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Best Knee Braces For Running in 2022

 

Knee injuries can be painful to cope with if you don’t have the proper equipment or support.

One of the most recommended supports for your knees is a knee brace. Not all knee braces are created equal, and each type has its own level of usefulness and intended functionality.

To find the best knee braces for running, you need to know what kinds of braces are out there, and what their intended uses are.

We’re going to show you a variety of knee braces organized by the type of problem they alleviate.

The top knee brace we recommend for general support is the ZAMST JK-1. It has an open-patella design, uses Velcro fasteners for a customizable fit, and can be used for multiple activities as it doesn’t limit your range of motion.

Keep reading to find more general support knee braces, as well as others designed for more specific supportive purposes.

Top 4 Best and Favorites

 

Zamst JK-1

 

  • Provides a customized fit
  • Highly adjustable
  • Very lightweight
Check Price

 

OS1st KS7 Knee Sleeve

 

  • Uses gel system to reduce slipping
  • Made of high-quality micro-nylon and spandex
  • Offers seven zones of compression
Check Price

 

Pro-Tec IT Band Compression Wrap

 

  • Reduces rubbing and irritation
  • Treats iliotibial band syndrome
  • Reduces strain to outside of knee
Check Price

 

McDavid True Ice Therapy Knee Wrap

 

  • Ideal for sprained knees or legs
  • Easy to wear and fill
  • Has durable straps for customized fit
Check Price

General Knee Support Braces

Best Overall

1. ZAMST JK-1

This knee brace has great support thanks to a variety of handy features. It’s also fairly compact, which means it’s easy to wear with shorts but also under other types of pants.

What We Like

The ZAMST JK-1 is a high-quality knee brace that provides excellent support while staying comfortable and allowing you to have good range of motion.

It uses V-tech material which is breathable and moisture-wicking, making it easy to wear in any weather. The open-patella design offers plenty of flexibility, providing both solid support and an easy-to-wear style.

The brace uses i-Fit technology for a comfortable fit. A Velcro under-knee strap is adjustable to allow for a perfect fit right where you need it most.

Its unusual design includes a P-Tech patellar pad, which goes under the knee and provides compression and support right underneath the patella. This helps to reduce pressure on the patellar tendon as well.

In addition to great support, this knee brace allows for near full range of motion, thanks to a ROM-Tech pre-curved design. This contours very well to your knee joint, which means there’s less stretch and restriction when you move.

The variety of features makes this knee brace excellent for a wide range of applications, including running, cross-training, and even wearing at work underneath normal pants.

When ordering, note that the EU/US and Asian models of these knee braces are slightly different in size – it can be easy to accidentally order the wrong one.

Why We Like It

This knee brace is compact but offers an extensive amount of support for painful or unstable knees. It’s versatile enough to be worn in multiple situations.

PROS:

  • Open-patella design stabilizes and supports the knee
  • Great for running and cross-training as it doesn’t limit your range of motion
  • Breathable, moisture-wicking material
  • Adjustable Velcro fasteners for customized and comfortable fit

CONS:

  • The EU/US and Asian models are slightly different sizes so you need to make sure you get the right one
 

Top Compression Sleeve

2. Pro-Tec X Factor

If you need a supportive knee brace that also includes compression to speed up healing, the Pro-Tec X Factor is an excellent choice.

What We Like

This knee brace is a little bulkier than the first one, but it offers both exceptional stability and compression.

It’s a two-layer brace, made with breathable neoprene that helps to provide ventilation to keep you cool in the heat but also warm in the cold.

The slight stretch in the material, the wrap-around design, and an adjustable Velcro strap allow you to get a great custom fit, which also helps to get the exact right amount of compression you need.

It’s open both at the patella and behind the knee, which gives you a greater range of motion when walking or sitting.

For additional stability, there are spiral stays on both the medial and the lateral side. An infrapatellar buttress—patellar pad—offers excellent support for the knee joint.

Universal sizing may make the true sizing a little less accurate and your knee brace may be a little less fitted.

Why We Like It

This knee brace provides excellent support as well as compression that can be adjusted with Velcro.

