Search tips
Search criteria 


Logo of jathtrainLink to Publisher's site
J Athl Train. 1996 Oct-Dec; 31(4): 329–333.
PMCID: PMC1318917

The Effects of Prophylactic Brace Construction Materials on the Reactive Responses of the MCL During Repetitive Impacts

Patrick E. Patterson, PhD, PE
Patrick E. Patterson is Associate Professor at Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering and the Biomedical Engineering Program, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011.



The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of different construction materials on the ability of a prophylactic brace to reduce the stresses sustained by a surrogate medial collateral ligament (MCL) under low-energy repetitive impact conditions.

Design and Setting:

A surrogate leg was fixed at both the hip and foot with the knee in full extension. A prophylactic brace was attached to the surrogate leg and the system struck by an impactor weighing either 6.68 kg or 16.9 kg.


A single brace design (Am Pro Knee Guard) was used. Three different materials (nylon, aluminum, graphite) were used in constructing the brace uprights.


Tension in the MCL was measured under all conditions of brace material and impactor weight. In addition, the impact impulse response of the system was evaluated.


The graphite and aluminum uprights showed significant reductions in both MCL peak tension magnitude (from 12 to 21% improvement) and in the impulse response of the MCL (from 36 to 47% improvement) when compared to the no-brace condition.


The present study indicates that the choice of brace upright material does have a significant effect on the transmission and absorption of low-level repetitive impact forces at the MCL and should be an important consideration in the design of better knee braces.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (1.0M), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Images in this article

Click on the image to see a larger version.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Baker BE, VanHanswyk E, Bogosian S, 4th, Werner FW, Murphy D. A biomechanical study of the static stabilizing effect of knee braces on medial stability. Am J Sports Med. 1987 Nov-Dec;15(6):566–570. [PubMed]
  • Baker BE, VanHanswyk E, Bogosian SP, Werner FW, Murphy D. The effect of knee braces on lateral impact loading of the knee. Am J Sports Med. 1989 Mar-Apr;17(2):182–186. [PubMed]
  • Ekstrand J, Gillquist J. The frequency of muscle tightness and injuries in soccer players. Am J Sports Med. 1982 Mar-Apr;10(2):75–78. [PubMed]
  • France EP, Paulos LE, Jayaraman G, Rosenberg TD. The biomechanics of lateral knee bracing. Part II: Impact response of the braced knee. Am J Sports Med. 1987 Sep-Oct;15(5):430–438. [PubMed]
  • Grace TG, Skipper BJ, Newberry JC, Nelson MA, Sweetser ER, Rothman ML. Prophylactic knee braces and injury to the lower extremity. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1988 Mar;70(3):422–427. [PubMed]
  • Hewson GF, Jr, Mendini RA, Wang JB. Prophylactic knee bracing in college football. Am J Sports Med. 1986 Jul-Aug;14(4):262–266. [PubMed]
  • Paulos LE, France EP, Rosenberg TD, Jayaraman G, Abbott PJ, Jaen J. The biomechanics of lateral knee bracing. Part I: Response of the valgus restraints to loading. Am J Sports Med. 1987 Sep-Oct;15(5):419–429. [PubMed]
  • Rovere GD, Haupt HA, Yates CS. Prophylactic knee bracing in college football. Am J Sports Med. 1987 Mar-Apr;15(2):111–116. [PubMed]
  • Sitler M, Ryan J, Hopkinson W, Wheeler J, Santomier J, Kolb R, Polley D. The efficacy of a prophylactic knee brace to reduce knee injuries in football. A prospective, randomized study at West Point. Am J Sports Med. 1990 May-Jun;18(3):310–315. [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of Athletic Training are provided here courtesy of National Athletic Trainers Association