The bionic man delighted a generation of school children with his super-strength mechanical body. But now fantasy is becoming fact with the latest knee brace technology that is set to transform the experience of people with knee injuries and osteoarthritis of the knee.
Our knee is the largest joint in our body. We rely on fully-functioning knee joints to be able to lead a healthy, active lifestyle. However, they are one of the most vulnerable joints to injury.
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, more than 10.4 million US patients visit their doctor every year for treatment to knee sprains and ligament tears.
So, what is a knee brace and how does it help?
A knee brace is an external device worn on the knee to help to stabilise the joint and provide support. They are used to treat chronic pain, speed recovery, prevent injury, correct deformities, and help athletes to achieve optimum performance.
Knee braces can be beneficial for conditions such as osteoarthritis, cruciate ligament injuries, meniscus damage and ligament instability. If your knee is misaligned, a brace can help to realign it, improving your stability and strength and reducing your risk of falls.
Knee braces have been around for many years in different forms – functional knee braces, unloader braces and neoprene sleeves.
However, the latest generation of knee braces is bringing hope to people with weakened and damaged knee joints and even people who are paraplegic. Not only do these new types of braces support the knee and promote recovery but they can increase the wearer’s capabilities beyond their normal level, thanks to state of the art bionic technology.
How do knee braces work?
Bionic knee braces contain a spring-loaded hinge. When you bend your knee, the pressure exerted can reach up to seven times your bodyweight. The hinge inside the latest bionic knee braces absorbs this additional pressure/energy. As you straighten your leg, that energy is returned to your knee to help you to extend your leg. This helps to restore strength to your knee and not only support its natural movement but also enhance its capabilities.
The spring-loaded hinge acts as a shock-absorption system, reducing pressure throughout all three compartments of the knee, relieving pain and redirecting compressive forces away from your knee joint. As your strength increases, the power can be turned down or turned off altogether.
Known as knee extensor assist (KEA), this new technology can decrease the load on your knee joint by up to 64%.
It can relieve pain and improve mobility in people who are recovering from knee injury or who have osteoarthritis, and can even be used for people who are paraplegic, providing they can initiate some movement in the knee.
People with other conditions might also benefit, including those with Muscular Dystrophy, Huntington’s Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Whereas traditional knee braces can support recovery from injury and prevent injuries from happening in the first place, the latest braces have the potential to increase the strength of the knee joint and legs.
This make possible a whole new range of movements and activities, including returning to high impact sports like cross-country skiing.
Bionic knee braces are manufactured from a lightweight carbon fibre shell with a powered bionic hinge that can lift up to 40 lbs of body weight.
Here are some examples of knee braces you can purchase online from one of our suppliers, DJO Global or Spring Loaded Technology. We can assist you with selecting the right brace for your injury or condition following diagnosis.