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Thread: Knee Braces or Supports, Anyone?

  1. #1
    Super Member Lisanne's Avatar
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    I had x-rays and an MRI yesterday, and the doctor called today to tell me my right knee joint "is shot." (His actual words.)

    My right knee is unstable enough to prevent me from taking long walks and hiking. I asked him about a knee support or brace, meaning one of those things that look like big ace bandages with a knee hole in them.

    I am quite overweight, and my thigh is much bigger than the knee and calf below. He says there isn't a brace that will fit the large thigh and smaller knee/lower leg.

    Now surely I am not the only overweight woman in the world to have large thighs and smaller lower legs! In fact, I would expect this to be true of any woman whose lower legs aren't swollen from fluid retention.

    So I'm hoping some of you out there can share your experience and knowledge about what knee supports or braces are out there, and if you're heavy and built like me, how you got one that fit. Or is there a way to just wrap an ace bandage to support the knee?

    (He says a custom made one will be $1,000 - $1,500. I'm ready to invent my own and sell 'em on QVC. It should not need to be expensive or difficult to make a support that wraps around the knee and fastens above and below it, so you can fasten wherever the size of that part of your leg needs it. And if I did make these, they'd come covered in pretty fabric, not blah beige.)

  2. #2
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    I think i've seen them that have velcro sections that would close at different sizes. maybe you could try to make something like that and ask the dr. if it will do the job.

  3. #3
    Super Member bluteddi's Avatar
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    I have worked with the custom braces before. Generally when a Dr. says " custom brace" they are not referring to a "ace bandage type" but more of a "metal hinged strap on with velcro type" . If your knee is " shot" I doubt an "ace" will benefit u much. While a custom brace is expensive ( insurance/medicare will normally cover about 50%) they do offer alot more support than a common ace/stretchy one " will. Your knee maybe beyond even a custom brace ..... braces can only do so much. ( custom brace DO come in pretty colors/designs-- but of course they cost more)
    If your knee is to the point of " bone on bone" It maybe time to bite the bullet and get a knee replacement. New technology and designs have come along way at improving knee /joint replacement.

    Good luck

  4. #4
    Super Member hobo2000's Avatar
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    I have a friend who just had a knee replacement and was walking everywhere in 4 days. I'd opt for that and forget a brace.

  5. #5
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    I needed one of these very same braces, and my knee/leg was in between two sizes :roll:
    One of the women who work at the pharmacy has a sewing machine in the back room. She took my measurements, cut the brace down, resewed it and it fits perfectly.
    She used a zig zag stitch to put it back together, over lapping the seams, and catching the raw edge with the stitch. It is very comfortable too :D:D:D

    I peeked at the machine during my fitting... a very inexpensive machine, nothing fancy at all :wink:

  6. #6
    Super Member barri1's Avatar
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    I just spent a couple of winter months in a knee emobilizer.. I slipped on the ice after our first snow storm in NY, and the rest of the winter was pretty miserable..The brace I have is adjustable with velcro.. I'm not an extreme heavy weight but I think they come in bigger sizes.. I'm sure you aren't the only one that has this issue.. I'm actually in shock that my knee is working.. My MRI wasn't very pretty.. I have no cartliage left, fractured the patella, tore up a bunch of ligaments, have a bakers cyst, and I can go on.. The doc didn't want to operate, as he said the knee was shot.. and eventually it nneds to be replaced.. He's probably right, but I started exercising it after he gave me the go ahead, and I'm pretty happy with it..
    Sorry to make this long..
    The brace is made by Bledsoe, and it's called extender.. While I'm looking at it, it is very adjustable to huge.. I used it on the closest, but it has four long straps that velcro..
    Barri

  7. #7
    Super Member ShowMama's Avatar
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    I've been having knee problems lately too. Easter weekend I damaged the medial collateral ligament on the inside of my left knee. Don't know how I did it, so it must have been one of those "boy, that hurt" times, but then I guess I just went on about my business By that evening though, it was really hurting and has been painful ever since.

    My doctor first gave me a straight-leg brace which helped, but I had a really hard time walking, getting in the car, etc. So he then recommended one from Wal-Mart of all places. This one was much smaller, easier to use, and allowed my knee to bend. Best of all, it only cost about $20. It's made of a stretchy fabric and has two sections which fasten with velcro behind the leg. On each side there is a metal hinge that allows the knee to bend, but doesn't allow movement from side to side so keeps the knee more stable.

    I'm quite overweight too, and also have a big thigh. Both of these braces tended to slip down when walking, but the Wal-Mart one could be tightened easier to help with that. I have used it much more than the other one. And happily my knee is finally starting to feel somewhat better. I still have a lot of pain, but I can tell there is improvement. Boy am I glad too, because I'm really tired of being injured. Also, the doctor said that if it doesn't get better, the only option would be a referral for surgery, and I certainly don't want that.

    I don't know if a brace like the one I got at Wal-Mart would help you like it did me because my problem wasn't in the joint, but it could possibly help. Unfortunately, you may end up requiring a custom-fitted brace.

    I hope this helps.

  8. #8
    Senior Member pjaco's Avatar
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    Just wanted to say, be careful wearing braces and stuff like that. Even when you have to. It seems to mess up the other half of your body. After wearing a brace/cast on my broken foot, had to find a shoe the same level. Next thing I know, I'm having to have surgery on my knee on the other leg. Sometimes some things cause other problems and then it seems neverending recovery time!!! I'm sure (if you're like me) they have told you over & over to loose weight. OUCH! I hate it when they say that! :roll:

  9. #9
    Super Member Lisanne's Avatar
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    Thanks to all who have replied.

    To those who suggested knee replacement surgery, it was discussed and is not needed at this time. The doctor said based on my films, he would have recommended it, but after talking to me, it doesn't seem to be necessary. (I don't have major pain - the pain I had after re-injuring it surprisingly has gone away - and it's actually getting back to moving normally most of the day now.)

    I basically just want something for extra support (to keep my knee from hyper-extending and giving out), much like the thing at Wal-mart that ShowMama mentioned. I didn't really expect him to go all out and fix me up with a brace salesman. I'll definitely check Wal-mart to see what they have. $20 is much more affordable than a $1000 custom version of the same thing. Otherwise, I meet with the brace salesman next week.

    pjaco, I will take your caution to heart. I don't expect to wear it all the time, only on long walks or bad-knee days. The idea was to be able to take long walks again, which I very much miss.

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