22 June 2016

Product Review- Knee-pads and braces

Knees are horrid for injuries and if you spend a good amount of time training you will eventually have need for a good knee brace. There are hundreds of different designs but if its a basic sleeve it will only keep your knee warm. There is no need to have them so remove them from your shopping list. The main two items to assist are pads and braces.

Knee Pads
A knee pad is a cushioning implement to protect the knee cap from repeated impact with the ground. It is not a support tool but a preventative one. Knee pads can be worn for all training sessions but the best use is for wrestling classes or any time your knee impacts the ground multiple times.

As with ankle support that I reviewed here, for martial arts we need to ensure there are no scratching surfaces, loose straps or Velcro and free of hard edges. We also need to ensure the pad doesn't prevent movement when the leg is trapped.

I have tried a more bulky knee pad that was perfect for cushioning the knee but once my leg was trapped by my opponent I couldn't escape the hold as the pad caused too much friction. Attempts to extract my limb finally worked however the pad had moved to my ankle. Suffice to say that model was tossed into the reject corner.

When it comes to any equipment to prevent or support injuries you shouldn't skimp on price. That doesn't mean to get the most expensive option, but don't get the cheapest either. I've chosen the Cliff Keen The Wraptor 2.0 Kneepad. You have to buy each one separately so the pair set me back $65 with postage from the U.S. I couldn't find a local retailer that had knee pads that fit all my requirements, if you find one let me know in the comments.

This knee pad fits snugly. I could have gone the next size higher however as I'm in the process of cutting weight it will fit nicely in a few weeks. The tight fit ensured it didn't move around during training. The cushioning of the knee was great. I tested a few hard knee drives into the mat and there was no impact pain or jarring. My partners didn't even notice it when rolling, the Lycra construction made it glide easily between limbs and unnoticeable air-vent holes kept the heat and sweat away.

The only issue I found is there are no grips to pull the pad on in the first place. It isn't a large issue but I did need to roll the edges a little to get a firm grip. Taking it off was easier however. It served its purpose well.

Knee Brace
A knee brace is designed to support an injured knee so you can continue training without hurting yourself further. Not all injuries can be supported in this way. If there is any doubt seek professional advice from your rehab guru regarding your specific injury.

Additionally there are several types of brace that are designed for a particular knee injury. Some better support the patella (knee cap), ones to prevent buckling, others to protect the ACL or help with arthritis. For my specific issue I need patella support as well as support for the lateral collateral ligament (LCL) or simply along the sides of the knee.

For BJJ I needed a brace that wouldn't harm my partner, didn't bunch at the back of the knee and didn't get in the way of any techniques. It had to stay in place with minimal need for adjustment and
is easily cleaned.

After much research I grabbed a Bauerfeind Genutrain. Bauerfeind have a brace for practically all knee issues so you should be able to find one to suit you. This brace mainly supports the patella but has support along the sides to keep everything where it's meant to be.

At $160 delivered the Genutrain isn't cheap but it is well worth the cost. Prior to using it my knee ached simply jogging around the mat at warm up. After putting it on, my knee was pain free for the first time in months. The brace assisted me complete the full class without pain and didn't smell like a public change room afterwards.

This brace is not intended to be used when not in motion. It can feel quite tight when sitting still for more than a few minutes. If you need to pause such as when the coach is showing the next technique just ensure you gently move the leg every minute, and remember to take it off after the session. Driving home with it on can get quite uncomfortable.

Wrap Up
The above pads and braces have worked for me after trying several other types. It's worth spending a little extra for quality items that work for your sport. Think of the cost as an investment in your well being that allows you to train longer without aggravating your injuries. If you've had half as many issues as me you'll agree it is worthwhile.

Hit up the comments with your own experiences with braces and pads, and I'd love to hear if you have tried the above and had success.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome work! That is quite appreciated. I hope you’ll get more success. compression knee sleeve,