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RacerX

Knee Brace - Urban Legend?

30 posts in this topic

Went to my ortho doc yesterday. Brought info on Asterisk and CITI2 knee braces for his review. He was a pretty with it / cool guy and here is what he had to say. "No brace has been clinically proven to prevent ACL/MCL, etc. type injuries and that he was unaware of any studies done on dirt bikers or mountain bikers relative to how knee injuries occurred. He said the main thing they help with is the gray matter between the sides of your helmet. " He did say they will remind you to take care of your knees while wearing them and that they will offer abrasion protection in the event of a fall. He also said that building up the muscle in and around the knee was most important. He showed me some exercises to build up muscle around the knees.

My knees are fine but I think I will still be getting a pair of Asterisks if for no other reasons than the abrasion protection and the gray matter factor!

I would be interested in hearing opinions of others without prior knee injuries - I'm relatively sure of the position those with prior injuries will take.

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my orthopod said the same exact thing.

a healthy set of quads and hams are better than anything you can buy. period.

the main reason is because when we typically rip a acl/mcl/miniscus you do it with so much torque that NO brace can prevent it.

my doc said a acl is good for about 300-360 ft/lbs of torque before it goes rip. a brace gives you about 10% (330-396). now, on an injured leg that is only at 110 ft/lbs of health, 10% is a LOT. however, we generally induce around 3000 ft/lbs of torque when we "do a knee" because of the speeds we do it at. we are not "big, fat, slow moving football players" as my doc put it. we are going 20-50 mph and have all that inertia built up and your leg grabs something (mother earth or a tree) and it doesn't move. so your ligaments/tendons go snap.

yes, i'm gonna get a pair of Asterisks for peace of mind too, but i don't expect them to make my knees invulnerable.

oh, forgot to mention, all of my acl/mcl/lcl/... are fine. i broke my left inboard condial (femur knee joint) in 3 places. i've had 2 surgeries on it. you can see pics of the inside of my knee on my web site.

[This message has been edited by SUnruh (edited 07-24-2001).]

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That's just like saying "No helmet can prevent all head injuries". In both cases the chance of injury is diminished-but not alleviated. Knee braces work, bottom line. I've been wearing them since a torn ACL(it was prescibed by my Orthopod to PREVENT injury to a weakened area),and look at the O and D-lines of your favorite football team.

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I agree with Fastkevin. Knee braces aren't going to prevent ALL knee injuries but if they prevent ANY they're worth it! I have a bad knee that I injured playing b-ball back in 83! I can still run, ride etc., but every now and then I may do something to tweak it.

It was especially prone to injury when I first got my 426 and made an occasional mistake in a turn and dragged my left foot!

I've since purchased a pair of Asterisk braces (great product). As stated before, they won't protect my knees in an extreme case, they have been preventing the re-accuring tweaked knee during the little common mistakes. How does the saying go? "An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure"!

------------------

00 YZ426F

01 TT-R125L (my son's)

74 Hodaka Super Combat(gone but not forgotten!)

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...and remember Gentleman, all doctors didn't get A's in school.

If you have gone through the pain and agony of rehab, not to mention the downtime surf'n the couch, a ounce of protection is worth it to me.

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Q. What do you call the guy that graduated at the bottom of his Med school class?

A. Dr. :) .

Well I have VERY healthy knees and legs, but my pocket cant afford the 5 bill injury! I am going with the $12 knee cups. I have never twisted my knee in a fall but have slid along the ground and hit a small stump with my knee,,,,, in winter :D . I was fine and had a little black and blue mark, I think the cups will do me fine unless I ever get a real bad scare from a twist. How do you guys manage to get all these knee injuries???

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WR_Jason

Well, you asked. My first one about 9 years ago resulted in a torn ACL and torn Meniscus. I was used to riding my mellow '86 TT350 and hoped on my buddies CR500 for a thrill ride. First jump I went off I twisted the throttle like it was my TT and the bike litterally flew out from under me causing me to fly from about 15 feet in the air doing about 30 MPH into the ground feet first leaning back at probably a 35 degree angle. this caused my lower leg to seperat foward at the knee and pop up above the knee. That was the first one. The second on was this past New Years (still before my purchase of the Asterisk Braces). I was doing a 5th gear 120' double out at the desert that I've done countless times and grew a little complacent with and went off it a little too slow. This jump isn't high, just really long!! You probably only get 8' over the lip and maybe 15' over the lowest part of the ditch. Anyways, I came up about 1' short and if I was on McGraths bike I would have rode on through it but unfortunately my suspension needed rebuilt and wasn't up for that hit. I took a bounce that through me side ways and the first part to hit the ground after I took the sideways boune on the bike and we landed sideways was my good leg. My knee bent sideways as if my knee itself went towards the center of my body and my ankle were to swing out sideways and touch my shoulder. Obviously it wasn't that dramatic but it was enough to make a pop and leave me not riding for the rest of the weekend. Did I mention this was 30 minutes into a 3 day weekend? I limped on it for 4 weeks afterwards and then bought the braces because of a lack of health insurance whick I'm still battling with. (Hopefully my coverage will start August 1st) Anyways, since then I've blown it out dancing and getting out of bed. I'm almost to the point of wearing the brace everywhere on my injurred knee until I can get it fixed. I still don't know what I did but as soon as I get insurance I'll get in to have it checked out.

