Wearing Knee Braces for Injury Prevention in Football at All Levels of Play

Injuries to the knees are some of the most common severe injuries in football, no matter whether players are high school, collegiate, or professional athletes. For this reason, many players wear devices like Mueller braces and supports to prevent those injuries.

They may do so on recommendations from a personal trainer or their own medical doctor. In the collegiate world, a doctor with the school's college of medicine may make this recommendation for players in certain roles, such as linemen. This technique is medically known as prophylactic knee bracing.

Relevant Research

Research is conflicting about whether knee braces are helpful for preventing injury to the joint and the soft tissues around it. One problem is that not all players wear the best types of knee braces and supports for prophylactic use. Devices designed to help people with an existing or previous knee injury commonly protect one area of the knee more than other parts. This can be ineffective for all-around injury prevention.

Brace Function

These general functional braces from a supplier such as Mueller Sports Medicine are intended to prevent the knees from twisting further than is physically safe. Players must learn to maneuver while wearing these supportive devices, but after the first cumbersome practices, they begin to understand how the equipment keeps the knees within a safe range of movement. They also get a better sense of their knee positioning.

Mobilization Strategies

This can help the athletes when they are doing other sports activities and not wearing the knee braces. They have now learned better mobilization strategies that come naturally after playing on the field while wearing the support device. The knee is naturally kept within the proper range while playing casual games of tennis or racquetball or even shooting hoops with friends on an outdoor court. The person will be better able to prevent an injury during downhill skiing as well.

Types of Knee Injuries

People hear a lot about torn anterior cruciate ligaments (ACLs) when they learn about football-related injuries. However, other components of the knees can be damaged too. Bone fractures may occur and tendons can become inflamed, stretched too far, and even torn. In some instances, surgery is necessary to repair the problem.

After years of playing, some athletes develop arthritis in the knees. This is not an acute injury, but it may be a post-traumatic development years after an acute incident happened. Deterioration of knee cartilage because of years of use is another form of arthritis. Players dealing with this kind of discomfort also may benefit from wearing supportive equipment.