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A knee brace you can ride in

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  • A knee brace you can ride in

    Soooo.... I crunched my tibial plateau (the bottom bone of the knee joint for you non-medical type people) and split the bone long-wise about 3.5" down two months ago (schooling for Rubicon-arghh!). I had surgery with a plate and screws right after, and my orthopod says I'm healing well and is very tolerant when I ask him when I can start riding again. That being said, he asked if it was allowed to have knee brace on when I rode, particularly for jumping and galloping. I've seen a lot of the neoprene type braces, and I don't need anything specific, just supportive. I'm hoping that there are people out there that have had to resort to one and which ones are better, less bulky, etc, etc.

    If anyone's ever had this injury and returned to riding, any insights, pointers and gems would be greatly appreciated!

    Happy New Year everybody!!

    Some Fear, 'cause if you got No Fear, you ain't going fast enough!
    N3D or T3D someday, dammit!
    Member of the Geezer Event Horse Team (1981-2011)

  • #2
    Neoprene doesn't provide any real support. You need a full carbon/steel skeleton for that, which doesn't work too well with riding, believe me. If neoprene works for you in terms of comfort, soft tissue swelling, etc. then there are a number of them out there (Professional's Choice even makes one) but if you need actual ligamentous support, then nothing short of a modified kind that football players wear is going to do much. I have one of those from after my ACL surgery and it's 100% unworkable in a saddle--too bulky. It's great for skiing, skatint, even Tae Kwon Do, but riding? Nuh-uh, no way. The neoprene ones with the metal "hinges" on the sides are only about "1% better than nothing" according to most of the experts I've asked. My orthopedist gave me the OK to ride ("just don't fall off!" he said) without it because riding really doesn't bother my knee. All injuries are different, of course, though.
    Click here before you buy.


    • #3
      I will get you the link. There are hard custom made ones you can ride in. I needed one when a serious injury side lined me. IT was expensive $1800 but man I snow boarded, rode and did everything in it while I recovered.
      Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.


      • #4
        what DW said. I fractured my tibial plateau 6 years ago this week, although the fracture didn't extend as deep as yours. I also had some additional damage (femur avulsion fracture where the MCL tore off the bone, torn medial meniscus, and some other damage to the MCL). I was out of the saddle for a couple of months, and when I finished rehab, went right back to riding without any brace.

        To be honest, I didn't discuss it specifically with my orthopedist (doctors make the worst patients, what can I say?). He and the PT cleared me for "regular activity" which I took to mean "horseback riding." I did not attempt riding with robo-brace, and like DW find the sleeves to be pointless (unless it's swollen).

        For what it's worth, sometimes when I'm in the saddle for extended periods of time (>2hrs at once) my knee will still ache, but otherwise, I don't notice it.
        "Cynicism is a sorry kind of wisdom" Barack Obama


        • #5
          Originally posted by beeblebrox View Post
          I will get you the link. There are hard custom made ones you can ride in. I needed one when a serious injury side lined me. IT was expensive $1800 but man I snow boarded, rode and did everything in it while I recovered.
          Oh please do! Thanks!

          The above post is an opinion, just an opinion. If it were a real live fact it would include supporting links to websites full of people who already agreed with me.



          • #6
            I use the Professional's Choice ones for riding, and find they work quite well. They are a bit better than the grocery store versions in terms of both support and staying in place - and I don't notice them after a few minutes in the saddle. (Though it's not an every ride thing - just when the knee(s) are acting up. ) I have a "real" metal one, too, but as others have said, ya just can't ride in those (I know this, because I tried... ) - though it's a godsend for skiing.

            That said, my injuries are all soft tissue, mostly chronic rather than acute, and nothing surgical (yet...): partial MCL tear and generally screwed up (special medical terminology, there ) MCLs, LCLs, and patellar tendons. So what works for me may not work for you...
            Proud member of the EDRF


            • #7
              Back on Track (that makes the horse products) makes a knee brace that has some support built in. I have a bad knee and I can wear it under my breeches. It slips on like a tube sock and has an adjustable strap. Not as much as the metal type, but you can ride in it and it supports more than a neoprene one, plus it really does help with inflammation!

              I got mine at bittenstore.com

              edited to say my knee sounds like Kementari's plus good old osteoarthritis!


              • #8
                MY mother has always used knee braces by Professional's Choice (same company that makes SMBs I'm pretty sure.) She loves them!

                (In Loving Memory of 'My Escort' 3/25/1985 - 3/17/2007)


                • #9
                  One thing you can do is go to you PT guy and see if they can show you how to tape it. Taping it can give you specific support, without the bulk.
                  I broke the plateau also and had surgery. The biggest problem was the lack of stability in the patella. I am no doctor and I can't remember the details very well. But due to the other injuries in the knee, I was having a tracking problem, which in turn was causing most of my pain after my recovery. No pins so not nearly as bad as yours, but for a while, they kept taping it and it helped stabilize the patella. After I while things got stronger, and I no longer need to tape it.
                  Just a thought. Good luck


                  • #10
                    After trying many over the counter braces that didn't seem to help at all, a very understanding ortho prescribed a brace that really works and I can ride in it just fine. It is made by Donjoy and it has velcro above ane below the knee with a hole for the kneecap. It is not a slip on and it does have the metal hinges. I can ride, jump, use my leg etc. just fine with it. I cannot mount from the ground with it but my doc does not approve of that anyway. I can wear it over or under my breeches and over my half chaps but not with tall boots. The hinges are light and don't interfere with use of the leg on a horse, in fact I don't even notice the brace. The greatest thing about this brace is the way it supports my leg. Before the brace I was not able to use that leg effectively and when I dismounted, I was in pain and hardly able to walk. Hopefully your knee is not this bad but I still highly recommend this brace as it's allowed me to continue riding w/o more surgery. Good luck finding the right combination. Those knees are pesky joints for riders.
                    Piney Woods


                    • #11



                      are both great places to start.

