The Optimum Hinged Knee Brace for ACL Recovery


A key component to my quick recovery from ACL surgery was my DonJoy ACL brace, the TROM (Total Range of Motion) Adjuster Knee Brace. This hinged knee brace was fundamental in allowing me to get up and about before surgery which in turn allowed me to put weight on my leg and therefore exercise the calf muscle.

DonJoy TROM (Total Range of Motion) Adjuster Knee Brace

DonJoy TROM (Total Range of Motion) Adjuster Knee Brace

This is an easy-to-use post operative knee brace that allows you to adjust the range of motion with the click of a button. You don’t have to fumble with pins or awkward plastic coverings. The telescoping function then allows you to adjust the length of the composite structural stays to a customized length for optimal protection and comfort. In pre-surgery I kept the range of motion setting at zero degrees thus ensuring my leg was kept straight. However, post-surgery the degree of mobilization can be changed thus allowing the knee to bend and the brace can be a great support when transitioning from ACL surgery recovery to undertaking normal activities again. What better way to take your first few ski runs after surgery knowing that your leg is supported and the knee protected from repeat injury?

DonJoy TROM Adjustment Mechanism

DonJoy TROM Adjustment Mechanism

Clearly there are many competing products on the market but this is the hinged knee brace that was recommended to me by my surgeon and I certainly only have good things to say for it.

There are normally two phases of brace use about which you would want to consult with your surgeon – the immediate post-surgery phase and then rehabilitation. Recommended use does vary by surgeon and, in my case, I used the hinged knee brace pre-surgery, not in immediate post-surgery, but then in rehabilitation as a support when I returned to my normal activities. This latter use may have been more of a mental crutch than a physical necessity but all the same it helped me on the road to recovery. However, independent studies indicate the hinged knee brace being much more than a mental crutch.

A study (“The role of functional bracing in preventing injury in ACL reconstructed professional skiers: A prospective cohort study”. Farley TD, Sterett WI, et al. AOSSM Specialty Day Meeting, March 13, 2004, San Franciso, CA) presented at the 2004 meeting of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine showed that of professional skiers who have had ACL reconstructions, those who wore braces when they returned to skiing were 2.74 times less likely to injure their knee than those who did not wear braces. This effect was even more pronounced in women: female skiers were 3.4 times more likely to injure their knee again if they did not wear a brace.

The hinged knee brace was one critical piece of equipment on the road to ACL surgery recovery, the Aircast Cryo/Cuff Cooler was the other.

AirCast Cryo Cuff/Cooler

AirCast Cryo Cuff/Cooler

We already spoke about the importance of RICE in recovery, well the IC is provided by the Aircast Cryo/Cuff Cooler. Bags of frozen peas can get you so far (without the compression) but in a difficult to sustain manner. When loaded with ice and water the cooler feeds the cuff which sits neatly around the knee and simultaneously compresses and ices the joint. The cooler is then disconnected and the cuff left in place. Once the iciness in the cuff has subsided (normally after 15 minutes or so) the cuff can be reconnected to the cooler and the slightly warmer water fed back and mixed with the ice/water mix. I found that a single fill of water and ice would recycle all day long thus providing sustainable ice and compression to the knee.