Did you know professional basketball players in the NBA participate in a total of 82 games throughout a season? This means they have to give their all on the court 82 times, engaging in movements like cutting, weaving, jabbing, and abruptly stopping. It’s no wonder why so many players choose to wear knee braces, even if they haven’t experienced a knee injury.
So, what exactly do NBA players wear on their knees for injury prevention and pain relief, and can we use the same type of braces? NBA players commonly opt for one of three options: knee compression sleeves, basketball braces, or knee pads to protect their knees.
The Structure of a Knee
To fully comprehend why NBA players and ordinary individuals wear knee braces, it’s essential to grasp the fundamental structure of a knee. A knee consists of three primary components: bones, ligaments, and tendons.
The knee joint itself is recognized as one of the most intricate joints in the human body. It carries weight and can bend at angles ranging from 180 degrees to even the slightest fraction of a degree. Given its complexity, numerous issues can arise within the knee joint.
The knee joint connects the upper leg bone, known as the femur, to the primary lower leg bone, called the tibia.
The primary bone within the knee joint is the patella or the kneecap.
Tendons and Ligaments
Tendons refer to fibrous tissues responsible for connecting bones to muscles. In relation to the knee, tendons connect the patella to the muscles in the upper and lower leg.
Ligaments, on the other hand, serve the purpose of connecting bones to other bones. The knee contains three main ligaments crucial for its functionality.
- The anterior cruciate ligament, commonly referred to as the ACL, connects the femur to the tibia, preventing the femur from sliding backward and the tibia from sliding forward.
The posterior cruciate ligament, also known as the PCL, prevents the femur from moving forward and the tibia from sliding backward. It works in conjunction with the ACL to stabilize the forward and backward movements of the bones.
The medial and lateral collateral ligaments are responsible for controlling lateral movements. These ligaments connect the femur to the tibia while preventing sideways movements of the femur.
The knee also possesses cartilages, which serve as remarkable shock absorbers. Positioned between the femur and tibia, these cartilages adopt a C-like shape and function as the shock absorbers between the bones.
Without the presence of these cartilages, the knee ends up with bone-on-bone contact.
Moreover, the knee contains small sacs filled with fluid that contribute to its smooth mobility.
Numerous fluid-filled sacs called bursae facilitate the knee’s smooth movements.
When all components of the knee are in good health, they harmoniously function together.
The tendons maintain the joint’s position, the bursae and cartilage cushions absorb impact, and the joint functions seamlessly.
But when one part of the knee breaks down, when a ligament snaps or stretches or a meniscus tears, agony ensues and the knee starts to deteriorate.
Why Utilize a Knee Support?
You must utilize a knee support for a few different reasons. If you are engaging in a sport where your knee endures intense strain, you need to utilize a knee support to safeguard one of your most valuable joints.
After all, if your knee doesn’t function properly, you won’t be able to walk, let alone participate in your sport.
Among basketball players, in particular, knee injuries are among the most prevalent injuries. Players require the finest knee support for basketball.
If you’ve ever witnessed a basketball game, you’d comprehend this. Players continually drive towards the basket and then abruptly halt. They make lateral cuts, exerting extreme pressure on the ligaments that hold their knees together.
Specifically, an ACL injury frequently occurs as the outcome of constant leaping and stopping, something all basketball players do when they play vigorously.
Therefore, while they used to be a common injury mainly among soccer and football players, ACL injuries have become prevalent among NBA players in the past decade.
Consequently, NBA players who earn their livelihood playing this knee-altering sport regularly wear knee braces, even when they haven’t been injured. Players wear knee braces proactively to maintain control over their knees and prevent ligament damage.
If a player does suffer a knee blowout, they will end up wearing a knee brace to shield their knee from further harm.
Most players aspire to return to action after a knee injury. They strive to adhere to the recovery and rehabilitation recommendations. However, they still need to earn a salary and don’t want their team to release them.
So they don a brace, bear the pain, and get back to work. The brace safeguards them and provides them with peace of mind.
Therefore, when playing basketball, it is advisable to wear a knee brace either to safeguard your healthy knees and prevent injury or to shield your repaired knee and prevent reinjury.
What Do NBA Players Wear On Their Knees?
You will observe NBA players sporting one of a few different types of knee support. One may wear a basketball knee brace while others wear basketball knee pads.
NBA players utilize a soft knee brace to protect their knees from the start. The sleeve will compress the joint and align the ligaments as they subject them to additional stress during a game.
If a player harms his knee, he will wear more than merely a sleeve. He will require a more organized brace.
An NBA player who is recuperating from a knee injury will require a substantial knee brace to keep his knee in check. After all, he earns a living using that knee, so it is necessary to safeguard it.
If an NBA player injures his meniscus, he has sustained a less severe injury than a ligament tear. He will still need a brace, but he will need a knee brace for a meniscus tear as opposed to a ligament tear.
A meniscus tear is not as severe. Some individuals even persist in walking on a meniscus tear. NBA players, however, need to have the meniscus repaired and then wear the appropriate brace for it.
Which Knee Injuries Require a Brace?
Because the knee is such a complex joint, it is possible to harm it in numerous different ways. Each specific injury requires particular treatment. Most necessitate a specific brace.
