Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Knee News

Athletic Performance Hinges on Knee Brace Selection

When choosing a protective knee brace, research shows that the make and model may affect the speed and agility of an athlete. Thirty football players dressed in full gear were timed in the 40-yard dash and in a four-cone agility drill. Their scores doing the drills while wearing one of six types of braces were compared to their scores when they didn't wear a brace. The authors found that certain types of protective knee braces do not necessarily hamper an athlete's performance, either in speed or agility.

Another consideration is how much the brace slides up or down on the athlete's leg during the sport activity. Measurements were taken to see which braces seemed to hold the best. By placing a mark on the leg, researchers compared how much each brace moved up or down during each drill. The authors noted that the braces tended to move during activity. The athletes were asked how much they thought the brace moved during the drill. Most of the time, their answers didn't match up to the actual measurements.

This study specifically did not test how much these braces would protect the knee. But according to the authors, the fact that braces showed some movement during the tests "could affect their protective function and athlete performance."

David L. Green, MD, et al. Effects of Protective Knee Bracing on Speed and Agility. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. July/August 2000. Vol. 28. No. 4. Pp. 453-59.


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