PROS:

  • Breathable, neoprene layer provides compressive support and warmth
  • Infrapatellar buttress stabilizes the knee joint
  • Velcro straps allow you to adjust the compression
  • Offers a great blend of support and comfort

CONS:

  • The universal sizing may mean that sizing is a little less accurate
 

Best for Working Out

3. Bauerfeind Sports Knee Support

Athletes will appreciate the design of this knee brace, which is fully supportive while still allowing you to move with comfort and freedom.

What We Like

Designed specifically for sports, the Bauerfeind Sports Academy knee support brace serves to protect the knee as well as to provide compression to help the knee heal quicker.

It’s a closed-patella design but features an anatomical, patella-contouring pad that fits around the kneecap to provide solid support. It also helps to distribute pressure differently so that the tendons and kneecap are under less strain.

This brace is made of breathable, stretchy 3D Airknit material. It’s lightweight, comfortable to wear, moisture-wicking, breathable, and washable.

The in-built technology also provides graduated medical-grade compression, light in some places and medium in others.

It helps to promote circulation in the area, which will speed up healing, as well as improving proprioception, which is the awareness of where your muscles and limbs are around you and how to use them most effectively for your sport.

But the compression also helps to hold the muscles firmly in place so that they’re less affected by vibrations as you go through your sporting activity.

Keep in mind that some people may find that the silicone strips cause skin irritation, as some people can develop an allergy to it.

Why We Like It

This knee brace is a terrific choice for those who need a knee brace they can use while playing sports. It’s sturdy and supportive but still offers great flexibility. It also comes in sizes from extra-small to extra-large.

PROS:

  • Breathable, stretchy knit fabric moves with you
  • Graduated compression applies light to medium pressure
  • Contoured padding cushions and supports the knee
  • Silicone strips keep the brace in place

CONS:

  • Some may find that the silicone strips cause skin irritation
 

Top for Post-ACL Surgery

4. McDavid Knee Brace w/ Polycentric Hinges & Cross Straps

After ACL surgery, you need a brace that’s sturdy and extremely supportive, but also comfortable enough to wear for long stretches at a time. The McDavid Knee Brace with Polycentric Hinges & Cross Straps is a perfect choice.

What We Like

This knee brace is designed to keep the knee in position, relieve strain on the joint, and help you heal faster after surgery. It can also be used for everyday use, it’s not limited to post-surgery applications.

Polycentric hinges on either side of the knee provide excellent stability of the joint. They both support the knee and guide it in its range of motion. There’s also a hyper-extension stop lock, which prevents you from moving your knee out of its range of motion and causing damage.

It features a 360-degree padded buttress around the kneecap, with an open-patella design that allows for comfort, breathability, and a full range of motion without stiffness.

Made of latex-free neoprene, the brace offers some compression as well. This is reinforced by a cross-strap design that allows you to get a comfortable fit with as little or as much compression as you need.

These cross straps also increase the support, especially of the ligaments in the knee and they also help to prevent unnecessary rotational movement.

You can wear it on both the left and right knee, and it’s suitable for everyday use as well as using while playing sports. It has an easy pull-on design.

However, this knee brace comes with a higher price tag than most of the others on this list, although the support it provides does make it worthwhile.

Why We Like It

This is a robust and supportive knee brace that protects the knee and keeps it in the correct position to facilitate faster healing.

PROS:

  • Geared bilateral hinges help stabilize and reduce pressure on the knee
  • Stitched-in patellar buttress encourages natural patellar tracking
  • Cross-strap design provides comfortable compression
  • Pull-on design is easy to put on and take off

CONS:

  • This knee brace is somewhat more expensive than others
 

Knee Compression Sleeves

Top Knee Sleeve

5. OS1ST KS7 Performance Knee Sleeve

This knee sleeve has a minimalist design that fits underneath most clothing comfortably. It has great compression and a high level of comfort.

What We Like

This knee sleeve offers medical-grade compression in 7 distinct zones for the highest level of effectiveness.

The top, bottom, and center of the sleeve features light compression. Just above the bottom and below the top edge are zones of moderate compression, and the sections just above and below the knees use firm compression to support the kneecap.

Although it offers significant compression, the material is lightweight and comfortable. There are hypoallergenic silicone beads on either end to keep it in place.

When choosing a size, it runs slightly small. It may be a little difficult to pull it on due to the compression.

