Do braces work?
Will a knee brace weaken my muscles?
Why are ankle braces so uncomfortable?
If you’ve ever Googled these questions, you know that there’s a lot of conflicting information. So, to tackle that and dispel your concerns about braces, let’s debunk five common myths about bracing.
1. Braces don’t work
Extensive research, testing, and customer experience show that braces DO work. Braces like our GenuTrain, for example, have been proven to reduce swelling, stabilise and offload the knee joint, and relieve pain - both by our customers and by independent studies. The GenuTrain does so through a system of targeted compression and an anatomically contoured gel pad, which (at the risk of sounding too technical);
- Reduces the production of edemas, which are your body’s inflammatory agents
- Stimulates nerves to activate your muscles and improve your proprioception. Essentially, improved muscle activation means your knee moves as it should, leading to better body weight load distribution and less pressure on the knee compartments. You also won’t get muscle wastage and won’t become reliant on the brace (but more on that later).
- And last but not least, massages key points in the muscle to relieve pain.
If you’re in the mood to see some in-depth bracing results and research, check out our collected studies.
Of course, not every brace on the market has the same quality, which brings us to our next myth.
2. All braces are the same
This is inaccurate for two reasons. For one, brace quality varies a lot from manufacturer to manufacturer. And for two, even two braces from the same manufacturer help in varying degrees depending on what they were designed for.
A quality brace is one that’s comfortable to wear, fits you perfectly, and is made of quality materials. Most neoprene braces, for example, aren’t breathable. And as they’re often mass manufactured, it can be hard to find the right size and level of support. On the other hand, Bauerfeind braces (like the GenuTrain) are made of flat-knit compression weave, making them breathable and comfortable. They’re also meticulously designed, machine-knit, and put together by hand into a wide variety of sizes. And in case you weren’t aware, we also manufacture every brace fully in-house to ensure it ticks all the boxes for comfort, fit, feel, and effectiveness.
Learn more: Why You Should Reconsider Your Neoprene Brace
The design of braces - from padding to compression points to stays to straps - can vary a lot based on what the brace is designed to help with. For example, our Sports Ankle Support is built to support a healthy ankle through sharp twists common in sports like volleyball and dance. So, as you can imagine, it’s much softer and more flexible than the CaligaLoc, which is geared toward ligament ruptures.
3. Bracing weakens muscles
Bracing does not weaken muscles: not moving does. In fact, a quality brace can help strengthen muscles as its ability to support the joint and offer relief from pain and swelling helps people get up and moving again, even when they have more advanced stages of arthritis or serious injuries like ligament tears.
Check out our collected studies showing how Bauerfeind braces actually improve muscle activity.
4. All braces are clunky and uncomfortable
It’s true that some braces like the CaligaLoc are bulkier than compression sleeves. It’s also true that some mass-manufactured braces aren't likely to be comfortable due to the cheap materials and poor design. However, Bauerfeind braces are flat-knit and anatomically contoured, so they’ll be comfortable for all-day wear and fit fine under most pants and into most shoes.
5. You only need a brace if you’re in pain
This is simply not the case. Firstly, some braces are built to improve sports performance and reduce your risk of injury (and, by extension, pain.) And second, if you’re recovering from an injury, we’d strongly advise you to stick to your doctor's orders. In a way, braces work kind of like antibiotics. Even if you’re not feeling the symptoms anymore, you shouldn’t stop using them prematurely because it will increase your risk of re-injury.
To sum up
There are a lot of myths about bracing out there, from completely inaccurate, to only applicable for certain products or in specific cases. The truth is, many sources are often lacking in-depth research into bracing and its impact on human biomechanics. So, if you're out looking for a brace, we hope you keep that in mind. And we also hope you remember that not all braces are made equal and that material, fit, and purpose can make all the difference.
If you require assistance selecting the right product for your needs or wearing the brace, call us on 1300 668 466 or contact us via live chat.
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