Of all the joints in the human body, the knee likely takes the biggest beating over our lifetimes. Thousands of miles just walking around are compounded by knee-pounding activities such as running, backpacking and skiing. It’s a fact of life that our knees will likely wear out over time with knee scopes or even knee replacement on the agenda for many. With the latest technology trends, are there ways we can better take care of our precious knees? Are there changes in our exercise habits that can prolong the lifespan of our joints?
I have changed my running habits from pounding the pavement to pounding the dirt and have even purchased an elliptical trainer to have a no-impact workout option. Aside from a change of activity and lifestyle, are there other ways I can prolong the lifespan of my knees?
About Opedix Knee-Action™ Tights
Though they don’t claim to fix or completely prevent catastrophic knee problems, the Opedix Knee-Action Tights are a major development in proper knee alignment and overall impact reduction over time. Watching their technology in action, the natural forces placed on the knee tend to rotate the tibia inward, thus creating additional stress, wear and tear on the knees.
The goal with the Knee-Action Tights is to neutralize that inward rotation by supporting and unloading the knee to keep it tracking straight, thus significantly reducing the overall knee load over time. Independent lab tests have confirmed that the Knee-Action tights do reduce micro-movements in the knee that are known to produce osteoarthritis.
This reduction in micro-movements and improved natural knee function will reduce the overall load that the knee has to bear over time. Pounding miles upon miles of pavement, even a small reduction (Opedix says 6%) will be huge over a lifetime.
Now, apply this same technology to skiing and that’s the ski and snowboard-specific versions of the Opedix Knee-Action Tights. With moisture-wicking and extra warmth, these tights provide added support and keep the knees in a neutral position to better support the body. Here are a few highlights:
- Knee unloading technology means less wear and tear
- Comfortable compression reduces muscle fatigue
- Wicking material to allow for natural breathing
- Improved neuromuscular balance through proprioceptive support
Opedix Knee-Action Ski & Board Tights Review
On the outside, the Opedix Knee-Action Tights appear to be just thicker versions of the spandex tights worn by athletes for years. But, after further inspection you’ll notice the supportive bands running from the hip, around the knee and down to the ankle. The supportive material is like an exoskeleton with only a small amount of give to it–just enough so as not to restrict blood flow yet still provide proper support. Material elsewhere is soft and stretchy.
Trying them on, it does take a bit of extra effort to get them situated just right. The key is getting the lower legs positioned correctly so that the knees are in the center of the oval knee cutouts. Once in place, pulling them up and securing them snugly at the waist is simple.
The support provided by the Knee-Action Tights is immediately felt. I could feel a reduction in knee pressure right off the bat. It feels as if your knee joint is now finally pivoting on a well-greased surface. The pressure exerted by the supportive bands is very noticeable and does feel different from your standard tights. I liked the support and I could tell that my knees just felt more smooth.
Skiing with them did bring out some design flaws that I must point out. To get the best boot fit, I always pull my base layers above the boot cuff. I don’t want anything between my boot and my leg except for my ultrathin Smartwool ski socks. Nothing is worse than a stitched seam, or a leg cuff pressing against my shin all day long.
As a result, pulling the Opedix Tights up above my boot cuff seemed to reduce the effectiveness of the knee unloading action. The once-tight bands were now a bit looser and not so supportive below the knee. I don’t know if they could be shortened by a few inches and still provide the right support or not.
Another complaint is more of a guy thing–there’s no fly in the front. The process for relieving yourself is a bit of a chore that becomes annoying over a day on the hill. Again, women are used to this, but us guys… we get lazy and like to use our flys–especially on the hill.
The Bottom Line on the Opedix Ski Tights
I really think the Opedix Knee-Action Ski and Board Tights are a great idea. The technology behind them is awesome and I know my knees are happier with them on. However, I think the length needs to be shortened for those of us who prefer not to tuck anything into our ski boots. Simply pushing them up above my boot cuff seemed to reduce their effectiveness. There’s no doubt that the technology works. But unless they can re-tool the leg length, the Knee-Action tights may be better running tights than ski tights.
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