Why We Like It

This knee sleeve is unobtrusive and easy to wear, as well as provides good compression throughout the day.

PROS:

  • Lightweight, breathable material applies consistent compression
  • Hypo-allergenic silicone beads keep the sleeve in place
  • Maintains its shape and fit over time
  • Minimalist design is easy to wear underneath clothing

CONS:

  • This knee sleeve runs slightly small and it may be difficult to pull it on
 

Best for Runners Knee

6. CEP Compression Knee Brace

Runner’s knee affects the kneecap, but the CEP Compression Knee Brace is sleek and effective at providing support.

What We Like

With a compression level of 15 to 20 mmHg, this knee sleeve holds the patella in place to prevent pain and discomfort. It also helps to promote circulation, reducing swelling.

The low-profile sleeve is designed with a 3D anatomical fit, which contours to the knee and provides stabilizing support. Soft, stretchy material hugs your knee but also flexes and stretches as you move.

There’s a silicone band at the top of the sleeve, to stop it from slipping down as you’re moving. However, there’s no silicone band on the bottom edge of the knee sleeve, which means it has the potential to roll upwards as you move.

Why We Like It

This knee sleeve helps to keep the patella safe and stable, reducing the effects of runner’s knee and speeding up healing.

PROS:

  • 3D anatomical, low-profile design offers all day comfort
  • Soft, stretchy fabric is flexible and moves with you
  • No-slip silicone prevents the brace from sliding down
  • Great for daily use and for recovery after a workout

CONS:

  • There is no silicone strip on the bottom edge of the sleeve
 

Top for Recovery

7. CW-X Stabilyx Knee Joint Support Sleeve

The CW-X Stabilyx Knee Joint Support Sleeve offers firm but comfortable support and compression, making it ideal for wearing during recovery periods.

What We Like

This knee sleeve is designed to provide effective compression in order to stimulate circulation, which helps the muscles and joints heal faster during recovery.

An Exo-Web support panel offers stability in multiple planes, with compression targeted in the front of the knee for the best support of the patella.

Although it’s a closed-patella design, the lightweight material is flexible and allows for a good range of movement. It’s also breathable and moisture-wicking, making it very comfortable to wear.

For extra comfort, the sleeve features flat seams, so there’s no chance of chafing. Interestingly, it also has built-in UV protection, so you’re safe all-round when you wear this, even with shorts.

However, there’s no sticky grip on this sleeve, which could make it fall down although it’s likely to be less of a problem when used for recovery and not for running.

Why We Like It

This compressive yet soft and comfortable knee sleeve is the perfect choice for recovery, both protecting and comforting the knee joint.

PROS:

  • Exo-Web support panel provides multi-directional support and stability
  • Evenly distributes pressure around the knee area without feeling constricted
  • Flat seam construction prevents skin irritation and chafing
  • Breathable, lightweight, moisture-wicking material

CONS:

  • There is no grip on this sleeve, so it may fall down
 

Best for Arthritis

8. McDavid Hyperblend Knee Sleeve

Those looking for relief from knee arthritis will appreciate the McDavid Hyperblend Knee Sleeve. It’s low-profile and easy to wear with almost any clothing.

What We Like

This knee sleeve is light and low-profile, making it perfect for wearing during almost any activity. Whether you want to play sports safely and pain-free or you want to use it exclusively for recovery, it’s a great choice.

It’s made of a blend of neoprene and knit material to offer the best combination of comfort and compression.

It has a pre-curved design to contour to your leg. There’s a spandex mesh panel behind the knee for improved flexibility as well.

If you’ve been diagnosed with arthritis, this knee sleeve may also be eligible for HSA reimbursement.

One thing to note is that it may bunch up a little behind the knee if you are doing an activity that requires a lot of knee movement or bending.

Why We Like It

The McDavid Hyperblend Knee Sleeve is lightweight, comfortable, and suitable to be worn all day. It offers excellent support and protection for arthritic knee joints.

PROS:

  • Pre-curved design contours to the shape of your knee
  • Mesh panel enhances breathability and allows for comfortable flex
  • Provides stability and even compression for knee
  • Low-profile design that can be worn comfortably throughout the day

CONS:

  • It may bunch up behind the knee
 

Top Non-Slip

9. Zensah Compression Knee Sleeve

The design of this knee sleeve should prevent any slipping, which makes it much more comfortable and convenient.

