When Would Custom Bracing Be Useful for an ACL or OA of Knee?

When Would Custom Bracing Be Useful for an ACL or OA of Knee?

Injuries to the knee can be devastating, particularly when they affect important structures like the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). The ACL is responsible for keeping the tibia (shinbone) in place and preventing it from sliding forward or twisting unnaturally. When it tears, the knee can become unstable, making it difficult to walk or perform everyday tasks. Similarly, osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee can cause pain, stiffness, and a decreased range of motion. While surgery is sometimes necessary to treat these conditions, there are other options, including custom bracing.

Custom bracing is a type of medical device that is designed to fit the unique contours of an individual’s body. It is typically made from lightweight, durable materials like carbon fiber or plastic and can be worn over or under clothing. Others are made of aluminium depending on the brand or company. Custom bracing can be used to support and stabilize a joint, relieve pain and inflammation, and improve mobility.

One situation in which custom bracing can be useful is after an ACL tear. Although surgical repair is often necessary for athletes or those with more active lifestyles, there are some patients who are not good candidates for surgery or who choose not to have it. In these cases, a custom brace can help stabilize the knee and prevent further injury. The brace can also provide support during rehabilitation exercises and other activities that require the knee to bear weight. In some cases, a custom brace can be used instead of surgery to manage a partial tear or other less severe ACL injuries.

Custom bracing can also be beneficial for patients with OA of the knee. OA occurs when the cartilage in the knee joint begins to wear away, causing the bones to rub together. This can lead to pain, stiffness, and a decreased range of motion. While there is no cure for OA, there are many treatment options available, including custom bracing. A custom brace can help distribute the weight of the body more evenly across the knee joint, reducing pressure on the affected area. This can help to relieve pain and improve mobility. In addition, a custom brace can provide support to the knee during activities that require bending or twisting, reducing the risk of further damage.

There are several benefits to using custom bracing to treat ACL tears or OA of the knee. First, custom braces are designed specifically for each patient, ensuring a comfortable and secure fit. This can help to improve compliance, as patients are more likely to wear a brace that fits well and does not cause discomfort. Second, custom bracing can be more effective than off-the-shelf braces, as it is designed to address the specific needs of the patient. This can help to improve outcomes and reduce the risk of further injury or damage.

Combining custom bracing and physiotherapy or athletic therapy for optimal knee health

Custom bracing is an effective option for stabilizing the knee and reducing pain and inflammation in patients with ACL tears or OA of the knee. However, it is important to remember that bracing is just one component of a comprehensive treatment plan. In addition to custom bracing, physiotherapy can play an important role in improving outcomes for patients with knee injuries or conditions.

Physiotherapy or Athletic Therapy is a type of healthcare that focuses on improving the function of the body through exercise, manual therapy, and other techniques. For patients with ACL tears, physiotherapy is often an essential part of rehabilitation. After surgery or injury, the knee can become stiff and weak. Physiotherapy or Athletic Therapy can help to restore range of motion and strength, as well as improve balance and coordination. This is important for regaining the ability to perform everyday activities, such as walking, climbing stairs, and standing for long periods.

For patients with OA of the knee, physiotherapy or athletic therapy can help to reduce pain and stiffness, as well as improve mobility. Exercise is an important part of managing OA, as it helps to strengthen the muscles that support the knee joint and improve range of motion. A physiotherapist or athletic therapist can design a customized exercise program that is tailored to the individual needs and abilities of the patient. This may include exercises to improve flexibility, strength, and balance, as well as low-impact activities like swimming or cycling that are easier on the joints.

In addition to exercise, physiotherapy or athletic therapy may also include manual therapy, such as massage or joint mobilization, to help reduce pain and inflammation. Manual therapy can also be used to improve joint alignment, which can help to reduce pressure on the affected area. This is particularly important for patients with OA, as misalignment of the knee joint can contribute to the wear and tear of cartilage.

Custom bracing can also be used in conjunction with physiotherapy or athletic therapy to provide additional support and stabilization to the knee joint. A physiotherapist or certified athletic therapist can work with the patient to ensure that the brace fits properly and does not impede movement. They can also provide guidance on how to properly use and care for the brace, as well as recommend exercises and activities that are safe to perform while wearing the brace.

Overall, physiotherapy or athletic therapy is an important part of managing knee injuries and conditions like ACL tears and OA of the knee. By combining custom bracing with exercise, manual therapy, and other techniques, patients can improve their outcomes and reduce their risk of further injury or damage. If you are experiencing knee pain or have been diagnosed with a knee injury or condition, talk to your doctor or physical therapist about whether physiotherapy may be right for you.


This appointment is your opportunity to tell us what hurts and discover whether physiotherapy or chiropractic care is a good fit for you! During this session, you will talk with a physiotherapist or chiropractor on a phone call (or online) and create the right care plan specifically for your pain. There is no obligation on this session is to find out whether physiotherapy or chiropractic care can help you getting back to doing the things you love in life.

Frequently Asked Questions

A knee brace with an adjustable hinge, such as an unloader brace, is often the best type of brace for osteoarthritis. Unloader braces help to reduce the pressure on the affected joint, which helps to relieve pain and improve mobility.

Depending on the severity of the injury, a brace may be recommended for ACL injuries. A hinged knee brace with a strap or a functional knee brace, such as a DonJoy brace, is often used to provide support and stability to the knee joint following an ACL injury.

In general, a properly fitted knee brace should not cause damage to the knee joint. However, if the brace is not properly fitted, or if the brace is not used as directed, it can cause further damage to the knee joint. It is important to consult a doctor or physical therapist to ensure that the brace is fitted and used correctly.

About Megan Stewart

Megan obtained her Athletic Therapy certification after 4 years at Sheridan College. During that time she completed her 1600 clinical hours at Seneca College, Toronto Athletic Club and Applecreek Sports Medicine. She played Varsity volleyball and also covered the Toronto Scottish Rugby team for the remainder of her Sheridan experience.  

Medical Disclaimer:

The information presented in this blog post is for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, treatment or a diagnosis, consult with a medical professional such as one suggested on this website. The Clinic Accelerator Inc. and the author of this page are not liable for the associated risks of using or acting upon the information contained in this article.

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