Mueller Braces and Supports
The Role of Muscle and Joint Supports in Recovery
Depending on the severity of the injury sustained in an accident, recovery may include a variety of knee braces and supports for the area. These range anywhere from custom fitted and created immobilizers to slight compression to keep stitches in place. Products in between those two extremes can be hinged braces, slings, heavy compression bandages, soft neck collars, and flexible back belts that are adjustable.
What Type is Appropriate?
The degree and type of support device is determined by a surgeon or physical therapists either before or after surgery or treatment takes place. The decision is based on the injury, individual age, weight, physical condition of the injured person, and configuration of the home. A diabetic with poor circulation, for example, will require different support for a broken ankle than a young healthy person who can maneuver well with crutches.
Someone who lives alone will be in motion and putting weight and pressure on a healing injury much more than someone who lives with family who can help. All contributing factors are taken into consideration when figuring out the type of supports needed. Over-the-counter products, such as most Mueller braces and supports, are often utilized whenever possible.
Supports may be needed immediately after surgery, during recovery, or for certain situations or activities after a full recovery is made. It is common for external supports to decrease as strength and stability increases. That custom brace may be substituted with a hinged knee brace in a month. That brace will be down-graded to a knee band with slight cushioning and compression that is only needed while running track or skiing.
The goal in every situation is to lessen dependence on exterior devices so the bones, muscles, and joints can function safely on their own as soon as possible. There is always the danger of becoming too dependent on a brace. This is a problem because extended use will result in weakening the body part that needs to strengthen.
Follow use and care instructions carefully and address any questions of concerns directly with the surgeon of physical therapist. Only you know how that joint feels so be honest, continue to do all the exercises learned, and be brave when it comes to moving without any supports. Keep in mind, the surgeon and physical therapist are available should the need for a follow-up appointment. If pain returns, the area swells, or something does not feel quite right, call immediately and get that injury seen and re-evaluated.