What We Like

This Zensah Compression Knee Sleeve is a good size, providing more than enough coverage of the knee, which helps it to stay in position.

Additionally, it has a no-slip silicone gripper consisting of little sticky beads on the upper edge, helping it to stay in position thanks to friction, without irritating or chafing the skin. The seamless design also helps to improve comfort.

The material is moisture-wicking, so you should be able to wear it in all weather quite comfortably without it becoming soaked in sweat.

It offers targeted compression for improved circulation, while still allowing you to move through your full range of motion comfortably and easily.

However, there are no non-slip grippers on the bottom half, so there’s a chance of the lower edge rolling upwards.

Why We Like It

This knee brace is extremely comfortable and has a non-slip design, keeping it easily in place once you’ve got it in the right position.

PROS:

  • Targeted compression delivers even and firm compression
  • Silicone grips prevents the sleeve from slipping down during an activity
  • Seamless design enhances comfort and prevents skin irritation
  • Moisture-wicking material keeps you dry during activities

CONS:

  • The lower edge may roll upwards as it has no grippers
 

Best Gel Knee Brace

10. Pro-Tec Gel Force Knee Support

Gel provides exceptional comfort and shock absorption, so we highly recommend the Pro-Tec Gel Force Knee Support brace.

What We Like

There’s a thick, stabilizing gel pad surrounding the patella, absorbing shock on every step and holding the kneecap safely in place.

For even better stability, the brace has spiral stays both inside and outside. This helps to prevent the knee from moving outside of its natural range of motion.

Lightweight, breathable, multi-directional fabric makes wearing this an extremely comfortable experience although some have found it’s not as durable as it should be.

Why We Like It

This ergonomic knee sleeve features a comfortable and shock-absorbing gel buttress, which keeps the kneecap perfectly in place.

PROS:

  • Thick gel buttress reduces pressure and stabilizes the knee
  • Multi-directional stretch fabric offers even and supportive compression
  • Spiral stays on inside and outside enhance stability without restricting movement
  • Ergonomic design molds to the shape of your knee

CONS:

  • This knee sleeve isn’t as durable as some others
 

IT Band Knee Braces

Best Overall for IT Band

11. Pro-Tec IT Band Compression Wrap

If you have problems with your IT band, this compression wrap should help to stabilize the tendon and reduce your pain.

What We Like

This unassuming little band is highly effective at alleviating the pain associated with iliotibial band syndrome.

It uses an EVA foam pad to provide targeted compression to the iliotibial tract, stabilizing it and reducing muscle vibrations as you walk.

It’s just 2 inches wide, so you can wear it easily underneath any clothing. The neoprene material is comfortable and it also has non-slip backing, to prevent it sliding around and losing its optimal position.

Due to its position above the knee, it doesn’t interfere at all with your range of motion.

However, although it advertises itself as a one-size-fits-all size, it actually runs on the small size and those with larger upper legs may find that it’s too tight.

Why We Like It

This strap is extremely easy to use and low-profile. It’s lightweight and comfortable, and reduces pain in the IT band effectively.

PROS:

  • Targeted compression reduces pressure and stabilizes the Iliotibial tract
  • Heat-sealed EVA foam pad is comfortable on the skin
  • Lightweight, unrestrictive, and offers excellent support
  • Allows for a natural range of motion

CONS:

  • One-size-fits-all sizing may be too small for larger legs
 

Top Runner-Up for IT Band

12. OS1ST IT3 Performance ITB Sleeve

Another low-profile, easy-to-use IT band, the OS1ST IT3 Performance ITB Sleeve is an excellent choice for those who need relief from ITB pain.

What We Like

This IT band is easy to use and you’ll hardly notice it when you’re wearing it. However, it does help to relieve pain associated with ITB syndrome, so you should see a noticeable improvement in your pain levels.

Its low-profile design makes it easy to wear underneath almost all types of clothing. As it’s very slim and comfortable, you can wear it for long periods of time without discomfort.

It’s easy to slip on and off whenever you need, and it has a hypoallergenic gel on the inside to help it stay in place.