------------------

Khris

"What's that?"

"It's a Yellow 99' YZ400!!"

[This message has been edited by sirhk (edited 07-25-2001).]

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WR_Jason,

Famous last words; "I bet I could do that"..."watch this!"..."I have VERY healthy knees and legs"... Be very grateful for that last statement! The knee braces provide quite a level of prevention also. Just something to think about. I always believe in dressing for the crash, not the ride!

------------------

00 YZ426F

01 TT-R125L (my son's)

74 Hodaka Super Combat(gone but not forgotten!)

[This message has been edited by dirtdad (edited 07-25-2001).]

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Anyone remember when knee/shin guards came with a pair of riding pants???

Jason, if you lived here in AZ you wouldn't even consider riding without knee cups due to all the rocks and cactus. At least the MX tracks take the cactus danger away!

On the brace issue the best prevention is; Strengthen the muscles around and supporting the knees.

Stretch out and warm up before riding

Wear some quality braces, especially if you have injured them before.

I am getting a CTi2 from the insurance and am gonna buy an non-custom for the other leg. Probably an Asterik.

[This message has been edited by F-Pilot#5 (edited 07-25-2001).]

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I have been told that Med schools only give pass/fail grades. I once asked a doctor where he finished in his class and he gave me the above response.

Anyway, I'm sizing and ordering my Asterisks tonight!

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As I was flying through the air, the wind decided to move my bike out from under me. I stuck out my right leg to land on so as to not crash my brand new ride. Blew out my knee,only a thread of ACL left.

I wear Asterisks on each leg.

------------------

...and make sure to wear your tearoffs.

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Blew the ACL in my left knee in '92. Wore a custom fit CTI knee brace for about 6 years cause it began to do me more harm than good. Here's my knee brace experience:

#1. they do absolutely nothing for rotational injury. they do absolutely nothing for side displacement of the knee either. they are effective for preventing hyper extension though (sort of). however, remember that if the knee does not snap into overextension your hip definitely will give way to make room for the impact coming up the leg.

#2. they ruin your riding pants instantly (if they are not kevlar knee panels).

#3. they wipe out tank decals.

#4. they wipe out your seat(even if its kevlar).

#5. gripping the tank when you ride? not worth the effort anymore.

#6. "hot, humid, days" are now twice as hot and humid.

#7. getting into casual clothes between motos is not worth the effort anymore so you tend to stay in riding gear with boots on more.

#8. for the brace to be effective it needs to be tightened "sick tight" just before the moto and then released as soon as you are done with your event (just like ski boots or snowboard bindings). Try to do that with them hidden under your pants. As a result you have to "compromise" and the brace is always marginally effective.

#9. getting your pants off (especially on a hot day) can be maddening. Yeah, yeah, we all get hung up on the liner.

#10. the most effective thing the brace can do to prevent knee injury is stop hyper extension because you can shim the brace so that your knee can never "lock out" (over extend. But then you walk like you have a "load" in your pants.

#11. after 7 years I gave up on the brace completely because my knee kept hurting at the end of the day and swelling up. seems that when the brace goes "full lock" on a hyperextension that it also tends to pull the knee apart slightly too. This was beating my knee up.

Yeah, its mostly really a device for hyper extension problems. if that's what is wrong it will help a lot. It also has great psycological value as it is a constant reminder that the injured leg should be treated special. You HAVE TO change your riding style. Become smoother. Feet on the pegs or foot out by the front axle. In the end this can make you a faster rider than you were before the injury.

Oh, and the best is strong voluntary muscles around the knee. BUT, voluntary muscles go slack after a few days. Constant workout in the gym to keep them "tight" helps A LOT. Somehow, after 10 years my knee is almost back 100%. But I had to dump the knee brace the last 2 years to get there.

Ken..

(again, my personal experience. 6 feet tall and only 170 lbs. best thing to do for yourself is "respect your knees". think for a second before you do something stupid. or else the knee brace will be doing the thinking for you for, perhaps, the rest of your life. ITS NOT FUN. YOU DON'T WANT TO GO THERE.)

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#2. Sad but true.

#3. True, but they only last a little longer without braces.

#4. Not true with the new rubber gripper covers.

#5. I disagree.

#6. Vented pants would help.

#7. I take the boots off and wear sandals. It really cools you down.

#9. I switched to over the boot pants, like the Sinisalo Delux, and cut out the liner right above the knee. These type of pants glide over the braces easily.

#10. Some people walk like that without braces.

