Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Rigid-frame orthopedic knee braces
Old 08-02-2006, 07:45 PM   #1
Moderator Emeritus
Nords's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Oahu
Posts: 26,616
Rigid-frame orthopedic knee braces

Here's a followup to another thread--
My first MRI: http://early-retirement.org/forums/i...p?topic=7929.0
ACL websites: http://www.aclsolutions.com/default.php (Thanks again, Mike!)

Knee braces have come a long way, baby.

It's been over three months since I injured my left knee and it still swells a bit after significant exertion. The injury didn't cause any new permanent damage (I already had a torn ACL plus other decades of wear & tear) but it apparently takes a while for the body to overcome the swelling and finish the healing. I've been taking ibuprofen (800 mg 3x/day), I need to start icing the knee again, and I may move up to naprosen. I thought ice & anti-inflammatories were short-term solutions but this may go on for another two months.

We walked a lot during our recent two-week vacation and by the ends of some days I thought my left leg was going to break off below its medial meniscus. The good news is that the pain stops after a day or two of rest and it hasn't come back. The rest of the knee stiffness is caused by the fluid. I was surprised to learn that the knee's capsule brings all fluid & swelling up above the patella, even though the actual trauma may be below. (I couldn't figure out what was wrong with my quadriceps. Now I understand.) As long as the pain subsides with rest ("Don't do that any more!") then I can continue to live with the damaged cartilage-- it's probably been that way for at least a decade. I don't ever want to run a 5K again but walking, cycling, & surfing is no problem.

The really good news is that I'm back at tae kwon do with new knee braces. These are not your average braces-- they retail for $850 each (which may be covered by medical insurance). They're not custom-made (that would be even more costly) but they're custom-fitted and somewhat adjustable. Two pads clamp onto my condyles (to stabilize the lateral & medial ligaments) while the rest of the straps push my tibia back into alignment with my femur. That's what ACLs would do if I still had them.

The result is astonishing. I've never felt this stability during two years at TKD, and now I'm sure that I tore both of my ACLs five years ago (judo). I'm no longer wobbling around and trying to keep my balance without falling over-- suddenly I'm able to do switch back kicks and all varieties of hook kicks without pain or instability. I'm practically starting over on my forms because I don't have to hesitate & shuffle to keep from stumbling. I always thought that my struggles were caused by age or by weakness or bad eye-foot coordination or by having joints that were too stretched out to handle the skills-- but it was caused by my lack of ACLs. I'm thrilled to be back on the mats and actually hitting where I'm aiming, and my confidence is way over the top. When the braces come off at the end of the workout my knees aren't sore or (badly) swollen and I'm not stumbling around.

If you have chronic knee pain or if you're "always spraining your knees" (two symptoms of a torn ACL) then you may learn a lot from a MRI. I never felt my ACLs tear-- the dojo was noisy, testosterone & adrenaline were sloshing around, and I apparently have a fairly high pain tolerance. If you're trying to stabilize your knees with crappy $50 neoprene knee wraps, go get an orthopedist's prescription for a real pair of braces. The difference is astounding and I can't believe how much better life has become.

It's good to be back. I might make red belt before 2007 and black by 2008. Now if these things were only legal for sparring...
__________________

__________________
*
*

The book written on E-R.org, "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement", on sale now! For more info see "About Me" in my profile.
I don't spend much time here anymore, so please send me a PM. Thanks.
Nords is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Re: Rigid-frame orthopedic knee braces
Old 08-02-2006, 08:29 PM   #2
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
wabmester's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 4,459
Re: Rigid-frame orthopedic knee braces

Cool! *Now you're sort of a cyborg with a ponytail, eh?



I wonder if they have something like that for my lumbar vertebrae.
__________________

__________________
wabmester is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Rigid-frame orthopedic knee braces
Old 08-02-2006, 08:48 PM   #3
Moderator Emeritus
Nords's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Oahu
Posts: 26,616
Re: Rigid-frame orthopedic knee braces

Quote:
Originally Posted by wab
Cool! *Now you're sort of a cyborg with a ponytail, eh?
My inner engineer is wondering... a small hydraulic pack... a tiny myoelectric feedback unit...

