Constructions workers often use knee pads.
What do tile layers, carpetinstallers, military personnel, volleyball players, basketball players, cyclists and dancers have in common? They all have the need for knee pads. Many more careers could be listed here, proving that those who must spend an extended amount of time on their knees should wear knee pads.
The purpose of knee pads is to protect the thin layer of cartilage and tissue called the meniscus and the patella, or kneecap, while kneeling. Knee pads also guard the knee against abrasions such as might occur during contact sports.
Knee pads work in more than one way, although they serve the same purpose. One type of knee pad functions much like a bonnet for the knee. The pad is tied or buckled in the back of the knee area, with the front of the knee area covered with a protective padding. It resembles a hat over the kneecap. Other knee pads function the way a cuff or glove does. The pad slides over the foot and up the leg, stopping at the knee area. There is padding all the way around the the leg, protecting the knee bend as well as the kneecap.
Knee pads help slow down the “wearing down” process in those who do more than everyday activities involving the knee. The kneecap itself is only 2 inches across and 1¼ inches thick. Even during normal activity, over a lifetime, the knees wear down. With kneeling, we exacerbate the wear and tear on our kneecaps.
Wearing knee pads when engaged in activities that overwork the kneecap can reduce the occurrence of injuries such as bursitis, which is the inflammation of small fluid sacs that cushion and lubricate the knee; tendinitis or tendinosis, caused by inflammation of or small tears to tendons; pica syndrome, when knee ligaments become thickened or unnaturally folded; patellofemoral pain syndrome, indicated by pain in the front of the knee related to the kneecap; or tears of the meniscus, the rubbery cushions that protect the knee joints. These injuries are serious. Some, such as a torn meniscus, may require surgery.
There are cloth and foam knee pads that slide on like cuffs. These protect against bumps, bruises and friction burns such as those that can be experienced during sports. There are some cuff-like knee pads that are designed for less abrasive environments such as gardening. Rubber knee pads help while working on flooring projects such as tile setting. Some designs of knee pads work well with sports such as paintball or baseball as they cover the knee calf and even some of the lower thigh for full protection. Gel knee pads have become very popular as they are both protective and comfortable. They generally strap on, which can make them versatile. They can be worn under clothing or on top. There are pants that have knee pads built in. There are also environmentally safe knee pads that are designed to leave less of your imprint on the Earth after you’ve knelt there.