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Maybe I'm having my "mid-life crisis" but at age 50, I started motocross racing and I just love it. But some of the runs leave my knees really talking to me. I notice other riders wearing knee braces. Is this something I should look into?

The just-in-case factor is one practice in sports that is hotly debated. Should I wear a knee brace "just-in-case" I might injure my knee? This question arises any time an athlete participates in a contact sport with the potential for traumatic injuries. Add high speeds and difficult terrain in the dangerous and intense sport of off-road biking and you may find yourself reaching for that brace, too. But does a knee brace really protect you or anyone else participating in sports like motocross (MX)? That's the question raised (and answered) in a recent study. The information comes from a survey placed on the Internet and completed by over 2,000 off-road motorcycle riders. Data was collected for one-year. Participants in track, off-road, motocross (MX), and other types of riding from around the world responded. Riders were asked about injuries (type, severity, frequency), riding hours, and use of prophylactic (preventive) knee bracing. The results were compared between riders who wore a brace just-in-case and those who did not. They found that fewer injuries were reported by riders who wore preventive braces. Riders who didn't wear a brace were more likely to injure their anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the meniscus (cartilage) in the knee, or their medial collateral ligament (MCL). By taking pressure off the ACL, these knee braces do seem to be making a difference in the number and severity of knee injuries. In fact, riders who do not wear a knee brace are twice as likely to suffer knee injuries compared with those who do wear the brace. That conclusion confirms the importance of prophylactic ("just-in-case") bracing for riders engaged in any of these off-road biking events.


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