged knee braces?

Athletes typically wear a hinged knee brace to prevent an existing or repaired injury from recurring or getting worse but also in some cases athletes wear the hinged brace to prevent an injury.  A hinged knee brace allows the knee to travel through its semi-normal range of motion while providing enhanced lateral stability.  This allow the knee to hinge but not cave laterally.  The hinged brace will also prevent hyper-extension of the knee by limiting how much the joint can extend.  The simple answer is that the hinged brace only allows the knee to move in a range of motion that is safe for that particular knee.
Generally speaking, there are two types of braces. Functional knee braces help provide stability for previously injured joints. Prophylactic knee braces are worn in an attempt to prevent injuries. How they work and their effectiveness is a bit cloudy and varies depending on the type of activity, condition of the joint and soft tissues, as well as the amount and rate of loading. A key point to remember is that no brace can replace proper strengthening of the joint and surrounding musculature.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.