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Best Knee Braces for Running

Aerial view of a knee brace on an athletic male.

Overview

At some point, most runners will experience some form of knee pain or injury. Braces may aid in pain reduction and provide structural support following injury. It is important to determine which brace is appropriate based on the injury sustained.

1. Patellar Stabilizing Brace

Patellar tracking injuries or pain arises when the patella, also known as the kneecap, does not properly track in the groove of the femur, or thigh bone, leading to pain and friction. A patellar stabilizing brace is designed to help provide optimal patellar tracking. Typically these braces will have a strap, or block, to hold the patella in place as the knee moves through its range of motion.

2. Neoprene Brace

Neoprene is a stretchy material which also has the ability to insulate a joint. Neoprene braces are varied and serve multiple purposes. Some neoprene braces are simply sleeves which provide compression and retain heat. Some neoprene braces incorporate hinges or patellar stabilizers. Determining which neoprene brace is best is decided by the specific injury being treated.

3. Arthritic Knee Brace/Unloader

When arthritis develops in a joint, the joint space is diminished or compromised due to degeneration. This diminished space leads to bone-on-bone contact, which causes pain. Unloader knee braces have hinges which are specially designed to help reduce this bone-on-bone friction, thus reducing pain.

Arthritic Knee Brace Unloader

4. Knee Bands

When a runner develops pain in the patellar tendon, the region just below the kneecap, sometimes a simple knee band will help relieve the pain. Bands are straps which go around the circumference of the knee, and relieve strain and stress on the tendon, potentially decreasing pain. These bands are commonly used to treat tendinitis, runner’s knee and Osgood Schlatter’s disease.

5. Hinged Brace

Hinged knee braces are typically bigger and provide more support than a neoprene brace. These braces provide more stability and are more rigid. Hinged braces may be customized to fit an individual and are often worn after knee surgery. Some hinged braces are designed to limit range of motion at different degrees of movement, and some are adjustable, while others are standard.

Considerations

While knee braces help provide support and may help decrease pain, braces will not take the place of proper strengthening or rehabilitation for injuries. Rather, braces should be viewed as an aid, not the only solution to a problem. A qualified healthcare professional will recommend and potentially prescribe an appropriate knee brace based on a specific injury.


9 comments

  • M. Scott

    @3 I fell in love with this brace! highly recommend I have already told several people to buy this product. It works well, helped me with a bad knee.

  • Roget T32

    I bought the brace 2 weeks ago because of ACL pain. Wear it for play football and it has reduced my knee pain at least 70-80 percent. I would recommend it for anyone with ACL knee pain.

  • William

    @Soroush good question ,I was looking for the best Knee braces for sport For a long time , I have tested about 10 product, and I have my favourite one ofcourse, But my answer is to decide yourself which is the best for you needs, because the market is very large and there are many high quality knee support , and of course there is a battle between big brands to gain the customers faith.

  • Soroush Baghdadi

    What’s the best knee brace for running with a torn ACL.?

  • jay

    i have osteoarthritis on insides of my knees. I have two unloader type braces. They are worthless for running. That little strip of metal on the outside of knee, flexes too much under a running gait and my femurs bang against my tibulas resulting in great pain for days after just a short distance of “running”. Do you make such a brace with four straps and metal on both sides extending to top and bottom straps? Kinda like standard motocross motorcycle knee braces?

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