There are 3 graduated compression zones for the best effect on your ITB and muscles. It both supports and protects.

However, it runs a little small so if you want slightly less compression, you should order a size larger than your regular size.

Why We Like It

This ITB brace is very easy to use and can be worn for hours at a time without discomfort while relieving ITB pain.

PROS:

  • Graduated compression zones provide support to all the right areas
  • Can be worn throughout the day for continuous support
  • Hypoallergenic gel keeps the sleeve in place as you run
  • Provides excellent support for ITBS and Upper Lateral Knee Stress

CONS:

  • This band runs a little small
 

Patellar Tendonitis Knee Brace

Best Patellar Tendonitis Knee Band

13. Pro-Tec Patellar Tendon Strap

This handy little knee band provides excellent support for the patella, providing all the protection you need against patellar tendonitis.

What We Like

The Pro-Tec Patellar Tendon Strap is designed to be placed just below the kneecap. It’s made of neoprene, wrapped over a rubber tubing which helps to provide compression and keep the kneecap tracking in the right place.

You can adjust the tightness and compression with the easy Velcro strap. It also helps to reduce shock every time you take a step, which protects the patella.

Of note, this band runs quite small and you may need to order a larger size if you want a comfortable fit.

Why We Like It

It’s simple, easy to use, and highly effective for supporting the kneecap and keeping it tracking in the correct position.

PROS:

  • Provides comfortable, even pressure to reduce pressure and relieve irritation
  • Hook-and-loop closure allows you to adjust compression and fit
  • Encourages natural patella tracking
  • Absorbs and reduces shock and vibration to the femoral groove

CONS:

  • It runs small and you may need to size up
 

Top Runner-Up for Patellar Tendonitis

14. OS1ST PS3 Performance Patella Sleeve

This patellar tendon strap is low-profile and not bulky at all, allowing you to wear it for long periods of time while getting relief from pain and aligning your joint correctly.

What We Like

This patella brace is made of nylon, which is good news for those who are allergic to neoprene. It’s stretchy and easy to slip on and place in the right position, where it provides subtle but effective support for the patella.

Compression Zone technology creates medical-grade support right where you need it, and it’s thin enough to wear underneath your pants.

The nylon is treated with silver ions, which help to wick away moisture and prevent odor-causing bacteria from forming.

It’s recommended that you hand wash and air dry this patella sleeve for the best durability.

However, there’s no way to adjust the tightness or compression on this patellar sleeve.

Why We Like It

This handy, thin sleeve fits easily underneath your pants and provides support in the right places.

PROS:

  • Graduated compression zones reduce pressure on the patellar tendon
  • Silver-ion coating prevents the growth of bacteria and odors
  • Moisture-wicking material dries quickly, keeping you dry
  • Provides excellent support and stability to the patella

CONS:

  • There’s no way to tighten or adjust the compression on this sleeve
 

Post-Run Knee Recovery

Best Ice Wrap

15. Pro-Tec Ice Cold Therapy Wrap

Cold therapy can be helpful for recovery, so if you’re looking for something with both compression and cold, this is an excellent choice.

What We Like

This handy wrap-style brace is flexible and conforms to the shape of your knee, with wide straps that wrap around the knee to provide great compression.

The middle section of the wrap consists of a natural rubber bladder that can be filled with ice. This places the ice close enough to your knee to provide the benefits of cold therapy, while still protecting the knee from the adverse effects of cold.

It comes in two sizes. The small size can hold 1.5 to 2 cups of ice, while the larger size can hold up to 3 cups. You will need to choose based on strap length, to make sure it will fit your knee.

Keep in mind that this brace is bulk. You may not be able to wear it underneath long pants or while walking or exercising

Why We Like It

This brace is the ideal combination of a compressive wrap and cold therapy, making it perfect for recovery purposes.

PROS:

  • Flexible and conforms to the shape of your knee
  • Wide straps apply even compression
  • Natural rubber bladder can hold up to 3 cups of ice
  • Available in two sizes

CONS:

  • This is too bulky to wear underneath clothing or while exercising
 

Top Cold Knee Sleeve

16. Shock Doctor Ice Recovery Compression Knee Wrap

If you’re a regular cold therapy user, the Shock Doctor Ice Recovery Compression Knee Wrap is the ideal choice for you.