Quote:
Originally Posted by wab
I wonder if they have something like that for my lumbar vertebrae.
Maybe you could talk to an orthopedic surgeon. I'm sure there's a medical company that thinks they can help relieve human suffering make money off back-support technology.
__________________
*
*

The book written on E-R.org, "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement", on sale now! For more info see "About Me" in my profile.
I don't spend much time here anymore, so please send me a PM. Thanks.
Nords is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Rigid-frame orthopedic knee braces
Old 08-02-2006, 08:58 PM   #4
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 8,616
Re: Rigid-frame orthopedic knee braces

I had ACL reconstruction in December.* I have a knee brace from Bledsoe that I got by a prescription after a $20 co-pay for the custom-fitting session and custom manufacture.

The braces are not good enough to play basketball (which I used to do every day).* My knee will dislocate very slightly even with the brace.* When I click my knee back into place, it only moves about an eighth of an inch ... much smaller and less painful than the half-inch it used to move.

I cannot imagine even trying to do tae-kwon-do with a severed ACL.* When my ACL was gone, someone could bump into me and knock me over because of lack of stability in my knee.

Why not reconstructive surgery?* I was 48 years old when I had mine done.
__________________
LOL! is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Rigid-frame orthopedic knee braces
Old 08-02-2006, 09:44 PM   #5
Moderator Emeritus
Nords's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Oahu
Posts: 26,616
Re: Rigid-frame orthopedic knee braces

Quote:
Originally Posted by LOL!
I had ACL reconstruction in December. I have a knee brace from Bledsoe that I got by a prescription after a $20 co-pay for the custom-fitting session and custom manufacture.
The braces are not good enough to play basketball (which I used to do every day). My knee will dislocate very slightly even with the brace. When I click my knee back into place, it only moves about an eighth of an inch ... much smaller and less painful than the half-inch it used to move.
I cannot imagine even trying to do tae-kwon-do with a severed ACL. When my ACL was gone, someone could bump into me and knock me over because of lack of stability in my knee.
Oooh, custom-fitted & manufactured-- you got one of the really expensive braces for Olympians & pro football players! I don't know how Bledsoe compares to Innovation but their website shows old guys like us playing ball.

This brace attaches pretty tightly to the muscles above & below the knee, and then velcro straps just below the kneecap push my tibia back below my femur. When I walk around I can feel the support on three sides and most strongly below the kneecap. But my knees don't move out of place (except when I "sprain" them) and with the braces they're tighter than I can ever remember.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LOL!
Why not reconstructive surgery?* I was 48 years old when I had mine done.
It's just not bad enough.

I did two years of tae kwon do without ACLs, so apparently my other ligaments are holding things stable enough for me to cope with most of my activities. I'm OK as long as I don't land on one heel going sideways.

I've talked with several people (none of them martial artists-- yet) who've had ACL reconstruction. They all say that they went through six months' rehab-- minimum-- and they all lost some range of motion. They can still tell that they've had surgery on that knee.

Surprisingly the orthopedic surgeon wasn't in favor of surgery. He felt that if I was going to keep on doing martial arts then I'd just be wasting his time & technique.

There's no way I'm going to sideline myself for six months-- twice. I know, the surgery is just crutches & rehab, but the rewards aren't worth the putative risks. I'm happier with braces and that should get me to black belt without arthroscopy...
__________________
*
*

The book written on E-R.org, "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement", on sale now! For more info see "About Me" in my profile.
I don't spend much time here anymore, so please send me a PM. Thanks.
Nords is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Rigid-frame orthopedic knee braces
Old 08-02-2006, 10:14 PM   #6
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 8,616
Re: Rigid-frame orthopedic knee braces

When I wear my brace, I meet many people who have had ACL reconstruction, so we talk. Everyone is different, so I can appreciate your story, the advice of the orthopedist, your reluctance to do rehab, etc. It's good you found a solution that works for you.

I imagine that all the surfing you do has strengthened your knees in ways that my knees will never see again. Indeed, I cannot imagine anyone surfing without ACLs. You must be a superman!

