Knee Brace


Approximately 200,000-300,000 ACL injuries occur in the US annually.  In gender comparable sports such as soccer or basketball, females have an increased risk of ACL injury compared with males, which may be due to intrinsic differences of knee alignment or neuromuscular patterns.  Most ACL injuries occur without direct contact from another player and commonly cited injury mechanisms include: knee hyperextension or valgus bending, internal rotation of the tibia, and axial compressive loading.  Some athletes wear braces to reduce the risk of ACL injury, but those braces are designed to protect against hyperextension and valgus bending.  Another type of knee brace is a unicompartmental osteoarthritis (OA) brace.  OA braces typically function to reduce the pressure on the medial compartment by offloading some of the compressive load to the lateral compartment.  Recently, valgus knee position was shown to reduce the compressive force required to produce ACL injury in cadaver knees.  This is likely due to the steeper and therefore more unstable posterior tibial slope on the lateral versus the medial compartment.  Therefore, the medial compartment is stronger and more stable than the lateral compartment.  The objective of this project is to redesign the medial hinge mechanism of a prophylactic knee brace to shift part of the compressive load from the lateral to the medial compartment of the knee.  Biomechanical human subject testing (with IRB) approval will be conducted with 3 experimental tests to validate the modified brace function compared to a control brace.



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