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Best Knee Braces for Horse Riding

Injuries are part and parcel of taking part in sport, and those who ride horse will know exactly how hard the sport can be on your knees. The logistics of horse riding make protecting your knees difficult, such as the tight fit clothing and the need for a complete range of motion. Knee’s are designed to move in one direction only, front to back. They are not designed to move side to side or rotate. The action of siting on a horse compresses the straight hinge structure against the round surface of the horse’s barrel. Which creates a side-to-side stress on the knee joint. After a long period of time, this pressure can cause the medial collateral ligament to tighten and the lateral ligament to weaken and stretch. Disruption of either ligament shifts the tibia in the opposite direction, so lateral-ligament weakness results in deviation of the tibia inward making the knee joint unstable. This instability can cause the knee to blow as the stresses on the joint accelerate. Walking and standing presses down on the knee unevenly, with more weight born on the medial surface of the tibia, resulting in compression of the medial meniscus causes inflammation in the joint and degradation of the cartilage that can eventually lead to osteoarthritis. The use of a knee brace can help to keep the knee joint straight, thus reducing the symptoms above.

Our Recommendations A knee brace which the inside hinge can be removed from to avoid causing damage to the saddle as well as a brace which does not have too much bulk, giving you the option to wear it under breeches is what we would recommend for horse riding. The Donjoy Sport or the Donjoy QuickFit are two braces we would recommend as they both provide protection, compression and support for ligament problems and general knee instabilities. The Donjoy Sport is a wraparound brace whereas the QuickFit is a pull-on brace, traditionally a pull-on brace is slimmer fitting, however it does come down to a personal preference of style. The Sport brace has been made with athletes in mind and is made from DryTex fabric which will keep the leg dry and cool during exercise. Firstaid4sport’s top tip One customer of ours found that she was uncomfortable riding with her brace under her breeches, however, as she was using it for showing so she was unable to have the brace on display. Her solution was to cut a pair of older and baggier breeches above and below the knee creating a sleeve to cover the brace when in show ring.