Note that naproxen is not good for your heart when taken over an extended time, so you might wish to consult your doctor about what pain-killers to use.
__________________
LOL! is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Rigid-frame orthopedic knee braces
Old 08-03-2006, 11:35 AM   #7
Full time employment: Posting here.
bow-tie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 687
Re: Rigid-frame orthopedic knee braces

I love to play basketball, and age hasn't ki-boshed that, as of yet.* Are there any exercises / sports/ activities that strengthen the knee and/or the ligaments other stuff in that region?* I do squats every week as part of my lifting routine, but I'm not sure if that is helping, hurting, or otherwise.
__________________
Diggin' my way to financial freedom, one buck-at-a-time
bow-tie is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Rigid-frame orthopedic knee braces
Old 08-03-2006, 12:51 PM   #8
Full time employment: Posting here.
Kronk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Philly 'burbs
Posts: 547
Re: Rigid-frame orthopedic knee braces

I had an ACL repair on my right knee in January 2005.

I may not have been as diligent in my rehab as I could have been, since I was in college at the time.

When I started doing jump back hook kicks in early 1997, it took quite a while for me to have the confidence that I wouldn't land on my right leg and blow my ACL out again.

The only lingering problem I have is that I find it really hard to kneel, which makes bowing in at the start/end of Hapkido class kind of tough. My calves and hamstrings are large enough that I can't really rest my butt on my heels, and so there is a lot of pressure on the joint. Enough pressure to cause a fair amount of pain.

Interestingly, my ACL repair used a part of my patellar tendon, which included a bit of my tibial tuberosity, and has really seemed to eliminate the problems with Osgood-Shlatter condition that causes soreness in my left (non-operated) knee. Sometimes I wonder if there is a surgery that would help that condition in my left knee.
__________________
Kronk is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Rigid-frame orthopedic knee braces
Old 08-03-2006, 03:17 PM   #9
Moderator Emeritus
Nords's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Oahu
Posts: 26,616
Re: Rigid-frame orthopedic knee braces

Quote:
Originally Posted by LOL!
I imagine that all the surfing you do has strengthened your knees in ways that my knees will never see again. Indeed, I cannot imagine anyone surfing without ACLs. You must be a superman!
Thanks, but surfing is mostly squats at speed. The real turns have to come from the hips & trunk or you spend a lot of time in the water looking for your board. As for the ACLs, I don't know if that's genetics or 20+ years of running, swimming, & cycling. I feel fine when I'm in the water but when I come up the beach I notice that my legs are usually shaking from fatigue. Maybe that's just when the surf is 6-8 feet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LOL!
Note that naproxen is not good for your heart when taken over an extended time, so you might wish to consult your doctor about what pain-killers to use.
Yeah, they all have drawbacks. I'm doing fine with ibuprofen after meals but there may be some possibility of building up a tolerance to diminishing returns. The orthopedic surgeon said he has up to 25 alternatives and with some patients he's worked through the whole list twice. I figure I'll have to try the ice first.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bow-tie
I love to play basketball, and age hasn't ki-boshed that, as of yet. Are there any exercises / sports/ activities that strengthen the knee and/or the ligaments other stuff in that region? I do squats every week as part of my lifting routine, but I'm not sure if that is helping, hurting, or otherwise.
Squats are best if you're not hurting your back (you'd know by now). You could also try lunges, in place or walking.

I really learned a lot from "Stretching Scientifically". It completely changed what, how, & when I stretch and I wish I'd realized the damage I was doing 20 years ago. The book is heavy with medical terminology and the author is opinionated to the point of rudeness but his claims are backed up with research.

He does warn you to be fully healed from all injuries before you attempt what he's doing with his wife (?) on the back cover...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kronk
The only lingering problem I have is that I find it really hard to kneel, which makes bowing in at the start/end of Hapkido class kind of tough.* My calves and hamstrings are large enough that I can't really rest my butt on my heels, and so there is a lot of pressure on the joint.* Enough pressure to cause a fair amount of pain.
Same here. That position puts way too much stress on the kneecap and has no useful purpose. I can't participate if I have to kneel & bow...
__________________

__________________
*
*

The book written on E-R.org, "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement", on sale now! For more info see "About Me" in my profile.
I don't spend much time here anymore, so please send me a PM. Thanks.
Nords is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Recommendations for a metal-hinge knee brace? Nords Other topics 3 06-28-2006 05:40 PM
Any advice for a bent frame? Nords Other topics 18 10-15-2005 09:05 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:34 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.