Which Knee Brace Should I Get?
A knee brace can help support injured ligaments, muscles and tendons to help you heal faster. But with so many options available, it can be hard to figure out which one will be best for your injury. We break it down for you in this blog post.
Every injury is different.
First, it’s important to realize that everyone has their own personal preference and comfort level. Everyone has different lifestyles. You should keep this in mind when choosing a brace.
That being said, there are different types of knee braces that typically work for specific injuries. This guide will point you in the right direction.
Types of Injuries
It’s good to get an assessment from your doctor before buying a knee brace - you can’t treat the problem effectively until you know what the problem is. Your doctor will be able to tell you if it’s:
- An overuse injury or strain, which usually involves muscles and tendons
- A sprain, which usually involves torn or stretched ligaments
- Arthritis, or inflammation in the joint
- A broken or dislocated bone
All of these injuries require different treatments because they heal differently.
What’s Your Goal?
Knee braces can offer compression, joint stability, kneecap (patella) alignment, immobilization, pressure and protection. It’s helpful to decide what you’re hoping to get from your knee brace before you buy one. Once you know what you need, it’s easier to know which style will work for you. Your doctor will tell you if your knee joint is unstable due to a tear, if your patella is not aligned, if you need to keep your knee from bending altogether, or something else.
Types of Knee Braces
Once you know what your injury is and what will help your injury heal, you can decide on the type of brace you need.
Compression Sleeves provide a low level of support to the knee joint. They are primarily used for those with mild knee pain, and athletes who want to improve their performance. Compression sleeves increase blood flow through the knee, which can help reduce swelling and inflammation from minor knee injuries. They are made of thin, stretchy material and fit easily under clothes. Sometimes they have flexible stays built in, or a soft ring around the patella to provide extra support and stability for the joint and kneecap.
See All Compression Sleeves
Patella Straps are low-profile bands that reduce tension that causes patellar tendonitis and pain in your kneecap. These are great for athletes. Patella straps usually provide immediate pain relief and they can be used while running or playing sports.
See All Patella Straps
Patella Stabilizers keep your kneecap in place if it’s moving out of alignment when you bend your knee. When your knee is working properly, your kneecap glides in a straight line in what’s called the trochlear groove. Injuries from sports, overuse or trauma can cause the kneecap to move off this groove. The kneecap usually shifts to the outside of the leg, but it can also move towards the inside. A patella stabilizer will keep your kneecap in the right place when you bend your leg while supporting your knee to help it heal.
See All Patella Stabilizers
Hinged Knee Braces are best for those with mild to moderate ligament injuries, instability from previous injuries or surgery, or arthritis. They have rigid stays that hinge at the knee joint, and they also usually provide a low level of compression. They are more bulky than a simple sleeve, but they are usually quite comfortable. They can be made of soft, stretchy material which tends to generate warmth.
See All Hinged Knee Braces
Immobilization Braces simply prevent your knee from moving at all. They usually have long rigid stays that run from the top to the bottom of the brace, preventing your knee from bending. They’re usually very bulky but they’re effective. They are often used as an alternative to casting.
See All Knee Immobilizers
Unloader Knee Braces for Osteoarthritis are best for those with osteoarthritis affecting one side of the knee joint. These braces transfer weight and pressure from the affected side to the healthy side of the joint. This significantly decreases knee pain.
See All OA Knee Braces
Post-Op Braces restrict your knee movement after surgery. They usually have ROM (range of motion) hinges which you can set to allow more movement as your knee heals. These knee braces are extremely useful if you want to heal from surgery as quickly as possible.
See All Post-Op Braces
Once you’ve determined which kind of knee brace you need, you can check out our selection! We have every kind of OTC knee brace available. If you have any questions, please reach out to us by email or live chat to talk with one of our knee brace experts!