Knee pain and injuries affect more than one-third of adults in America today; making knee braces a popular and necessary product for many people. Knee braces provide essential support to an injured or healing knee joint, with some braces featuring a special design for severe injuries. Additionally, braces can prevent future injuries to weak joints, especially in athletes participating in contact sports.
Braces are often recommended by medical professionals as one possible solution for knee pain, which allows you to become active again without fear of re-injuring the knee.
At first glance, most braces may appear almost identical, but there are actually significant differences among brace types and brands. If you have recently suffered an injury or are experiencing pain for the first time, the range of options may appear overwhelming. We have compared the features and styles of various knee braces to identify the top performers. In this guide, we offer some tips for choosing knee braces and highlight the features of the 10 best knee braces on the market.
General tips for choosing knee braces:
• Consider your activity level and sports participation to determine the best material and fit.
• Make sure the brace is adjustable for your knee size, as initial inflammation and swelling can impact the circumference of your joint.
• Ensure that the brace protects the weakest area of your knee.
• Choose a brace that is designed for your severity of pain or injury, to ensure that it provides sufficient support with being overly bulky.
Here’s our list of the Best Knee Braces for 2018
The Bracoo Knee Brace is a very popular choice for consumers, featuring 3 customizable Velcro straps and a strong, flexible sleeve composed of Neoprene. The strapping on this brace is unique, as the three straps can be attached to a range of points on the brace exterior, which provides support in the areas where it is most needed. It also features a padded interior and a reinforced stabilizer ring, which prevents slippage and distributes pressure across the entire knee surface. This brace is very durable, making it ideal for individuals recovering from surgeries and knee injuries, as well as for preventing a second injury during heavy exercise.
A definite best-seller, the Winzone Knee Brace is a slide-on sleeve with two adjustable straps for a tight fit. It provides moderate-to-strong support, and it is ideal for Meniscus and ACL tears, as well as for relieving chronic pain. The one size of this brace fits almost all knee circumferences, and it slides off and on easily. Although the strap locations aren’t customizable, the sleek design makes it less bulky and easier to wear under pants and jeans.
Composed of a neoprene-polyester blend, the EXOUS Knee Brace features a 4-way strap design that wraps the knee from all angles. The multi-way straps provide even compression around the knee, and reduce slippage during active sports. Designed with the athlete in mind, the EXOUS brace extends from the lower thigh to mid-calf. It provides special stabilization to the MCL/LCL ligaments and the patella, reducing the pain associated with Patella Tendonitis and Jumper’s Knee. The brace interior is lined with Lycra, which prevents irritation from sweating and “scrunching up” of the brace behind the knee.
This compression brace from SB SOX is lightweight, thin and breathable. It features a moisture-wicking sleeve that compresses the knee without the use of straps or Velcro. With a sleek design, this brace may not be ideal for supporting torn ligaments; rather, it provides general support to the irritated joint during active times of the day. The compression technology can stimulate blood flow for better circulation during sports, helping reduce post-activity swelling or irritation. The sleeve comes in four sizes, which ensures that it is tight and supportive to your knee.
The NeoProMedical Knee Brace features a standard Neoprene construction with three adjustable Velcro straps. The back strap allows the brace to be tightened on the backside, a feature that is useful for those with irritation around the entire knee joint. The two front straps wrap horizontally around the front of the knee, surrounding the patella. This brace is a great choice if you have a significant injury or a long period of recovery. Athletes will also appreciate that it is padded and easy to wash for repeated use.
One of the most heavy-duty knee braces on the market, the Shock Doctor 875 is ideal for major ACL/PCL ligament sprains, meniscus injuries and highly unstable knee joints. Although it is not suited for active play, it can be used to support and immobilize a ligament for healing after an injury, and may be recommended by a doctor for this purpose. The Shock Doctor is incredibly sturdy; reinforced with aluminum and a Hypalon sleeve. It has a unique X-strap design, allowing the adjustable straps to cross in the back of the knee and Velcro tightly in the front. Since it is stiffer than most other braces, the Shock Doctor is pre-formed to conform to the contour of the knee joint and comes in 6 sizes to provide a comfortable fit.
This lightweight compression sleeve from Ultra Flex Athletics is especially designed for athletes, including athletic activities that stress the knee joint heavily. The compression is even, stable, and non-slip due to a silicone grip liner inside the seams. It is composed of a super-elastic blend, with extra give in the knee cap for maximum movement. A unique feature is that the compression level on this brace can be adjusted by moving the sleeve higher on the knee for more compression, or lower on the knee for less. Although thin, this sleeve can offer light-to-moderate support for minor inflammation and injuries.
An unusual feature of the McDavid Knee Brace is a hinged design, which is controlled by a disk and sidearm on each side of the knee. The side arms feature a wide, lightweight construction that allow each hinge to independently cushion the knee joint from heavy impact. This 360 degree brace compresses the joint, reduces impact and extends well onto the leg with an extra-long sleeve. The McDavid Knee Brace is designed for a knee injury that requires a high level of support and protection.
With a distinctive gel-padded design, this compression brace from Venom Sports Fitness provides cushioning for athletes and prevents further injury when experiencing falls or heavy contact. The Venom Knee Sleeve is ideal for Runner’s Knee, Jumper’s Knee and other chronic, minor inflammations of the joint due to activity. The material is blended to create a warming effect on the knee, which often reduces signals of pain. Additionally, elastic binding on the top and bottom edges of the brace prevent slippage while active.
With a breathable design, this Perfotek Knee Brace offers moderate support without a bulky, awkward fit. It features three Velcro straps, with one extending from the backside of the knee to tighten the sleeve without pinching. The open patella allows this brace to be supportive while increasing comfort and breath-ability. It offers moderate protection and pain relief over long periods of time, without loosening over multiple occasions of wearing. This brace may be well-suited for someone who experiences chronic irritation of the joint and is lightly-active throughout the day.