#11. Sounds like you had a poor fit.

I'm the same height and weight, and never ride without my two CTi2's, which fit perfectly.

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I agree with everything stated by Scott F except for item 2. I ride with a pair of Asterisk braces and they show no signs of ruining my riding pants. I also ride with the over the boot type (Oneal Apocalypse) and have experienced no problems with the pants. The Asterisks are VERY comfortable and I feel they do provide a degree (any support is better than none) of lateral support as well as hyperextension. They do this without having to be so tight that your circulation is cut-off. I do agree that strengthening the muscles that support the knee is very important whether you wear braces or not. I also believe that wearing braces shouldn't replace common sense. They can't prevent all injuries, but the level of protection they do provide is worth the money spent IMHO.

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If they make the equipment, wear it.

I have felt my CTi2s work all the time. Even if it is as simple as getting my foot caught in a rut. I have good knees and I plan on keeping that way. I feel really naked without them.

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Thought I would chime in. There has been quite a bit of research done in this area mostly involving post ACL repair. The main problem with the research, among others,is trying to duplicate forces that we encounter in sport and accurately measure what happens at the knee joint. They obviously don't want to subject a person to extreme forces or torques that could cause injury. There have been studies that have shown a reduction with a brace to a shear force when an external load is put on the knee both anteriorly and laterally. Unfortunately, the loads are small and are applied gradually, not an impulse force like we would encounter to blow-out a knee.

ACL injuries often involve rotation force or torque at the knee joint. Studies using traction pins in the bones of the leg have shown no reduction in torques produced when wearing a brace. This makes sense when you look how braces attached to your leg and the limitation of stopping rotation. I, however, have not seen anything specifically related to the 2 braces often described, CTi and Asterisk.

I tore my ACL in 1987 in an enduro by catching my toe on a root in deep single track that rotated my lower leg out. i am convinced that a brace would not have prevented this injury and in fact could have translated some trauma to my hip. I choose not to wear a brace and I try to keep my quads and hammy's strong. I do not want any restriction on my ROM at my knee or hip from a brace. I feel that when wearing a brace my ability to compensate when bobbling or encountering obstacles is limited by the brace. I think wearing a brace is a personal choice and much could be said for feeling more confident with a brace. I think in certain situations a brace would diffently lessen an external blow to the knee and for this reason alone one could warrant it's use. Although no studies have been done on motorcycles, there have been many studies showing the increased energy cost, decreased speed and agility when wearing a knee brace.

I think as long as you are wearing a brace to supplement sound rehabilitation of your knee and good conditioning they could work well for some. I also think it would be unwise to wear braces as a substitute for the above and lull yourself into false security. Interesting subject, for me anyway. BTW, I conduct research at a University and can tell you that some of the companies that make these braces have been reluctant in the past to fund or donate braces for research unless they have exclusive rights to the results.

Good Luck, Keith.

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I think its important to distinguish the points of view here between those that have healthy knees (and wear braces for preventive purposes) and those that were forced to wear them because of a severe injury.

Fitting a brace===>

Its nice to talk about a "perfect fit". But I can assure you that when a damaged knee is being measured it has EXTENSIVE muscle atrophy. The fitter will compensate for this and allow room for muscle growth over the next year. The result? you guessed it: A hit or miss proposition. And how will you protest a year from the delivery date (after the brace is old and tattered and you had signed off on it too) that you think the original "atrophy" guess was wrong. Good luck with that!

Injury knees are the best judge===>

Also, I have worn a brace shortly after major knee trauma. That's when you find out that all that "protection" stuff is a crock. Because you put your foot down and the SLIGHTEST torque puts you right back in crutches for a few days. Also, the knee pops sideways right in the brace itself. Tighten it till you scream but it still makes almost no difference. You learn the hard way that all the magazine adds are selling is hype. Hyper-extension is about the only benefit I noticed and in time that becomes a double edged sword too. I point this out because those who bought braces for protection reasons only do not have a clue as to what poor support these things give you. And how could they know? Its impossible. So they have no way to evaluate the brace and just repeat all the hype.

Anyway, I would never wear a brace for "protection reasons only". And if I did I sure as hell would adjust it so that it can't hyper extend. Because if that day ever comes and that leg can't "fold up" normally and it can't hyper extend; well, you just lost your pelvis.

Keep your legs strong and ride smart and heed the stories of the injured. Its all you got (unless there is nothing left of your knee). Then, the brace will be effective in keeping it "somewhat aligned". At least enough so you don't terrify the spectators.

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I'll answer for him. I ride with the Asterisk braces and that's one of the issues they addressed when designing them. It's actually easy to overtighten them and still feel comfortable because instead of 2 one inch wide upper and lower straps they have 1 five inch wide upper and lower strap so the pressure it pulls on your leg is spread out over a greater area. That's one HUGE improvment over the CTI2.

------------------

Khris

"What's that?"

"It's a Yellow 99' YZ400!!"

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