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January 12, 1990

Bracing Those Knees: How Effective?

JAMA. 1990;263(2):201. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440020023006

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ATTEMPTING to prevent knee injuries, many athletes wear what they hope is a prophylactic knee brace. This is especially true in football, where the knee is the most frequent site of injury and the medial collateral the ligament most often injured.

However, Eric D. Zemper, PhD, of the Exercise Research Associates of Oregon, Portland, presented data in Colorado Springs, Colo, at the First International Olympic Committee World Congress on Sports Sciences from the Athletic Injury Monitoring System that indicate knee braces do not serve to reduce injuries, nor do they lessen the severity of injuries. Zemper says that, while the concept of the prophylactic knee brace is intuitively logical, the results from the survey seem to indicate that more developmental work on prophylactic braces must be done before there will be any prospect of significant impact on injury reduction.

Prophylactic knee braces are designed to protect against damage to the