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To Brace or Not to Brace with ACL Tears

Casey Unverzagt, PT, DPT, DSc, OCS, SCS, CSCS

June 27, 2012

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Question

Do athletes in your clinic wear ACL braces for exercise during your therapy sessions?

Answer

There is a lot of research out there as far as the prophylactic effect of braces on ACL tears. Unfortunately, there is not great data to support that a brace will prevent an ACL tear. This is mainly because most ACL tears are happening in the transverse plane, and it is more of a rotation or tibial rotation that tears the ACL. A brace cannot control that rotation. So, in our clinic we tend to not use braces anymore.

With our second ACL reconstructions (we see a lot of second, third and forth reconstructions) we will brace them,  but ultimately, it's the doctor's decision. We can make recommendations, but docs seem to have their preferences. If they say brace, we brace. If they say no, then no. But I'd say we usually do not brace.


casey unverzagt

Casey Unverzagt, PT, DPT, DSc, OCS, SCS, CSCS

Casey Unverzagt is the director of the Slippery Rock office of Wise Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine. He received his B.S. from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington and his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania. He completed his Doctorate of Science in Orthopedic and Manual Physical Therapy from Andrews University in Michigan. Dr. Unverzagt completed a post-graduate sports residency in White Salmon, Washington, after which he became a board certified sports physical therapy specialist. Dr. Unverzagt is also board certified in orthopaedics, and is a certified manual physical therapist (CMPT) through NAIOMT. He currently teaches for Slippery Rock University, Scorebuilders, Evidence in Motion, and is the author of the popular EIM SCS Prep Course. He is also completing his fellowship in orthopaedic and manual therapy through Evidence in Motion. He lives in Grove City with his wife, Emily, and three boys: Josiah, Bereket, and Tamagn. With any free time, you'll find him running, cycling, or hiking.


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