Ligament stability bracing can be used to prevent injury or to protect recent surgical reconstruction. The stability of the knee joint involves 4 main ligaments:
Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL)
Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL)
Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL)
Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL
ACL and PCL Injuries
When an ACL is torn or otherwise injured, control of the tibia has no defined endpoint causing knee instability. As a result, a major issue when suffering from an ACL injury
is the time it takes for the hamstrings to activate and control as the tibia moves into extension.
When the PCL is torn or injured, the tibia naturally wants to move posteriorly as the knee moves further into flexion.
The ACL and PCL stabilise the knee in front to the back movement (anterior/posterior translation). These ligaments form a cross in the centre of the joint, hence their name ‘cruciate’.
The LCL and MCL are the ligaments on the sides of your knee. These stabilise the knee in side to side movement (medial/lateral).
For the knee to function effectively, all four of these ligaments need to be strong. A ligament stability brace can substitute for these ligaments by protecting the knee in the front/back and side to side planes of movement.
There are varying grades of ligament injury/sprain:
Grade 1 – Mild ligament tear
Grade 2 – Moderate ligament tear
Grade 3 – Complete rupture
Clinicians can treat ligament injuries conservatively (without surgery, with physiotherapy) or with reconstructive surgery. A brace can help with both of these options – by protecting the knee to allow lesser grade injuries to heal back together or by protecting a surgically repaired ligament.
Allograft or autograft – If a clinician decides an operative intervention is necessary, they may use autograft tissue (the patients own) or allograft (a donor).