ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) is one of the most important knee ligaments but it is also susceptible to injury. This type of injury is common among athletes, especially those where sudden changes in direction, stops, and jumping is involved. An ACL tear is a serious and painful injury in the knee. If left untreated, it can become difficult for you to bear your own weight.
Treatment for an ACL tear depends upon the severity of the injury. Severe tears require reconstructive surgery to fix the injury, followed by months of rehabilitation and then they can return to their normal lives.
Many patients, especially athletes, use a knee brace to protect the knee from becoming injured again and also to gain function and motion in the affected knee, particularly if their activities include jumping, pivoting and running.
The question is whether you should wear a custom knee brace after ACL knee surgery or not.
While there is no scientific data to support the fact that braces should be worn after ACL surgery, it is true that a functional ACL brace can help to protect the knee from twisting. It may also aid in protection of the implanted ACL graft when you are undergoing rehabilitation. Some athletes actually feel more confident and safe when they are wearing a brace. They believe that the brace can help to prevent re-injury as they move back to their normal lives and activities.
Braces allow the patient regain confidence in themselves, allowing them to live and function normally again. Braces may also aid in protection of tissues while they are still healing.
Going back to the question, whether you should wear a custom knee brace after ACL surgery, there is no guarantee that a brace will protect you from re-injury. However, a knee brace will definitely help in promoting a smooth and confident transition back to school, work or sport. Sometimes your orthopedic surgeon may advise a custom ACL brace as part of the rehabilitation program. You may be advised to use an ACL brace for a few months up to a year after the reconstructive surgery.
If you are about to undergo an ACL surgery or have just undergone one and have doubts about using custom knee brace after the ACL knee surgery, discuss the issue with your orthopedic surgeon.