What We Like

This knee sleeve uses gel packs to provide cold therapy to your aching knee muscles or joints. It helps to reduce swelling and pain as well.

It has a contoured, anatomical fit for the best comfort, with adjustable straps so you can get the most comfortable and effective fit. Although it can be a little cumbersome and difficult to wrap by yourself.

3 or 4 gel packs—depending on the size—provide full ice coverage, and can be removed from their pockets so they can be frozen.

The N-Tex neoprene material features 4-way stretch, which makes it easy to get on and off, while providing comfort and compression. It weighs just 1 pound and it’s also HSA-eligible.

Why We Like It

This wrap uses gel packs to provide cold therapy, but it can also be used for heat therapy. It’s easy to use and effective.

PROS:

  • Contoured fit can accommodate a slightly bent knee
  • Removable and reusable ice packs to reduce swelling and pain
  • Adjustable straps allow you to get a snug and comfortable fit
  • Hands-free application of ice and compression

CONS:

  • This wrap can be difficult to wrap by yourself and it’s a bit cumbersome
 

Best Ice Pack Knee Sleeve

17. Hyperice Knee

This knee sleeve uses ice to provide cold therapy to your knee. Despite it being slightly bulky, it’s fairly comfortable to wear.

What We Like

The Hyperice Knee Sleeve features an Ice Cell, which is designed to hold ice and transfer the cold to your knee to help with healing. It conforms to the shape of your knee for more effective treatment.

The Ice Cell has an air release valve, which allows for more ice and more compression when you wear it. It also has a wide mouth opening, which makes it easier to get the ice in. A screw-cap closure is safe and durable and it’s also antimicrobial and has a water seal.

The hook-and-loop closure allows for you to get a good, tight compression fit around your knee. 3 mm thick neoprene insulates nicely and it’s also machine washable when you’re not using it.

However, this may only work for crushed ice or small ice pellets, and standard-sized ice blocks may not fit into it.

Why We Like It

This knee sleeve is highly effective and can be refilled with ice at any time. It’s also leak-proof and very hygienic thanks to antimicrobial treatment.

PROS:

  • Wide-mouth opening for easy filling with crushed or cubed ice
  • Air release valve helps to remove excess air
  • Ice cell has a antimicrobial coating to prevent the growth of bacteria
  • Doesn’t restrict your range of motion when you wear it

CONS:

  • Regular sized ice blocks may not fit into the pack
 
KNEE BRACE

Buyer’s Guide – Knee Braces for Running

Type of Injury

Some knee braces are designed for specific problems, so be sure to consider your type of knee injury or pain before you choose a brace.

Choosing the wrong type of brace for your injury can actually make it worse, so this is the most important step when choosing the best knee braces for running or walking.

Levels of Support

The more support a brace has, the less range of motion you’re likely to have when you wear it. Consider your injury and what kind of freedom you need when you wear it.

In most cases, the level of support you need will depend on the type and severity of your injury. However, if you need more movement in the knee, you may want to choose a brace with slightly less support but more flexibility to allow for knee movement.

Flexibility

Just like the support in a knee brace, the amount of flexibility in your knee brace depends on your type and severity of injury.

If you want light support and an increased range of motion so you can run or do cross-training, a more flexible brace is the better choice.

Durability

Choosing a high-quality knee brace will help it last longer. You will most likely have to pay a little more for a high-quality knee brace but the durability will be much better than a cheap knee brace.

Compression

Compression helps to promote blood flow to the area. It can also help to give you more freedom of movement while you’re wearing it.

Not all knee braces have compression in them, so you will need to check the brace before buying it.

Comfort

If the knee brace you choose is uncomfortable, you may end up not wearing it! Most knee braces are made of a soft material that’s also breathable and moisture-wicking, but it’s a good idea to either try it or read reviews before buying one.

Sizing

There is no universal sizing system for knee braces. Manufacturers use their own sizing systems, so you will need to check their measurements and relate it back to your own measurements in order to make sure you’re choosing the right size.

If your knee brace is too tight, it can worsen the injury, interrupt blood flow, and take longer to heal. If it’s too loose, it won’t provide the support you need.

