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Types Of Knee Braces: Which One Is For You?

Types Of Knee Braces: Which One Is For You?
Shweta Chaubey

Dealing with knee pain or recovering from a knee injury can be challenging, but the right knee brace makes the road to recovery much easier. Whether you're an athlete recovering from a sports injury, a senior managing arthritis, or someone in between, finding the right type of knee brace can make a difference. 

 A knee brace is a medical device designed to offer support, stability, and protection to the knee joint. Some knee braces reduce swelling and prevent re-injury.  

Knee braces are a type of knee support and come in various styles. The one you need depends on the type of injury or how active you are. Talking to your doctor is essential to find the best type of knee brace. They will assess your situation and prescribe the right one for you. 

Here is what you should look for when buying a knee brace

Choosing The Right Type of Knee Braces

Different types of knee braces 

1. Prophylactic Braces 

These types of knee braces, also known as compression knee sleeves, are for injury prevention, especially during high-impact sports like football, basketball, or skiing. These knee braces support the joint and reduce the risk of ligament injuries. Athletes with a history of knee issues or those who do rigorous physical activity are often recommended prophylactic knee braces. 

Custom made braces 

Your medical professional will measure your knee and create a custom-made brace that perfectly fits your unique shape. Custom fabricated braces provide tailor-made support and protection when standard braces are not helpful. 

2. Functional Braces 

A functional knee brace is exactly what you need after knee surgery. This type of knee brace is bulky and offers strong support to the hurt ligaments and helps with healing. Functional knee braces are also effective for ligament injuries and ensure your knee doesn't move too much while it heals. 

Posterior Cruciate Ligament Braces 

These braces are used when the back part of the knee, specifically the posterior cruciate ligament, is injured. These braces give extra support to that area while it heals. They can limit movements that might strain the injured ligament, helping it get better without unnecessary stress. 

3. Hinged Braces 

These have special hinges on the sides, like doors, that let your knee bend and straighten in a controlled way. They are used when important ligaments are injured. Hinged knee braces are rigid braces that protect and heal the torn ligaments while only restricting the motions that can cause re-injury. 

4. Unloader Braces 

Unloader knee braces, also known as offloading knee braces, are ideal for managing osteoarthritis in the knee. They shift weight away from the affected area, relieve pain, and improve mobility. Unloader knee braces can greatly improve the quality of life for those with degenerative knee conditions. An offloading knee brace is prescribed to people who experience discomfort while doing daily activities.   

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, unloader knee braces are a reliable option for effective pain relief for people with osteoarthritis. 

5. Rehabilitative Knee Braces  

Rehabilitative knee braces are also known as postoperative knee braces or post-op braces. They come into play during the later part of your recovery journey. These braces offer decent support and help you regain strength and stability in your knee. They strike a balance between keeping things safe and letting you move. 

6. Patellar Stabilizing Braces 

These types of braces stabilize the kneecap and prevent it from moving too much. They are helpful if you have discomfort in the kneecap and problems with movement. Patellar stabilizing braces use straps or supports to guide the kneecap's movement and offer support where needed. 

7. Range of Motion Braces 

Think of these braces as trainers for the knee after an injury or surgery. They help the knee move in a safer range. The controlled movement prevents stiffness and helps the knee recover without further damage. Range of motion braces are used during the early stages of rehabilitation. 

8. Functional Knee Orthosis (FKO) 

Functional knee orthosis is used when the knee's stability is severely compromised. These are customized to suit the wearer's needs and offer support and control to help you move without pain or danger, especially when regular braces are insufficient. 


The purpose of a knee brace 

Before delving into the types of knee braces, it's important to assess your needs. Different types of knee braces are available to suit specific medical conditions and injuries. For instance, if you are looking for a knee brace for an ACL injury, go for a functional knee brace. Similarly, if you are looking for an osteoarthritis knee brace, choose an offloading knee brace.  

Each knee brace type serves a unique purpose, and understanding your requirements will help you narrow down the options effectively. 

The level of support needed  

The level of support you need depends on how active you are and how severe your condition is. While some injuries demand maximum support, others may benefit from a more flexible brace that allows a wider range of motion.  

A prophylactic or functional brace might suffice for an athlete seeking mild support. An unloader or rehabilitative brace could be more appropriate for daily activities or severe injury treatment. 

The comfort and fit  

Comfort is paramount, especially if you wear a knee brace for extended periods. Look for a type of knee brace with padded liners and adjustable straps for better comfort.  

Additionally, a knee brace should fit snugly, neither too tight nor too loose. If it is too tight, it will restrict the blood flow. If it is too loose, it will not offer the support it should. Go for a well-fitting knee brace that fits you well while leaving enough room for your skin to breathe. 

The material of the knee brace

The material of the brace affects breathability and durability. Choose a knee brace made from breathable and moisture-wicking materials to prevent discomfort due to sweating. 

Certain types of knee braces come with adjustable straps for customized fit and support. Go for a highly adjustable brace. If you have limited mobility, look for an easy option to put on and remove. 

The quality of the brace 

The right type of knee brace may seem expensive, but it will provide durability and quality support while your knee heals. Look for reputable brands such as Donjoy and Breg Incorporated

Where can I buy the right type of knee brace?  

HPFY has been your health and wellness partner since 2002. We offer a wide range of orthopedic supplies, including different types of knee braces. Find the right orthopedic knee brace for yourself or your loved one today.  

Always consult a healthcare provider or orthopedic specialist before making a final decision. They can provide recommend customized braces based on your medical history and needs. 


Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics, and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our reviewed content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.


HPFY Shweta Chaubey

Shweta Chaubey

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Shweta Chaubey, has been a Health Products For You contributor since 2021. An advocate-turned-writer, her desire to create meaningful and positive content has brought her to HPFY and what better than writing ...

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