We see many athletes of all levels wearing braces to practice their sport. Is it good to wear a splint to protect a joint when working out?
After an injury, the splint, brace or bandage may be recommended by the healthcare professional. Its main role is to facilitate the muscular protection of the injured region. Indeed, we now know that these tools cannot completely prevent joint movement given the importance of the forces imposed by the weight of the body. On the other hand, it allows additional information to be transmitted to the brain about the position of the joint in space so that the muscles can react more quickly to protect the joint.
In a more acute situation (shortly after the injury and during the initial stages of rehabilitation), braces can be relevant tools, keeping in mind that they are learning tools for the body. They can help reduce symptoms during training and improve function or endurance when playing sports. However, in the longer run, if we do not want to become dependent on these tools, we must re-educate the body to be able to quickly transmit information and react. While still wearing the splint, the body does not develop these strategies as effectively. Among other things, it is by gaining proprioception, control and strength that one can “wean” the splint. The return to play or training without the brace must obviously be gradual.
Finally, it is important to note that splints, orthotics and bandages have no effect on injury prevention in people who have not been injured.
Have a great and active day!