Full-on knee braces vs. knee guards for dual sport riding

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by 2thdrinOR, Aug 27, 2021.

  1. 2thdrinOR

    2thdrinOR Been here awhile

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    What say you on what an older (60) novice dual sport rider should use for knee/shin protection? Advanced street rider (lots of track days and rider coaching at the race track over the years), but only a couple years of tame dual sport riding. Likely will never try to be a fast or technical single track rider. Are $400 knee braces just good insurance to stack odds against injury or are they mainly for more expert riders/riding/terrain? Thanks!
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  2. VX Rider

    VX Rider Long timer

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    Just an opinion

    Wearing the braces may serve to allow you to relax and worry less on injury.
    By being more relaxed it may then prevent injury.

    As we know fear=tightening up when we need to be the poorest.

    So while the braces may mostly serve as a mental tool, they also wouldn't be a bad idea if you happen to need them.
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  3. Motopsychoman

    Motopsychoman Not a total poseur Supporter

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    I haven't made the jump to braces yet, but after a good friend destroyed all the tendons in his knee about 18 months ago, I've given it very serious consideration.

    Cost shouldn't be a factor. Braces offer much better protection and can really help against those horrible knee twisting offs.

    Back when I was a club racer in the 1980's, a very wise older racer said this to a n00b racer who was bitching about the cost of racing leathers (around $600 at the time): "It's still a lot cheaper than 1 sq.in. of skin graft." So everything in perspective.
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  4. Barry

    Barry Just Beastly

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    I used to run knee braces when I raced Supermoto, used them off-road as well. What i found - for me - was fit was critical to the braces actually functioning as intended, and ensuring comfort. I eventually sold mine. If you get them, I'd spend a lot of time and work with a professional to ensure you have a 100% correct fit.

    Barry
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  5. sharpie1

    sharpie1 Long timer Supporter

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    I tore my right ACL without braces. I got a brace for that knee and wore it for a couple of years, but eventually quit wearing it. fast forward a decade and I tore my left ACL. I bought the Leatt braces after that and wore them for a couple of years, got tired of wearing them and sold them. Literally 3 months later I tore up my right knee again. I never went to the doc for that one, it just seems like their answer is always surgery and at 50 and 5 knee surgeries in, I don't want to go that route anymore. I eventually healed to where I could walk and ride again and bought another set of braces and I keep telling myself I will continue to wear them, time will tell.
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  6. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority Supporter

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    Wear knee guards to prevent injury. Wear knee guards after you have had an injury, but remember that wearing knee braces moves the injury from the knee to the femur.
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  7. sharpie1

    sharpie1 Long timer Supporter

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    That right there is a worry of mine, braces could help you snap your femur which could be fatal. It's probably the reason I go back and forth...at least you can probably still ride out of the middle of nowhere with a blown knee.
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  8. OneAUout

    OneAUout Been here awhile

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    Energy ( did somebody mention pain) transfer is a real thing. Some years back we bought a new wakeboard and boots at the start of summer. News style boots had 100% ankle protection (= no ankle movement). Second jump of the ski and upon landing max force was transferred to my good knee. So there I was floating in the sea with a snapped ACL. Had a Devil of a time getting back into the boat. Fell over first day not on crutches 1 month later and broke the knee cap Damn! That was knee op #5.

    So now I'm a firm believer in soft guards to absorb a direct impact of commuting or long distance road/twin track riding. If I'm on my trials bike and going hard then it's wear-a-brace time. Same for snow Skiing. Brace. Because skis ad a twisting motion when you fall. And trials adds a twisting motion 'cause I'm standing on the pegs and tend to step off and twist to try and prevent a crash.
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  9. PeterW

    PeterW Long timer

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    I used knee protection when I rode offroad. I know it saved me from damage because I fell on my arse ...

    I hit SOMETHING in a corner, I suspect a tree stump, an hour later, stop to fuel up and wham, on my arse because the knee protector had been rotated 90 degrees and my knee no longer bent.

    That said, eventually I went with MTB stuff as it was a LOT more comfortable, gel and kevlar rather than stiff. That was mainly because decent dirt was a long way away and wearing the good knee protectors just didn't happen after day 1.

