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My awesome new knee brace.

March 13, 2013

Since I am uninsured, my usual care for my arthritic knee has fallen by the wayside.  As I mentioned in my last post, I do have an appointment at the orthopedic clinic coming up in July.  Of course I began asking for this referral from my doctors at CommunityCare almost a year ago.  At the time I wasn’t having too much trouble with my knee, but I knew I could expect a flare any time if I increased my activity or the weather changed.  My knee is pretty high maintenance.  In 2002, I was hit by a car while crossing the street.  The injury I suffered is sometimes called the “terrible triad” (or sometimes, “unhappy triad”).  This is most commonly a sports injury which occurs when the foot is planted on the ground and the outside of the knee joint is struck with some force, such as a flying football player.  In my case, it was a car bumper imparting the force. I had surgery and a lengthy rehabilitation, recovering nearly full function in time.  Up until recently I was walking unaided and had pain, but it was usually manageable in a way such that I could still participate in normal activities.

Since the beginning of winter this year, maybe around Christmas time, I’ve had enough pain that I’ve had to walk with a cane.  Using the cane reduces weight bearing on the knee by about 25%.  In January, my pain management doctor (a physical medicine and rehab guy) suggested trying a brace.  Since I began using a brace, my pain has been reduced significantly so that most of the time I can walk without feeling like I’m getting stabbed in the kneecap with every step.

My new knee brace.

My new knee brace.

My first brace was an adjustable knee support with spring steel stays in the sides, providing lateral stabilization, that I bought at a drug store.  That one has now about worn out after use many hours a day for around 2 months, so time for a new brace.  I decided to go with a hinged brace that would offer better range of motion and more lateral support.  I did lots of research, mostly on amazon.com.  I love the huge number of reviews you can find for most products there.  I ordered my new brace yesterday and with the fantastically low priced Amazon Prime one day delivery, I received my brace this morning.

This is a McDavid Dual Disc Hinged Knee Brace.  It has polycentric hinges (whatever that means) and hyperextension stops (that means it won’t let my knee bend backwards, always a good thing in my opinion).  The reviews were generally favorable and suggested going up a size if your knee measurement was between sizes.  Following this advice, I bought an XL for my 17 inch circumference knee.  The brace fits snuggly, with nice compression from the neoprene sleeve.  Just the weight of it when I pulled it out of the package had a satisfying feel.  The velcro is industrial strength, though the straps are just a bit long for me.  If needed, I can always sew extra length of the hook side of the velcro so it connects fully with the loops.  The hole in the middle is to support the patella (knee cap) and help its alignment during movement.  That’s a feature my doctor particularly wanted me to use.

Explaining the McDavidness!

Explaining the McDavidness!

What inspired me to write this post, was not just excitement over new orthopedic equipment.  Along with my brace came this awesome card advising me of my good fortune now that I am a McDavid insider!  I especially like that they are refreshing their “McDavidness” and ramping up their “McDavid Mojo.”  I feel so incredibly included with this news and have utmost confidence in the McDavidness and the mojo of my brace.  I can imagine myself hobbling a mile or so down the hike and bike trail, knowing I have this maker of orthopedic products behind me all the way!  This also gives me a feeling of youth, like I can pretend I need this brace to protect my knee while snow boarding or rock climbing.  I don’t have crippling arthritis because I’m getting old, some jerk ran into me with his car and then fled the scene, and I don’t have enough money to continue my visco-supplementation injections.  I am all set for football or martial arts or whatever the world throws at me, including walking the dog.  Watch out, Shawn White, here I come!

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