Knee emergency!! Seeking advice about braces/sleeves/rehab etc

Shaolin

G.O.A.T.
Hey all

I am a professional coach for with a large university, I also still play when I can (4.5-5.0NTRP), 49 years old.

This Sunday I got taken down to the ground after my Right knee buckled hitting a forehand. I couldn't put weight on it and immediately hit the ER.

MRI results show severe bone bruising, some damaged meniscus and cartilage and also arthritis. Here is the really fun part...I have no ACL! None in that knee.

I had ACL reconstruction in 1991, since then my knee has been decent, save some minor swelling once awhile. I thought I had actually retorn it when this happened. My doc is a top orthopedic surgeon and he said he's seen this before, even with some Olympic athletes, out there competing (he mentioned runners) with no ACL.

Apparently there is no trace of my graft that was put in back in 91 so there is no telling how long it's been like this. I'm pretty blown away, I didn't think a person could even walk without an ACL and I'm out there playing guys with 115mph serves. It's pretty crazy.

Anyway my prognosis is no surgery, he recommends not putting in another ACL at this point, do physical therapy and rest it. Going to be off court a few months. He recommended a brace of course hence my thread here. He said eventually a knee replacement when I'm "old enough".

Interested in any input on sleeves/braces you guys have worn that helped. Especially something breathable/playable, lightweight and mainly supportive. Extra bonus points if it doesn't look ridiculous (I have to coach in this thing haha). I've been looking and there seem to be a lot of choices.

Thanks for reading this long email and I appreciate in advance any thoughts/recommendations you might have.
 

Nostradamus

Bionic Poster
Thank you...That is one of the first ones I looked at. Looks super supportive.

Have you worn one? Wondering how breathable/comfortable it is?
Very comfortable, very breathable, built with special high tech fabric, marble of modern engineering. NBA players run up and down the court for 3 hours, and say no sweat build up at all
 

onehandbh

Legend
You should check out some of the knee braces used by basketball players. Many of the older guys I used to play with have had some sort of knee surgery at some point. One guy played with a knee brace that had metal bars/hinges. Was kind of scary playing against him bc I was afraid of collisions against that thing.
 

Shaolin

G.O.A.T.
Right on...those NBA braces seem like a great option, especially if they are so comfortable and breathable.

I see guys with the crazy metal bar hinged things and no thanks, I'd rather just not play than wear one of those...I'll just take up swimming or something :sneaky:

Appreciate the responses so far guys.
 

onehandbh

Legend
There are lighter versions of those hinge things nowadays.

Kind of like comparing the first bulky mobile phones to current ones.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
Yeah good point...I'm sure there are some way better options than the stuff I see that look like beartraps.
I come from a volleyball background also and I've seen some major looking knee braces that didn't seem to hinder mobility much and were way more stable than the neoprene ones.

I guess the question to answer is how much are you trying to restrict range of motion and how much is more for reassurance. Sans ACL, I would think stability would be more important.
 

happyandbob

Hall of Fame
Sorry to hear about your knee! I agree with @S&V-not_dead_yet. I've had knee issues for 35 years after dislocating my kneecap in high school and breaking the cartilage, so have tried many many braces over the years. Personally, I’ve never found a fabric brace that provides any sort of lateral support.

It’s true that many hinge braces are big and bulky, but I've been very happy with Hely & Weber braces. That’s the brand that I get from the orthopedic surgeon and several of the hinged models aren't that restrictive. If you have any sort of cartilage damage behind the kneecap you'll want to make sure you get an open kneecap brace that applies no pressure at all on the kneecap.

The model brace I used recently is called the "Knapp NoSwet", I've been very happy with it.
 

Shaolin

G.O.A.T.
Sorry to hear about your knee! I agree with @S&V-not_dead_yet. I've had knee issues for 35 years after dislocating my kneecap in high school and breaking the cartilage, so have tried many many braces over the years. Personally, I’ve never found a fabric brace that provides any sort of lateral support.

It’s true that many hinge braces are big and bulky, but I've been very happy with Hely & Weber braces. That’s the brand that I get from the orthopedic surgeon and several of the hinged models aren't that restrictive. If you have any sort of cartilage damage behind the kneecap you'll want to make sure you get an open kneecap brace that applies no pressure at all on the kneecap.

The model brace I used recently is called the "Knapp NoSwet", I've been very happy with it.
Thanks, I found that brace online. Will consider it for sure.
 

