The Different Types of Knee Braces

The knee is a complicated part of our skeletal system which is made out of tendons, tissue, muscles and ligaments connecting the thigh bone called femur and the lower leg bone called tibia. It helps keep 80% of our body weight when standing which is why a lot of athletes get knee injuries and even people that don’t do sports can get a knee injury. Arthritis, muscle strains and sprains, worn-out cartilages and even postural misalignment can cause knee injuries, which is where braces come into play. Whilst the most common braces are the pull-up sleeves, there are various other types too, with the difference in their features and use being what sets them apart.

knee brace

Support Level

Basic

If you have a condition that requires very little support, a basic level brace is going to provide just that, since they are made to sit snugly around the knee. This type of knee brace is sometimes recommended for short term use such as mild sprains and strains but long-term use with mild to moderate pain is their most common use. These braces are also very cheap and easy to put on.

Advanced

These models have a hole in the front to support the kneecap and improve patellar tracking and reduce the forces coming through the knee. Advanced level braces provide a very accurate fit and compression level whilst being appropriate for both long-term and short-term use.

Elite

The best support when your knee is buckling or after you’ve had surgery will be provided by an Elite level knee brace since they have hinges that prevent the knee from hyper-extending and offer lateral stability too. Like orthopaedic braces, elite braces will provide the best support for severe knee pain and instability.

Knee Pads

For those of you who spend their time kneeling at work, it’s best that you go with knee pads as they offer the utmost protection and help relieve pain along the way.

Wrap Arounds

Style

Wrap Arounds

With the almost perfect fit, thanks to the Velcro straps, this type of knee brace makes for an easy-to-use one size fits all solution which is especially good if you have swelling coming and going. They come in a basic and advanced version with the former being ideal for tendonitis, mild knee sprains, bursitis, arthritis and cartilage irritation. The advanced version gives you moderate support for sprains and ligament tears as well as cartilage tears, runners knee, Osgood scatters, patellar tendonitis and chondromalacia patellae.

Hinged

This is the perfect solution if you have moderate to severe instability and pain, thanks to the hinges inside which help offload and support the knee joint. What makes these unique is the option to lock them at different angles of extension and flexion, which basically allows you to control the maximum degree at which your knee can bend.

Knee Straps

This is a simple, yet effective solution especially for jumpers knee but also other conditions such as runners knee, chondromalacia patellae, Osgood scatters are not excluded. A knee strap is designed to provide pressure to the patella tendon and support the kneecap as well as improve the patellar movement (tracking). They also help reduce the general anterior pain around the patella.

Pull Up

This is the simplest and most basic solution that offers support, warmth and compression when it comes to injuries that will only last for a few days. Of course, they can be utilized with ongoing injuries and conditions as well but mostly towards the end of a rehab period. There are two versions: the built-in stabiliser and the open sleeve pull up knee brace. The former has obviously stabilizers inside which provide extra support in case you have mild ligament damage and the latter has a hole in the front to reduce pressure and allow for the knee to breathe.

Magnetic Braces
As the name implies these braces come with built-in magnets inside and help relieve pain, improve healing, and promote general well-being. These are not meant to be used during pregnancy and on people with pacemakers. For more information on this please consult your healthcare professional.

Neoprene

With this material on your knees, you’ll have the most comfortable fit and if part of your knee’s healing process involves heat, with neoprene braces you will get the best heat retention possible. This brace can also reduce swelling.

ACL braces

Conditions

ACL

The two types of ACL braces are functional and prophylactic with each providing stability and protection for injuries regarding different types of knee parts. For example, the Prophylactic brace is best used to prevent and reduce the severity coming from ligamentous injuries, most commonly from the MCL (medial collateral ligament). They also protect against valgus knee stresses and previously injured knee joints from getting injured again.

Functional braces are made to provide support to knees that have already been injured either from a fall or playing sport, and they also help reduce the rotation following an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury or tear. Functional braces are used to provide support after an ACL repair surgery whilst in some cases, they are also being used to support mild to moderate MCL and PCL (posterior cruciate ligament) instability.

Arthritis

This type of brace helps reduce the forces going through the knee’s arthritic parts and they can also delay surgery, improve stability, provide support and reduce pain. Rehabilitative knee braces are made to be used post-op, while a person is rehabilitating from knee surgery or injury as they limit potential harmful movement. They can help keep a reconstructed or repaired ligament protected whilst allowing easy movements with the knee joint.