                      Good luck and anything is possible.
                      Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.


                      • #12
                        Thanks beeblebrox - I'll be taking those to PT and *both* my Orthos this week.

                        I don't mind the money for something that works. But every brace they've put me in so makes the rest of my leg ache. I swear they are not made for "girl" legs. And although they help my knee for barn work, I certainly couldn't ride in them. I am now living in the Pro Choice brace - but the jury is out on whether or not it is helping my rapidly deteriorating medial and lateral compartments (seems this is a souvenir from my ACL reconstruction).

                        Anyone know anything about this new substance for joint injections? The "powdery liquid" no one seems to remember the name of?

                        SCFarm <who is still trying not to panic!>
                        The above post is an opinion, just an opinion. If it were a real live fact it would include supporting links to websites full of people who already agreed with me.



                        • #13
                          When I had ACL surgery, I was fitted with a custom titanium sports brace that was made for women. I made sure they fitted me with a model that did not have a big joint/hinge sticking out on the inside (some do), but got one that was smooth/flush on the inside. I rode in it for a year, eventing, recognized dressage, and foxhunting. I just bought an old, used pair of boots that fit sort in the foot, had a couple big "V"s of elasic added at 2:00 and 5:00 in the left boot, and wore that over the brace on my left leg. Worked a charm.

                          It was 10 years ago, but looked something like this, but with a smoother hinge on the inside:

                          You might want to call this brace shop and see what they recommend. Good luck.

                          It did not damage my saddle and was not a problem to ride in. I did add a polo knee pad when I was foxhunting through thick cover and didn't want the knee to get inadvertantly thwacked by a branch.

                          Also, the eventing TDs weren't bothered at all by the brace. The dressage show TDs considered it "unconventional equipment" and required me to show it to the TD and get permission to ride in it before the class (right, an unfair advantage, lol!).
                          Hindsight bad, foresight good.


                          • #14
                            I still have the brace that my ortho gave me before my knee surgery years ago. It sounds similar to what piney woods described but no hinges along the side ( not a metal hinge but something that gave it a little more stiffness if that makes sense). It was fine to ride in but it was primarily meant to keep my patella tracking properly and I cannot imagine it would give you the support you will need but I am happy to bring it to the barn and show it to you if you want. Maybe it would help to show it to him and ask if that gave enough support.
                            DW- when you say the stiffer/bigger braces do not work- do you mean for light flat work too? I would think you could get away with more on the flat espcially if you did lots of no stirrup flat work
                            There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.(Churchill)


                            • #15
                              The "powdery liquid" no one seems to remember the name of?

                              DW- when you say the stiffer/bigger braces do not work- do you mean for light flat work too? I would think you could get away with more on the flat espcially if you did lots of no stirrup flat work
                              What I meant was the brace was so bulky that it was impossible to put my leg on the saddle at all, without completely wrecking my leg position AND the saddle. And in my case, the brace wasn't really needed for riding because I had no pain or instability. My ortho guy just was scared I'd "finish off" the ACL if I took another fall. Which is a distinct possibility, but I'd rather just ride and hopefully not fall off than ride poorly/uncomfortably/with a ruined saddle. Again, my requirement for a brace might be totally different than someone else's--my knee is "stable enough" except for stuff that involves twisting, which doesn't happen when I ride.
                              Click here before you buy.


                              • Original Poster

                                Thanks everyone!

                                Fortunately, all of the ligaments and menisci are undamaged, so fortunately there is minimal to no instability. I don't think I need a carbon fiber type with hinges, but I'll double check with him this Friday.

                                Hey, bambam, bring it to the barn and I'll check it out!
                                Some Fear, 'cause if you got No Fear, you ain't going fast enough!
                                N3D or T3D someday, dammit!
                                Member of the Geezer Event Horse Team (1981-2011)


                                • #17
                                  drjuliea...I actually had the same injury. Depressed my tibila plateau as well as fracturing my patella. I didn't have to have surgery (my depression I think was only 4-5 mm...it's been awhile I don't remember the exact measurement). I was in a cast for 6 weeks and then a ROM brace for a few weeks while I built muscle back up. I asked my Ortho about needing a brace and he said that because there was not any lateral instability (no tendon or ligament damage) there was no need for a brace. Not to mention that anything he could have given me would have been way to bulky. While it was very sore to ride on (and can still get sore when I'm in the saddle for to long) I never had a problem with riding without a brace. I was back in the saddle within 8 weeks of the accident and competing shortly after that.


                                  • #18
                                    Hi Dr Julie!

                                    I had a different knee issure - acl, mcl, meniscus, patellar cartilage . . .

                                    Anywho - after 7 months, sx, pt I started back without a brace but I use the flexy stirrups. So far so good. I do pt still to get the quads strong.



                                    • #19
                                      I tore my ACL a few years ago. I started in a Don Joy brace, and that didnt work well for riding at all. Its was WAY too bulky, and it started to tear up my saddles.
                                      I switched to a Towsend Rebel, and it was much better. Much more streamlined. I had to wear it for 18 months ( I had LOTS of knee issues), and it only scuffed my saddles a tiny bit. If I had thought about it at the time, I would have just rigged something to put over the hinge to protect the saddles.


                                      • #20
                                        I test-rode a few and now have an Ossur. My issue is very compounded with not only an acl replacement but micro-fractures and a complete lack of cartilage in my medial compartment.

                                        Once my knee got a bit stronger, I stopped wearing the brace riding. I still wear it for any type of skiing though. Before I got the Ossur, I did use a neoprene type brace with cross straps but not metal hinges that worked really well for support and swelling. I'll have to see what it was.