Shaolin

G.O.A.T.
I come from a volleyball background also and I've seen some major looking knee braces that didn't seem to hinder mobility much and were way more stable than the neoprene ones.

I guess the question to answer is how much are you trying to restrict range of motion and how much is more for reassurance. Sans ACL, I would think stability would be more important.
Stability is absolutely a big deal to me but so is comfort/breathability/weight...I'll have to be on court possibly 5-6 hours straight in whatever it is. I've worn braces that feel like a torture device after 30 minutes. Trying to find the best possible solution.
 

stapletonj

Hall of Fame
Get at least 2 opinions before letting anyone cut out any of your meniscus.
A trip to Birmingham AL to the famous Dr. James Andrew's clinic is HIGHLY recc.
 

socallefty

Legend
I used the Athledict hinged brace after knee surgery for several months. It is pretty lightweight and not bulky. I moved to fabric braces after I got confident mentally about the state of my knee.
 

yossarian

Professional
If you get physical therapy your PT should be able to either recommend you a brace or refer you to someone like an orthotist who can

There are ACL protection braces out there that many athletes use after ACL-r
 

Shaolin

G.O.A.T.
If you get physical therapy your PT should be able to either recommend you a brace or refer you to someone like an orthotist who can

There are ACL protection braces out there that many athletes use after ACL-r
I'm pretty sure they're gonna try to set me up with a $2,000 brace that looks like Robocop.
 
I have very lax ACL on both my knees. So lax they provide almost no stability anyway. I get away without a brace or support most of the time and only need one after I have fallen or twisted my knee playing on a wet surface.

You are looking at building your muscle stability around the knee but especially your hamstrings. Your PT should help with the specifics with that.

The bone bruising and torn cartilage are going to be the more pain causing over the next few months unfortunately so dont push weight loading exercises on those areas for now. Good luck with rehab. I'd avoid the surgeons as well for now and give it at least 6months of rehab before deciding if it's working. You are in it for the long haul now
 

Shaolin

G.O.A.T.
I have very lax ACL on both my knees. So lax they provide almost no stability anyway. I get away without a brace or support most of the time and only need one after I have fallen or twisted my knee playing on a wet surface.

You are looking at building your muscle stability around the knee but especially your hamstrings. Your PT should help with the specifics with that.

The bone bruising and torn cartilage are going to be the more pain causing over the next few months unfortunately so dont push weight loading exercises on those areas for now. Good luck with rehab. I'd avoid the surgeons as well for now and give it at least 6months of rehab before deciding if it's working. You are in it for the long haul now
Thank you! good tips. I tend to focus on quads but need to think about hamstrings, glutes etc which I seldom work. This is whole thing is a wake up call for me...need to think more about how all of my muscles and joints work together and keep all of the links strong.
 

Fintft

Legend
When I had meniscus and torn ligaments surgery( difficult, albeit done by the top orthopedist in the country who looke after our national soccer squadz) in the 70's he was against braces( the flimsy, elastic ones), except for a couple of days, saying that the knee would get lazy. We didn't have the rigid ones.

Even that only surgery was done after waiting 6 months.

I've run away from a couple more surgeries ( not by him), although I did had torn ligaments a couple more time on that knee and chipped meniscus on the other one ( that healed by itself in my 50s, after twking glucosamine. I was able to play singles in a couple of weeks).

I'm more for glucosamine, omega 3, vitamin D, going to the sea side and exercising.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
In 1999, I got a Donjoy brace after meniscus surgery. The brace was tailored for me and recommended by my surgeon. I met a Donjoy rep and he measured or took a mold of my knee shape.

It was made of carbon fibers, I believe, and had a hinge structure. The calf and thigh bones were each fastened to the hinged brace. It would not allow overextension of my knee. Good result.

For something of that seriousness as no ACL, you need a well qualified Dr's advice on what to get.
 
Last edited:

Rubens

Hall of Fame
Did the ortho suggest any particular brace? I'd go with that.
And did he tell you the news by saying "The good news is that I don't see a torn ACL right now." ?
Them docs can be funny at times.
 

Shaolin

G.O.A.T.
Did the ortho suggest any particular brace? I'd go with that.
And did he tell you the news by saying "The good news is that I don't see a torn ACL right now." ?
Them docs can be funny at times.
No, he missed the opportunity to make the joke :laughing: That would have been good though.

I have a meeting to discuss braces in a few weeks. I doubt I'll be able to afford anything what they're selling though. Will need to get something mass produced I'm sure.
 

