What Is the Best Brace for Knee Pain?

Medically Reviewed on 9/20/2022
Best Brace for Knee Pain
Some knee ailments only necessitate the use of a knee brace for a portion of the day.

If you have knee discomfort, a knee brace can give you support and help alleviate your symptoms. Knee discomfort may make ordinary actions such as walking, driving, or exercising difficult and irritating. An orthopedic will give you all the information you need to identify the best technique for relieving your pain.

Today's market offers a wide range of knee braces and knee supports. Individuals might benefit from a variety of knee braces that offer a variety of stability, support, and pain alleviation.

The best brace for knee pain depends on various factors such as:

  • Age
  • Stability
  • Nature of injury
  • Underlying health conditions
  • Intensity of pain

It is advised that you consult your doctor about the best knee brace that supports your pain for the best results.

4 types of knee braces

Four types of knee braces include:

  1. Prophylactic braces:
    • Constructed of bars, hinges, and adhesive straps and are designed to protect the knee from damage that can occur during contact sports such as football, basketball, and hockey. 
    • Intended to help prevent injury to the medial collateral ligament (MCL) present on the inner side of the knee.
  2. Functional braces:
    • Used after a knee injury to give support while the knee heals. The sort of functional brace you require is decided on the nature of your injury. 
    • Intended to improve knee function when a specific ligament has been damaged and normal knee function is impaired. 
    • May be recommended for an athlete who has a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
  3. Rehabilitative knee braces:
    • Intended to limit knee movement while it heals following an injury or surgery.
    • During rehabilitation for a torn ACL, MCL, or meniscus, they can cushion wounded ligaments and regulate knee movement. 
    • Typically worn for only two to eight weeks while using crutches following an injury or surgery.
  4. Unloader braces:
    • Typically administered for people who have medial (inner) compartment knee osteoarthritis
    • By applying pressure on the thigh bone, these knee braces relieve stress from the afflicted joint. As a result, the knee is forced to bend away from the uncomfortable location.


Exercises for Knee Osteoarthritis and Joint Pain See Slideshow

Best knee braces in the market

Depending on your injury and type of pain, you may select or get a recommendation from your doctor regarding the best knee brace that suits you and which can be conveniently worn in your day-to-day life.

According to recent consumer reports and ratings, the best knee braces for pain that are available in the market include:

Winzone Knee Brace by ComfyMed

  • Features a distinct bevel. Two straps provide greater support for your knee and successfully treat most acute and chronic knee pain from strains, sprains, and tiredness. It is perfect for post-surgery recovery or preventing sports injuries.

Neenca Professional Knee Brace

  • Checks almost all of the boxes for a medical-grade knee brace. Two metal springs on each side of the knee give lateral stability, and a patella gel cushion conforms to your knee for more support. 

MaxSelf knee brace for arthritis pain 

  • Simple to wrap around and provide customized support with an open patella. It is ideal for people looking for a lightweight knee brace to use during sports that are both inexpensive and well-rated.

Bodyprox Knee Brace

  • If putting on a tight compression sleeve isn't your thing, a wraparound brace could be. Instead of depending on a size chart, the Bodyprox Knee Brace's straps may be adjusted to ensure a snug fit. Although it covers less space than sleeve braces, this wraparound brace has a comparably supportive design. Two spring stabilizers and a patella gel cushion serve to maintain the knee in place, whereas silicone strips protect the knee from slipping.  

The HG80 Hinged Knee Brace 

  • Made of breathable fabric that keeps moisture away from your skin, ensuring the brace stays securely in place. It boasts a unique hourglass design to completely fit your knee, as well as a hinge for maximum support and flexibility. It moves along with your knee and allows your leg to move freely. This is the ideal knee brace for people who have a floating kneecap or knee discomfort.

The HG80 Knee Brace 

  • Steel springs on both sides of the knee serve to keep it stabilized while enabling the joint to move naturally. This brace is composed of antimicrobial material, which helps keep the brace in place by resisting sweat. This brace is ideal for stiff, achy, or floating knees.

Mueller Sports Medicine Hinged Knee Brace

  • Front straps that are crisscrossed give compression for inflammation and pain relief, whereas side hinges help provide comfort and a readily adjustable fit. An antibacterial treatment applied to the fabrics of this arthritic knee brace avoids unwanted smells.

