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What Are the Different Types of Ligament Support?

Elbow braces are among the most common ligament support items in use.
Woman wearing a splint for a torn ligament in her finger.
A person wearing a knee brace for ligament support.
A woman wearing a wrist brace for ligament support.
Article Details
  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 24 March 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Several types of ligament support exist for people who have undergone ligament surgery or who have suffered injuries to various joints throughout the body. Braces are designed to add physical support to a joint, while certain supplements may be taken orally to strengthen ligaments and keep them healthy. Braces may be made with a variety of materials to prevent lateral movement of a joint, and ligament support braces will prevent a loss of mobility or weakness. Braces are usually designed specifically for a particular joint; knee braces, for example, only work on the knee joints.

Elbow braces, wrist braces, knee braces, and ankle braces are the most common ligament support items used, especially after surgery to repair damaged or torn ligaments. These braces are usually made from a durable, stretchable, and sometimes breathable material that can wrap around the affected joint tightly but comfortably. Some braces are quite simple and just slide onto the joint, while others feature hook and loop straps that can be adjusted to suit joints of various sizes; this method is effective for accommodating swelling as well. Some of the best materials for such braces are not breathable, however, which means they can be uncomfortable if worn for a long period of time.

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Other ligament support braces are much more complex and offer more lateral support. These braces often feature metal rods or plastic supports that are situated on either side of the knee to prevent side to side movement while still allowing normal front to back movement. The metal rods are usually hinged right at the joint so the user can wear the ligament support without altering normal movement. Such systems are most common on knee braces, though other ligament support braces may feature such systems. These braces are likely to be far more expensive than other models, though they may be necessary for people who have recently undergone surgery to repair a ligament. Anterior cruciate ligaments (ACLS) are commonly damaged ligaments in the knees that may require surgery and, therefore, a more complex support brace.

Vitamins, minerals, and other supplements can be taken to improve the health and function of ligaments in joints. A visit to a pharmacy will offer various supplements marketed specifically for promoting joint health; while these supplements are most commonly taken by elderly people, they can be used to ensure joint health in any person, especially those who have undergone surgery or who have had recent injuries to the ligaments.

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