HelenCH

Rookie
What does your doctor recommend? You need at least level 3 support. Maybe even 4, for OA. Medi is a good brand, also Bauerfeind, Mc David, Donjoy. I would be vary of some "innovative" products when you see ads on facebook etc. I remember seeing ads for some knee supports that could not possibly work the way they were advertised and they cost more than premium braces from top brands. It's possible to live without ACL, but eventually your knee will pop out, which probably what happened to you.
You can also check some ski forums, like TGR, and ask there, ACL injuries are not uncommon, you might get some good advice. Good luck!
 

Scoop

Rookie
Thanks, I appreciate it. They look really supportive.
Sorry for the short reply earlier. I've had the Bauerfeind sports version for about 7 months now and bought it for very generalized knee pain. When I play on hard courts a lot or do a lot of lower body workouts my knees hurt like crazy. So, I wear the brace proactively and it makes a huge difference. I will be ordering another one soon.

My use case is different than yours so I would at least consider looking at their other lines as well - GenuTrain S, P3, etc There's a good comparison guide on their website that shows the ailments they specifically aim to alleviate.

As others have said, it's probably worth seeing what your doc recommends and hopefully insurance will cover some of the cost for you.

Good luck!
 

Shaolin

G.O.A.T.
What does your doctor recommend? You need at least level 3 support. Maybe even 4, for OA. Medi is a good brand, also Bauerfeind, Mc David, Donjoy. I would be vary of some "innovative" products when you see ads on facebook etc. I remember seeing ads for some knee supports that could not possibly work the way they were advertised and they cost more than premium braces from top brands. It's possible to live without ACL, but eventually your knee will pop out, which probably what happened to you.
You can also check some ski forums, like TGR, and ask there, ACL injuries are not uncommon, you might get some good advice. Good luck!
Thanks! I haven't had the meeting yet about braces with the doctor. They gave me a giant thing that holds my leg totally straight and some crutches at the ER and sent me on my way. They will apparently be contacting me about some serious braces going forward. I have no idea what they are going to try to hook me up with.

Good advice on the ski forum thing, I have heard that ACL are very common injuries for skiers so check out info there too.
 

Shaolin

G.O.A.T.
Sorry for the short reply earlier. I've had the Bauerfeind sports version for about 7 months now and bought it for very generalized knee pain. When I play on hard courts a lot or do a lot of lower body workouts my knees hurt like crazy. So, I wear the brace proactively and it makes a huge difference. I will be ordering another one soon.

My use case is different than yours so I would at least consider looking at their other lines as well - GenuTrain S, P3, etc There's a good comparison guide on their website that shows the ailments they specifically aim to alleviate.

As others have said, it's probably worth seeing what your doc recommends and hopefully insurance will cover some of the cost for you.

Good luck!
Thank you...I checked out the website and they do seem to have a lot of options. They are all well reviewed so it may be hard to choose, may have to order a few styles. Unfortunately we have a high deductible so prob won't be able to afford what the doc recommends for now but at least there are some decent options at a lower price out there.
 

HelenCH

Rookie
Thanks! I haven't had the meeting yet about braces with the doctor. They gave me a giant thing that holds my leg totally straight and some crutches at the ER and sent me on my way. They will apparently be contacting me about some serious braces going forward. I have no idea what they are going to try to hook me up with.

Good advice on the ski forum thing, I have heard that ACL are very common injuries for skiers so check out info there too.
I had this one too. It keeps your join stable as bruising heals. Buy some resistance bands for your future physio. Big muscles that you lose are easy to get back, but it's much harder work to build the small muscles and they play the main role in supporting the knee joint. Below the link to a very good forum where people can share with you their experience.
 

Agparj

New User
Shockdoctor brace. The 870 model has double springs for stability. Helps me at least with meniscus and MCL injuries/ tears. Light-ish, comfortable, supportive.
 

Shaolin

G.O.A.T.
Shockdoctor brace. The 870 model has double springs for stability. Helps me at least with meniscus and MCL injuries/ tears. Light-ish, comfortable, supportive.
I had this one too. It keeps your join stable as bruising heals. Buy some resistance bands for your future physio. Big muscles that you lose are easy to get back, but it's much harder work to build the small muscles and they play the main role in supporting the knee joint. Below the link to a very good forum where people can share with you their experience.
Thank you guys, I appreciate the input. Some good info!
 
Top