like many of you I never put much thought into
wearing knee braces. Sure, I spent big bucks on
boots, helmet and a chest protector but I was
always under the impression knee braces were for
those that have been unfortunate enough to have
had an injury. Now after tearing my ACL and 6
months off the bike due to surgery and rehab I
know different. I can only hope that this article
will impress upon you the need to brace your self.
Every time you get on the bike with unprotected
knees is like riding without a helmet. Your local
shop might carry one of these brands or your parts
guy may only know of one and recommend it but
in fact, many companies make affordable off the
shelf braces that are designed to prevent injury.
My goal is to inform you of what is out there,
give you the information and let you decide what
brace is right for you.
accident was not supposed to happen, the front
end washed out while I was slowing down to exit
the track. I got off the bike going about 7 miles
per hour and POP! the ACL was history. Still to
this day I shake my head thinking if only I knew...
Looking back at it I am certain the injury would
not have happened had I been wearing a brace.
The worst part, aside from the pain and 6 months
of rehab, was calling my wife from the driveway
and informing her that she would have to come
out so we could go to the Emergency Room, she
was not very happy about that.
years I have done a lot of running in Nike Air
Max, generally 30-35 miles a week. For years the
Max worked great, going through a pair every other
month. I never strayed from the Max, then one
day I tried on the Reebok DMX and like that I
switched. The DMX feels better to me and lasts
2-3 times longer for me. The point is, don't get
hung up on a brand or what other people say is
the best because everybody is different. I urge
you to make your own informed choice in selecting
knee braces. Try them on, run in them, ride with
them if you can because your knees are worth the
effort you put in to selecting a brace. I have
compiled a list of several brace options that
will allow you to compare each brace with non-bias
you need to understand before reading is that
there are two theories of bracing. The first is
the rigid frame construction (CTi2, Cell, Edge
and Defender Pro). The thought is to build a brace
that will mimic the motion of the knee but offer
stability through material strength. These brace
designs are many time stronger than the knee and
offer little to no margin of flex. The goal, to
ensure that injury does not occur by transferring
the load to the brace instead of the joint. Is
it possible that if the brace does not give that
something else might? Yes, but understand that
a broken bone is MUCH easier to recover from than
torn ligaments, tendons and cartilage.
second theory is the flexible frame construction
(Rage and RS6). The thought is to build a brace
that will mimic the motion of the knee but allow
the brace to flex with the contour of the leg
to maximize surface contact with the leg while
offering strength and stability to the joint.
These brace designs are also many time stronger
than the knee but do flex. The goal, to ensure
that injury does not occur by the brace absorbing
the load and displace it across a large area.
Is it possible for the brace to flex too much
and allow injury to occur anyway? Yes, that is
why brace material is of such great importance.
ever type of brace you choose do your homework,
find out what it is made of, what kind of research
and testing went into the brace and what kind
of history the company has with braces. Keep in
mind that brace frame strength is best determined
while the brace is on the leg.
you are about to read is a composition of factual
data provided by the Manufacturer and data and
experience I have gained while wearing these braces
through rehabilitation workouts, running and finally
back on the bike riding. Please read about each
brace before reading my opinions because it is
important for you to choose what is right for
you, not what is right for me.
would like to thank Asterisk, Innovation Sports,
Dil and XO-Skeleton for choosing to participate
in our review. And a special thanks to Brad Freeman,
General Manager of Asterisk for all of his help.
He truly understands the need to inform the public
and was more than happy to share his expertise
free to contact me with questions regarding testing
conditions, specific questions, your comments
about the article and or your experience with