Knee Pads: Why, When, and Which to Wear?

When we think of knee protection our minds might jump to images of kids’ knee pads, defending youngsters against nasty skateboarding falls. But there’s more to knee pads than just being the favorite accessory of the next Tony Hawk. There is a multitude of both sporting and practical applications for adult knee pads, many of which can prove to be a highly beneficial investment.

Why Wear Knee Pads?

The primary reason that you should wear knee pads is, surprise surprise, to protect your knees! But it’s important to understand why a knee protector might be essential in a scientific context.

The knees are a sensitive part of the body with very little natural protection, with the kneecap, or patella, only having a very thin layer of muscle and skin on it. This means if your knee takes any level of impact you’re at great risk of tearing that skin, damaging your muscles, or worse, breaking bones and tearing ligaments.

When to Wear Knee Pads

There are so many types of activities that can put your knees at risk of sustaining impact, ranging from extreme sports to simple gardening tasks. Any action that either requires you to spend a lot of time on your knees, or would likely result in injury if you fell to them is likely to warrant the use of knee pads.

Sports that can Require Knee Pads:

  • Rollerskating / Inline Skating
  • Skateboarding
  • Polo
  • Basketball
  • Volleyball
  • Handball
  • Cycling
  • Dancing
  • Wrestling

But it’s not all about sports, and many doctors and professionals encourage the use of knee pads for work. Manual jobs can often require you to spend extended periods of time crouching or even kneeling on hard surfaces, and over-exposure of pressure to your knees can cause Osteoarthritis. This is a condition that’s attributed to the wear and tear of the cartilage in weight-bearing joints and there are plenty of jobs that can put you at risk of developing it over time.

Jobs in which You Should Wear Knee Pads:

  • Gardening / Landscaping
  • Flooring
  • Tiling
  • Roofing
  • Carpentry / Joinery
  • Plumbing
  • Waste Management
  • Electrician Work

How to Use Knee Pads Properly – Which Should I Buy?

Protecting our knees is clearly important, but it’s also a fact that not all knee pads are created equally, and therefore, one variety won’t cover all bases. The extreme sports knee pads that you might use for any of the skating sports might not work for a game of basketball, and similarly a pair of gardening knee pads might not be the perfect choice for a roofer. It’s valuable to understand the different forms of knee pads and what they’re good for before making a purchase.

For things such as skating, skateboarding, or even polo, your best option is going to be something with a hard front side and a soft back pad for your knee to rest in. This is because the main risk is taking a fall or hit at high speed, which could knock some real damage into your knee. Having a protective plate is what will keep you safe in this situation.

Safety Knee Pads - Safety Equipment Construction Knee Pads Knee Pads for flooring

When it comes to other sports such as basketball or wrestling, you’re going to want knee pads that offer a little more flexibility, even if that means slightly less of a protective layer. Something with a soft, thick pad on the front, and a supportive back strap is perfect for these kinds of sports.

When it comes to the best knee pads for manual work, the characteristics of the pads really depend on the surfaces they’re coming into contact with. A good pair of roofing knee pads absolutely need to have good grip, because you need that added security when spending time on an angled rooftop. If you need knee pads for gardening you can probably stand to use a pair with less padded protection, but that also provides a water and dirtproof layer, so your trousers don’t get worn out by moisture and detritus.

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