Sprains and Strains
Knee sprains and strains frequently occur in all sports. When a player overextends and stretches his ligament, he will experience acute pain and may even be incapable of walking. This is a sprain.
A doctor will diagnose a sprain if he can observe that the player has stretched the ligament in his knee but not torn it. Both direct and indirect trauma to the knee can cause a ligament to stretch and consequently result in a knee sprain.
Sprains occur due to a stretched ligament. Strains, on the other hand, occur due to a stretched tendon.
Tendons connect muscles to bones. Knee strains usually arise from overuse. When a player neglects to take care of his knees and continues to subject them to the same repetitive drills and movements, he may suffer from a knee strain.
A basic knee sleeve will help prevent both sprains and strains as it inhibits the stretching of ligaments and tendons.
Basketball players, in general, are susceptible to an injury called jumper’s knee. Jumper’s knee is tendonitis of the tendons in the knee joint.
The primary tendon in the knee that frequently experiences tendonitis is the patellar tendon. This tendon connects the patella, commonly known as the knee cap, to the tibia, commonly known as the shinbone. You require this tendon to jump, kick, and run.
If you overexert your knee, your patella becomes inflamed, and a doctor will diagnose you with patellar tendonitis or jumper’s knee. Surgery is rarely necessary to treat patellar tendonitis, but rest, anti-inflammatory medication, ice, and rehabilitation are necessary.
An articulatio genus brace could assist in safeguarding your articulatio genus from excessive use.
Due to the fact that your meniscus is composed of cartilage, it is vulnerable to tears. When a basketball player contorts his body, stretching to grab a rebound or lunging for a ball, he can easily harm this otherwise resilient piece of cartilage.
Tears in the meniscus are widespread even among non-athletes. A minor tear will not necessitate surgery, but a significant tear will require a scoping procedure where the surgeon trims any dangling fragments of the meniscus.
Minor tears call for basic treatments such as ice, rest, compression, and elevation, in addition to anti-inflammatory medication. Similar to all knee injuries, a knee brace can aid in maintaining knee stability and preventing further injuries.
When a basketball player abruptly halts, swiftly changes direction by pivoting, or awkwardly lands, he puts his ACL at risk. A blown or torn ACL occurs when a player twists or overextends the knee.
Ligament tears call for surgery as the knee is incapable of healing on its own. A surgeon will employ a tissue graft to repair the ligament, and a substantial amount of time will be needed for the knee to recover.
Rehabilitation for a torn ligament necessitates the use of a knee brace. Knee braces shield the knee from further harm and maintain proper alignment.
A torn ACL is the most prevalent knee injury among all athletes. Experts estimate that between 100,000 and 200,000 individuals suffer an ACL injury annually.
Categories of Braces for Basketball Injuries
As one can imagine, a sprain, strain, meniscus tear, and blown knee each warrant a distinct type of knee brace. The severity of the injury determines the level of support required from the brace.
NBA players can often be seen wearing solely knee pads instead of knee braces. Knee pads are effective in preventing bruises or contusions to the patella. They do not provide the same level of support as a knee brace, but they also do not restrict movement.
Knee pads can give players the confidence to partake in more intense play without inhibiting their mobility. A simple knee pad on a healthy knee can prevent common knee injuries.
Compression Knee Sleeves
Compression knee sleeves do not function as knee braces per se. Instead, they are sleeves that apply pressure to the tissue surrounding the knee.
Many players who wear a compression sleeve believe that it establishes a line of communication between their knee and brain, giving them the confidence to play more aggressively. Conceptually, the compression from the sleeve signals to the brain that the knee is secure, resulting in increased effort, sharper cuts, and overall enhanced agility.
From a scientific standpoint, the compression does indeed improve blood flow around the knee and the muscles encompassing it. It increases blood flow to the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles, keeping them warm and reducing the risk of ligament strains.
Therefore, knee sleeves have a rightful place in the world of basketball and the NBA. They possess a sleek appearance and provide the brain with the message that holding back is unnecessary.
If you’ve experienced an affliction, however, you desire a knee support and not simply a knee cuff.
Knee supports improve your overall stability. They surpass mere sleeves. Generally, they incorporate a rigid brace integrated into the fabric, providing lateral and anterior reinforcement.
Certain knee supports even feature assistance for the patella or knee cap. The entirety of this reinforcement ensures proper alignment of your joint and alleviates any discomfort.
Athletes who have suffered an ACL injury require a substantial brace, such as a knee brace with a hinge. This type of brace offers structured reinforcement on both sides of the knee, with a hinge mechanism at the joint.
At certain points, the knee brace might feel constraining, yet its ultimate purpose is to maintain the health of your knee. NBA players are fully aware of this and rapidly adapt to the limitations. Additionally, a basketball knee support brace can instill confidence in a player, enabling them to play with full vigor.
Enhance Your Game with Assurance
With your newfound knowledge about what NBA players wear on their knees, you now comprehend the significance of knee supports overall. They safeguard the well-being of your knee when subjected to intense exertion. Furthermore, they empower players with the assurance they need to give their utmost on the court.
For most basketball players, basic knee supports and sleeves are adequate to play with confidence.
For any of your knee support requirements, please get in touch with us.