Decoding Knee Braces and Supports: How to Choose the Right One

Miss Charlotte Barker
MSK Associate
Published at: 16/12/2023

Decoding Knee Braces and Supports: How to Choose the Right One


Knee braces and supports are vital tools in managing various knee-related issues, from minor sprains to post-operative care. This article aims to guide patients through the selection process, ensuring they make an informed decision tailored to their specific needs.

Understanding Knee Braces

Knee braces come in several types, each designed for different purposes:

  1. Prophylactic Braces: Designed for athletes to prevent injuries during sports.
  2. Functional Braces: These provide support to knees that have already been injured.
  3. Rehabilitative Braces: Used post-surgery or after a serious injury to limit potentially harmful movement while allowing for gradual healing.
  4. Unloader/Offloader Braces: Specifically designed for arthritis patients, these braces relieve pain by shifting stress away from the affected knee joint area.

Factors to Consider

When choosing a knee brace, consider the following:

  1. Purpose: Is the brace for injury prevention, post-operative care, or arthritis management?
  2. Fit and Comfort: A properly fitting brace is crucial. It should be snug but not too tight, allowing for comfortable movement.
  3. Activity Level: Your daily activities and sports participation level will dictate the type of brace needed.
  4. Severity of Condition: More severe conditions may require a sturdier, more supportive brace.
  5. Advice from Healthcare Professionals: Always consult with a healthcare professional, like an orthopaedic surgeon or physiotherapist, to recommend the most suitable brace.

Types of Knee Braces

  1. Sleeves: Provide basic support and are best for minor pain and sprains.
  2. Wraparounds or Dual-Wrap Braces: Offer more support than sleeves and are adjustable for a custom fit.
  3. Hinged Braces: Ideal for post-surgery patients, providing maximum support and stabilisation.
  4. Strap Braces: Used for specific conditions like patellar tendonitis or jumper’s knee.
  5. Knee Bands: Designed to alleviate pain beneath the knee cap or around the patella.


Selecting the right knee brace is crucial for effective treatment and recovery. Consider your specific condition, consult with healthcare professionals, and ensure a proper fit. Remember, a knee brace is an aid, not a cure, and should be part of a comprehensive treatment plan that may include physical therapy, medication, or surgery.