Sometime after Cactus Rose 100, I developed the dreaded runner's knee, or patellofemoral pain syndrome. Characterized by pain around the knee joint, especially when I run, and a grinding sensation when I bend the knee, I've had to take some time off and look into remedies for this particular running injury. Aside from icing (to reduce swelling), using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ( NSAIDs), like Advil, strengthening exercises to strengthen thigh muscles, and taking glucosamine and chondroitin supplements for joint support, I have investigated the world of knee braces. Knee braces come in different varieties and can be quite useful in supporting the knee and taking pressure off the part of the knee joint that is affected by the injury.
Used mostly by athletes in contact sports like basketball, soccer, and football, this type of brace is a preventative measure, used to prevent injury to the knee. The American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) is skeptical. They state: "there is no credible long-term scientifically conducted study that supports using knee braces on otherwise healthy players."
Functional knee braces, like their name suggests, are designed to provide support for knees recovering from prior injury, while performing normal, day-to-day functions. Please note, these braces are not designed for high-load conditions - conditions that put a high amount of compression and rotational force on the knee joint. These are the kinds of braces that are most readily and cheaply available in your local drug store.
Rehabilitative braces, as you might guess, help you recover from injury by reducing the kind of movement that would slow the healing process.
These kinds of braces are specifically designed for people with arthritis in their knees.
Here is a good video which surveys the four different kinds of knee braces:
For more information on knee braces and which kind is right for you, click here for an overview of knee braces provided by the Mayo Clinic.
Also, click here for an overview provided by FamilyDoctor.org.