Donjoy Performance Bionic Knee Brace

  • Provides the highest amount of support. It has bilateral polycentric hinges to prevent lateral stresses while running, cutting, and jumping left and right. The hinges absorb energy and impact as you move, allowing you to move freely and without constraint. Use the Bionic to assist you in continuing your activities while healing from an injury and staying in the game.

How should I use knee brace?

It sounds easy, yet this is typically the most difficult aspect of learning how to use a knee brace. The below steps may help you wear and use a knee brace without much difficulty:

  • Know the right style brace:
    • The nature and severity of your injury will determine the appropriate type of knee brace for you. 
    • For minor sprains, a compression sleeve may suffice. For more severe injuries or fractures, a heavier-duty hinged brace reinforced with metal or plastic may be required. 
    • Your doctor will recommend the best brace for your injuries.
  • Use them on the affected knee:
    • To begin, roll up your trouser leg so that the brace is directly on your skin. 
    • Slip your foot into the top of the brace (the region where it expands to fit your thigh) and out through the bottom if you have a slip-on brace. 
    • Slide the brace up your leg, covering your wounded knee. If you have a wrap brace, lay the inside of the pad against your knee, and wrap the straps around it.
  • Center the brace on your kneecap:
    • The front of most braces will have a little hole to indicate which direction they should be worn. If the kneecap is visible through this opening, the brace is properly worn. 
    • This will provide the most comfort and keep the skin beneath the brace aired. Align the brace such that the opening does not encroach on or pinch your skin. 
    • If you're wondering how to keep a knee brace from slipping down, make sure the brace is snug enough that it won't slide up or down before you secure it.
  • Tighten the straps once the brace is properly situated:
    • If you have a compression sleeve with extra straps, wrap them over the rear of the brace and secure them at the front with Velcro straps to ensure a snug fit. 
    • You should be able to insert one or two fingers between your leg and the brace. If you can't, the brace should be somewhat loosened.
  • Stop the brace from slipping down by wearing the brace under other clothes:
    • Covering up your knee brace is often required in public settings such as work or school. Wear loose-fitting clothing, such as baggy jeans or sweatpants, to allow the brace to fit beneath. 
    • Always strap the brace on first; the brace will perform better if it is closer to the joint, and this will prevent it from sliding down. Athletic gear has more elasticity and is baggier, making it simpler to handle.
  • Wear shorts:
    • When you're at home, wearing shorts is the most convenient alternative. Shorts have less material to obstruct the movement of the brace while also increasing airflow to your leg.
    • Shorts are best suited for longer braces that sit higher on the leg, such as hinged functional braces.
  • Periodically remove the brace:
    • This allows your skin to breathe while also alleviating strain around your knee. When not wearing the brace, avoid putting too much weight on your damaged leg. 
    • It is preferable to wear the brace while sitting or lying down. Remove the brace before showering or swimming to avoid getting it wet. 
    • Speak with your doctor about when and how long you should leave your knee unsupported.

Should I be wearing knee braces all the time?

When it comes to your injuries, always listen to and trust your doctor. They'll tell you all you need to know about your injury, including the best methods to wear your brace, how long you'll need it for, and which motions you should avoid. 

Some knee ailments only necessitate the use of a knee brace for a portion of the day or specific activities. More serious injuries may need the use of your brace at all times.

  • We frequently see athletes and gym goers wearing a knee brace/support whenever they play or lift weights.
  • Knee braces can help protect your knee joint and prevent injuries during exercises and sports.
  • Knee braces are also used to manage pain in some cases. 

You should not use knee braces all the time unless advised by your doctor. Using knee braces all the time may increase your knee pain and may be weakening your muscles, which will prolong the injury and pain.

The objective of your knee brace is to keep your wounded leg from bending too much. Even while wearing the brace, excessive flexion or rotation of your knee might aggravate the condition. Unless otherwise directed, avoid strenuous activities such as weight lifting. Don't push yourself too hard, and stop immediately if you feel any pain or discomfort.

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Medically Reviewed on 9/20/2022
Image Source: iStock images

Knee braces for osteoarthritis: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/knee-braces/about/pac-20384791

When are knee braces helpful? https://www.piedmont.org/living-better/when-are-knee-braces-helpful

Knee Bracing: What Works? https://familydoctor.org/knee-bracing-what-works/