First we need to know a little bit about the knee joint. The knee joint is not a simple hinge joint. As it goes through the motion of bending it is described as a gliding, sliding, rotating motion. There is not one single point of rotation. The axis is called a "J" evolute. That is, if you were to mark the center of rotation at the knee at different points while it is bending it would look like a backward letter J. To you and me, it seems like it's moving like a hinge turns on a door. But the knee joint anatomy is actually very complex.
Let me give you some basic anatomy. I'm not interested in boring you or losing you with a bunch of details. But you must know the mechanism of injury if you expect to get a brace that will help you and protect your knee. After all, it is your body. You only get one. So bear with me please.
The bone in the thigh is called the femur and in the calf it is called the tibia. The femur sits on top of the tibia. In order to keep them in proper relation to each other as we walk, run, sit down, get up and do any other activity it takes cartilage, ligaments, and other soft tissue structures along with muscle tendons and muscle action to do the job. The ligaments are the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), the Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL), the Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) and the Lateral Collateral Ligament(LCL).
We will talk briefly about the ACL and PCL ligaments. The ACL and PCL are sandwiched between the bottom of the femur and top of the tibia. They are in an "X" configuration. The ACL keeps the tibia from moving forward in relation to the femur. And the PCL does the opposite, keeping the femur from moving forward over the tibia. When you go to see your healthcare provider or Physical Therapist or Sports Trainer ask them to show you a diagram or a model of the knee. Most professionals in sports medicine will have a model to show you.
O.K. Enough anatomy already! Bottom line is when one of these ligaments is torn, partially or completely, it cannot do the job it is meant to do. Therefore, you need help from the outside to control motion at the knee, you need a knee brace. In my next article I will talk about the anatomy of a knee brace. I will describe its features and explain what it will do for you. Knowing these things will enable you to make a good choice in spending your money wisely and getting a product you know will work for you.
John Burger operates the blog SuperiorKneeBraces.com He loves helping people make good choices with their time and money when buying a knee brace. If you sign up on his blog you will get free information on knee braces that can help you or your friend or family member who needs some pain relief and/or protection for their knees. There is a lot more information on the blog that covers specific braces, brace manufacturers and when to choose what brace. Check out the information and if you need more you can always email me. I look forward to hearing from you.
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