    I'd also recommend wearing SOME protection but the really heavy stuff, I'd say slowing down and being sensible is of more use.
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  10. DSquared

    DSquared Dilly Dilly! Supporter

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    Crashed 45mph at 27yrs old whilst dualsport/ADV riding. Shattered my hand, tore my meniscus and broke my tibia plateau on my left leg. I was wearing Leatt Dual Axis knee guards. After healing I bought PODS K4 braces and I wear them religiously when I am going off road. I hear the broken femur argument every time this topic comes up but no one can produce evidence that the brace caused the break. The same story for broken collar bones from wearing neck braces. I wear one of those too.


    More thoughts
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  11. 2thdrinOR

    2thdrinOR Been here awhile

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    Also reminds me of the "helmets cause neck injuries..." myth.
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  12. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority Supporter

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    Happened to my nephew, Andy Bakken, while in his first season of Supercross. He still has the rod in his femur. His Orthopedic surgeon said it was the brace that transferred the injury from the knee to the femur. However he did have underlying previous knee injuries and a brace was indicated.

    Those who wear the braces with no underlying injuries are like those who wear Leatt neck braces; "Sure glad I was wearing my Leatt neck brace when I crashed, or I would have broken my neck and I'd be paralyzed".

    There is a lot of crap information out there, especially from the manufactures of the equipment.

    Wear what you want if it makes you feel safe. Believe what you want if it makes you happy.
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  13. 2thdrinOR

    2thdrinOR Been here awhile

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    @Strong Bad ,
    I'm thinking my old knees in a slow twisting fall is quite a bit different than a young, healthy kid (loosely applied) riding supercross... doesn't seem like an apples to apples comparison. I currently wear a custom CTI brace on my right knee for an ACL recon in 1998, but am considering prophylactic brace for the left.
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  14. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority Supporter

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    Do you think your bones are as strong as when you were young?
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  15. 2thdrinOR

    2thdrinOR Been here awhile

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    No, but they are stronger than the ACL, MCL in a slow twisting fall. My first post stated my novice dirt skills and type of riding. I'm not fast and I don't jump. Obviously one can't foresee or protect against all types of injuries...it's about playing the odds, what you're will to spend and wear for a reasonable amount of protection for the most common injuries for the sport you're doing. Femur breaks are rare, ligament tears/ruptures are common.
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  16. jay547

    jay547 Long timer

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    Yup, during my mx racing days, I asked my ortho doc about knee braces. He said, "Do not wear braces unless you are recovering from injury or have weak knees." I never wore any...
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  17. 2thdrinOR

    2thdrinOR Been here awhile

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    So you were young, in great shape, and an accomplished rider/racer? Were you injured? Was your Ortho doc giving you advice based on your status at the time?
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  18. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Long timer

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    Shin protection, knee protection, and a knee brace are three different things. Though many a shin and knee protector are combined.

    I would think a basic impact protection strap on guard is a good idea with minimal costs or downsides. Same for strap on elbow guards. I’ve worn them off and on, and an always surprised at how I don’t even notice them after a few minutes.

    Now a knee brace, that’s a different matter. The argument about braces transferring forces is true. So are the observations that the joint they protect is pretty weak. Knee and shin injuries are pretty common from old rigid ski boots for example, though the ankle is protected. So, I suppose this one is very much a personal call.

    Remember too, there are degrees of brace. From barely there, to rigid cages.
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  19. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority Supporter

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    I stared riding at 15 years old 53 years ago. I entered my fist desert race at 16. I’ve had so many crashes over the years I couldn’t possibly remember 1/4 of them. I’ve crashed off road at speeds over 70mph and while sitting still, but I’ve never encountered the slow twisting fall resulting in injury you seem to be worried about.
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  20. 2thdrinOR

    2thdrinOR Been here awhile

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    From 1999 to 2011 I was a ski pass holder/most every weekend, black diamond snow skier post-right knee ACL reconstruction (1998) and never thought twice about strapping on my custom Ortho-fitted Donjoy and later CTI knee brace. Obviously I am continuing to wear the CTI, but was asking the question for the left leg which has never been injured, but I am not strong like I used to be. I appreciate all the responses. I am leaning towards the Leatt C-Frame Carbon since I can get a single left (not sold in pairs exclusively). I wish the POD K4 came as a single...
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