Reserch and planning
I feel it's important to talk about my journey from the beginning, since I had so many doubts. I knew from the start that my projects were ambitious, and that it's hard to get something working as I would dream of in so little time.
It's important to remember that at the start, my project is ment to help reduce the pain caused by a knee injury. By supporting a bit of the weight with inflatable robotics, and by stabilising the knee, It would be an everyday solution.
...But all ideas are ment to evolve, right?
I booked an apointment with a physiotherapist, for myself, but also to talk about solutions and elements to help ease the pain on the knee. The last thing I want is to create something that could be dangerous for an injured knee! First things first, knee injuries are unique to each individual. There is no such thing as "the most common type of knee injury" so I would like to concentrate on my particular case; I got injured when I was 16 years old, while speed skating. A stretched ligament. Ligament never fully heal, so I was at risk of hurting myself again, wich I did, a couple of years later. After this injury, the pain stayed everytime I skated, and no treatment from specialists could help me. Radio or magnetic resonance imaging could see a clear problem. Since then, I use a knee brace for sports and activities that could pu my knee at risk.
Since each injury is unique, and since we can't really see what is the problem inside, physiotherapists have to listen to their patients and their reactions. It's hard to prove that something is helping, and that we really found the source of the problem. Injuries like mine are usually due to muscle imbalance. A proof that we discover more about this topic each day: my phisiotherapist told me that we recently dicovered that most of knee injuries are actually caused by back problems. It's also hard to make a difference between something that is working and something that gives us a placebo effect. He told me that ice and heat are not prooven to help reduce the pain. It might help some people, so they still recommend patients to try it, but it might just be recomforting. It has ben prooven that ice can reduce inflamation tho, but in my case, it's not prooven that it would have any use.
What worried me the most is this (I definetly should have tought about that before): Knee brace are mostly designed for right after an injury, while you want to give it a rest, and rehabilitate it slowly. During the healing stage, the knee is delicate, and is at risk to get hurt again with a wrong movement. It's best to protect and stabilize it. Once the healing stage is complete, the knee needs to be stronger to prevent future injuries. Doing some exercices, and then using it nomally should do the trick most of the time. It's not recommended, at this stage, to use the knee brace regularly. It can be used in exeptionnal situation where there is a high risk of injury, but if a brace is worn at each workout, the knee will become lazy. Muscles will be weaker, and this could not only lead to muscles imbalence, but to another injury too.
So my knee brace simply cannot be designed for a regular use.