View Full Version : What brace/sleeve for swimming when ACL is lost in 1 knee?

March 22nd, 2017, 03:07 PM
Iím a guy in his late 60s who, in a bad fall 3.5 years ago, fully lost his ACL in the RIGHT knee. An ortho told me that the ACL will not be repaired due to age and due to OA (osteoarthritis) showing up on the MRI scan.

For X number of months (where X can be 3, or 4, or 5 or maybe even 6), I have no physical pain in the RIGHT knee in walking and in daily, non-vigorous life. When OA physical pain starts under the kneecap of the RIGHT knee, I do quad sets for Y number of consecutive days (where Y can be 3, or 4, or 5, or 6 or 7 consecutive days) and the physical pain ends again for X number of months.

Iíd like to swim but know from experience that with no external support around my damaged RIGHT knee thereís physical pain while swimming-- I know this because I tried swimming after healing from the fall 3.5 yrs. ago.

What kind of pull-on sleeve or maybe some flexible, rigid knee brace would let me swim again with no physical pain in the RIGHT knee?

I'd probably only want to do a flutter kick as I do a modified elementary back stroke. [In the modified stroke, my legs would be straight-- due to another chronic medical problem, I'd not be doing the usual frog kick in the elementary back stroke.]

Will chlorinated pool water have some bad physical/chemical effect on some kind of pull-on, probably-synthetic-material sleeve or maybe on a flexible, rigid brace?

March 23rd, 2017, 09:10 AM
I don't know about a brace, but I used to use tape on my knee when I swam and I had no issues with it staying on. If this issue is something you could use KT tape for, you may want to try that since you replace it often enough that the water and chlorine won't break it down. I tried using an ankle brace in high school and I remember that while it felt tight before swimming, it felt like it flopped around when I kicked. Since tape is stuck to you, that wouldn't be an issue. Good luck!

March 23rd, 2017, 02:24 PM
Thanks Jessica for your help and for your good wishes that I do well.

March 23rd, 2017, 10:05 PM
As a physical therapist, I will agree that the tape would probably be the least cumbersome and most comfortable to swim in. KT tape is a specific brand of what is more generically called kinesiology tape. There is another brand, Rock Tape, that makes a kinesiology tape for aquatic sports. I believe they call it H2O tape. It does seem to stay on better but for use on the knee (less motion than the shoulder) you'd probably be fine with any brand. KT tape has a you tube channel with some good tutorials on how to apply the tape. However the tape is not strong enough to truly stabilize the knee, the theory behind the tape is that it provides some feedback for your nervous system to remind your muscles to stabilize the knee. Pretty much the same thing can be said for a pull on knee sleeve. To externally stabilize the knee and make up for the torn ACL you would need an ACL brace. These are usually custom fit and you would likely need to go through an orthopedic doctor to get one. I've never known anyone to swim in one so I can't really say how well it works. I would probably try the tape first as a much cheaper and easier option. Good luck!

April 3rd, 2017, 10:48 AM
Feel free to ignore any or all of this...

I'd encourage you to at least get a second opinion on ACL repair. Sounds like you are still very active and would obviously be great to have full use of your right knee.

My experience working out (running, swimming, biking) after two ACL ruptures (one at age 40, one at 50) and prior to having them repaired was that no amount of tape, wraps, sleeves, etc. could adequately stabilize the knee. There's just too much force concentrated in that joint for anything other than a hard brace to be effective.

I am surprised you're experiencing pain swimming. My experience only is after recovery from the initial trauma, the knees were pretty functional, albeit unstable. I let one go 4-5 years between rupture and surgery and was able to run, swim, and bike without too much discomfort. However, no frog kick!

Anyway, point of all of that; please don't take no for an answer from your doc and please take this as encouragement to keep after it! All the best to you!