Types of Knee Braces

Wrap-Around Knee Braces

Wrap-around knee braces provide excellent support for runners. However, they can also be bulky and a little uncomfortable.

They are designed to offer relief from mid to moderate knee pain and can help to stabilize a dislocated patella.

The wrap-around style can also be easily customized to fit almost anyone.

Compression Sleeve Knee Brace

These types of knee braces provide compression, which can help to increase blood flow, reduce pain, and speed up healing. They can be worn while running and during recovery.

Knee Straps and Bands

This kind of support is designed for specific types of knee injuries, such as patellar tendonitis and ITB pain. They are quite small and can be worn while running and while resting.

Ice Wrap Knee Braces

If you need cold therapy for your knee injury, an ice wrap knee brace could be a good solution. They are similar to wrap-around braces but have a cold element.

The majority of these types of braces use a gel pack which is removable from the brace and can be frozen. A few of them can be placed in the freezer as a whole so the entire brace becomes cold.

Hinged Knee Braces

Hinged knee braces provide a high level of support and you can get either a rigid or a soft hinged knee brace.

It’s designed to keep your knee joint in correct alignment as it heals. After a severe knee injury, you will most likely have to wear a rigid hinged knee brace, which allows your knee to be aligned and held at a comfortable angle.

Once it’s healed to an extent, you can move on to a soft-hinged knee brace, which provides less support but a higher range of motion and more comfort.

FAQs

What type of knee brace should I buy?

There are four main styles of knee brace, and each has its own uses and benefits.

Wrap-around Knee Braces

These knee braces are designed to provide relief for moderate knee pain. They can be worn while running and can also help with dislocated knee caps and support for patellar pain. Most braces in this style have a customizable fit. These braces provide the most support for runners, but are also the bulkiest.

Compression Sleeve Knee Brace

Compression knee sleeves have the same goal as a wrap-around brace: to help control and minimize knee pain. But it’s done with compression – a tight spandex-like fabric – that holds the knee in place.

These sleeves provide compression which helps reduce pain and increases blood flow to the knee. An increase in blood flow should make the knee heal faster. Compression sleeves also provide heat and increase stability.

Compression knee sleeves can be worn running, but they also work well worn after a run, or throughout the day, to encourage active recovery.

Knee Straps and Bands

Knee straps and bands are designed to support specific knee injuries, typically ITB pain and patella tendonitis (aka runner’s knee). They can be worn running or throughout the day. They are usually fairly small and can be worn underneath regular clothing.

Ice Wrap Knee Braces

These braces are a bit like the wrap-around style brace, but they come equipped with a way to make them cold. Usually, this is gel packs that can be thrown in the freezer to get ice cold. With other models, you put the entire brace in the freezer.

Either way, the purpose is to cool down the brace and provide knee pain relief (from the cold) along with support (from the brace).

Because these are heftier braces, they are best used post-run and not during a run.

Will knee braces help heal my knees?

Knee braces can help to prevent injuries or relieve some of the pain of an existing injury. There is currently no definitive proof that a knee brace or knee support can help to actively heal a knee following an injury. Putting a knee brace or support on will not magically heal your knee injury.

What the brace or support will do, however, is offer structural support to the affected knee. With the additional support, you may experience much less pain. The combination of less pain and additional support often helps the healing process along, as it removes a lot of the stress you feel in the injured knee.

I’ve got a big race coming up and my knees really hurt – should I wear a knee brace?

Athletes of any caliber, including runners, go through a lot while preparing for major races. While training or practicing, it’s not uncommon for injuries or excessive strains to occur. This makes proper support and bracing a crucial factor in preparing for your next big race.

A properly-fitting and supportive knee brace will act as a buffer for your knee, mitigating shock, injury, and other types of harm. A brace will help you to avert injuries during strenuous training regimens, and will help support and sustain an otherwise healthy, if fatigued, ligament.

Make sure that you properly rest while training and practicing as well, though. Adding a brace or support for your training will help prevent injuries and knee damage, but it is no substitute for proper rest. Make sure that you hydrate, rest, and use your brace for the ultimate training and running experience.

Ben Drew

Ben Drew

Ben is an avid road and trail runner, and has completed multiple marathons and ultras. A former running store owner, he now shares his knowledge and experience writing these articles.

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