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In Sweden, many ice hockey players use so-called derotation braces in order to prevent knee injuries. Unfortunately, these braces are expensive, and reports have claimed that serious knee injuries can occur in spite of the use of these braces.
In this study, it was found that 24% of the players in the two highest leagues use these preventive braces in order to reduce the risk of knee injury. The different braces were tested regarding their effectiveness in reducing rotation and abduction/adduction in the knee joint; it was shown that these braces reduced these movements in the knee. The braces were also investigated to determine if they impaired performance and strength. It was found that the design of the brace was of importance, as some braces effected strength and performance negatively.
The ability of the braces to withstand external torques was also investigated. Here the design of the braces was of importance in terms of the ability to take up external applied forces. Braces with metal bars and a three- or four-point fixation system seemed to be super rior, but the load that the brace can resist appeared to be too low to prevent a knee injury.
The authors conclude that, if a brace is to prevent injury, it should probably have a new design.
ice hockey, knee brace, knee injury, injury prevention
Consultant in Orthopedic Surgery, Central Hospital, Boden,
Research engineer, The Swedish Ice Hockey Assn., Johanneshov, Stockholm
Research engineer, The Aeronautical Research Institute of Sweden, Bromma,