Hiking can be a wonderful way to enjoy nature. Hiking is also often considered a less strenuous method of exercising. But committed hikers know that hiking is no different than any other form of exercise.
Long-term and serious hikes can put a strain on your body. If you’re planning a long hike, or already suffer from knee pain, it is a good idea to invest in a quality knee brace.
The right knee brace will support your knee. Knee braces are also useful for alleviating pressure on the knee.
Consider These Factors Before Buying a Knee Brace for Hiking
Size, price, and comfort are all important considerations when choosing a knee brace for hiking. But your ultimate choice of knee braces should hinge on the type of support it provides. There are different knee brace designs, each with different strengths.
The various types of knee braces provide differing degrees of support. Different knee braces also support different parts of the knee. Knowing what all the related terms mean will help you choose the knee brace most appropriate for you.
Degree of Support
Knee braces are often labeled according to the amount of support they provide. The degrees are classified as levels one through three-plus. A level three brace will provide more support than a level one, which provides the least support.
The more support a knee brace provides, the more it will restrict your movement. Lower levels of support are best for minor injuries. They also are a good choice if your purpose in wearing a knee brace is to prevent injuries when hiking, rather than to protect existing injuries.
It’s also important to know the different designs knee braces come in. Some of the more common designs include:
Knee sleeves are exactly what they sound like. They are lightweight and can usually be worn under your clothing. They are usually used for less severe pain and injuries.
Hinged knee braces are more restrictive. Hinged braces are a good choice for people recovering from injuries. The hinged brace can hold your knee in the position most conducive to healing.
When searching for a knee brace for hiking, you’ll encounter the terms “open” or “closed” patella. For those not up on their medical terminology, the patella is simply another name for your kneecap.
An open patella knee brace supports the area around your knee. It leaves a gap uncovering the knee itself. This alleviates some of the pressure on your knee while holding it in place.
A closed patella knee brace encloses the entire knee. It provides uniform pressure and support for the knee and surrounding area.
Some knee braces come in specific sizes. Others are adjustable. Whichever you choose, a proper fit is important. The knee brace can only do what it’s designed to do if it is worn correctly.
You may need to measure your knee, both across the kneecap and directly below it. Then match your measurements with a sizing chart, if provided.
A knee brace is a piece of medical equipment, but it is also something you will be wearing on your body. Take care to choose a knee brace that will become uncomfortable or sweaty. That way you can hike for as long or short as wanted.
Finally, when making a decision affecting your body and health, it is always best to consult with your doctor. They are best equipped to advise you on the best knee braces for your individual medical needs.
Because there are so many options, a medical professional can help you determine the amount of support you need. They can also make sure that you are wearing your brace correctly, with a proper fit.