A knee brace is a tool that is helpful when you are experiencing knee pain. They also support and enhance knee movement for those who have a variety of knee conditions. The main feature of a great knee brace is support and protection. This makes it ideal for those who are recovering from an injury.
When you start shopping around for a knee brace, you will find that you have lots of options. You may find yourself overwhelmed. That being said, we have taken the time to learn more about knee braces and to pick what we feel are the top 5 on the market today.
Before we review our top 5 though, we’re going to look at a few of the reasons why people wear knee braces and how you can take care of them.
Reasons for Wearing a Knee Brace
There are several reasons people wear knee braces. Perhaps you are an athlete, you have recently sustained an injury, or you have a chronic condition. All of these are situations in which a knee brace can be beneficial. Below, we’ll go over five of the most common reasons that people wear knee braces.
A Knee Brace Supports Recovery from Injury
If you sustain a knee injury, your physician will more than likely recommend that you use an orthopedic recovery device. For minor injuries, you may only need to wear the knee brace for a week. If it’s a more serious injury, you may need to wear it for several months. This type of knee brace is known as a rehabilitative knee brace.
A rehabilitative brace allows you to have mobility while you are recovering and supports the weight of your knee while walking. They are designed to prevent overextension of the knee. Basically, a rehabilitative brace allows you to function but prevents you from doing anything that could cause further injury.
A Knee Brace Provides Support After Recovery
Even when you have regained full functionality after recovery, your knee may still be a bit weak. This is typical in the later stages of the healing process. It’s a good idea to keep wearing a knee brace during this time as well. This is known as a functional brace and should be worn if you had an injury within the previous 6 months.
While it’s quite common for athletes to wear these types of knee braces, it’s important for anyone that has experienced a knee injury to wear one. A functional knee brace will provide stability, protection, and support for the knee to avoid further injury. Whether you are participating in sports or you have a job that keeps you up on your feet a lot, a functional brace can help you regain strength and reduce risk of additional injury.
A Knee Brace Reduces and Prevents Swelling
Swelling often accompanies knee injuries- even minor ones. When your knee is swollen, you have an increase in pressure and pain. Swelling can cause the recovery process to be delayed- and can even prevent the injury from healing. A knee brace is better than simply wrapping it with an elastic bandage. This is known as a compression brace.
A compression brace is useful because it provides your knee with the compression you need without having to deal with a bandage wrap. Additionally, many of this type of brace include pouches that allow you to insert hot or cold packs into it. This way, you can continue with your day instead of having to sit with your knee elevated for a hot/cold therapy session.
A Knee Brace Helps with Arthritis
Arthritis in the knee is a common condition and can, at the very least, make walking uncomfortable. If you have a bad case of arthritis, you may even be unable to participate in the things that you love. A knee brace can help with this. These are known as unloader braces.
An unloader brace takes the weight of your knee and redistributes it on other parts of your leg, which means the knee is only responsible for directing your movements. An unloader brace allows you to regain your mobility so that you can participate in the activities you enjoy. If you have arthritis or you are an aging athlete, you may wish to speak with your medical provider about using an unloader brace.
A Knee Brace Prevents Injury
In some cases, a knee brace is used to prevent, rather than treat, injury. Though they are commonly used by athletes, a knee brace should be used by anyone that is engaging in a high activity task. These braces are functional or small compression braces.
They prevent the knee from being pushed too far in the wrong direction. You still have full function of your knee, it just gives you a peace of mind knowing that you’re less likely to have a serious injury if something does happen. A preventative brace keeps your knees healthy, especially during highly active tasks.
Top 5 Best Knee Brace Highlights
|TheraICE Rx Compression Knee Brace|
|Knee Wrap Pro|
Top 5 Best Knee Brace Reviews
Now that you’ve learned some of the most common reasons for wearing knee braces and how to keep them clean, let’s take a look at the top 5 best knee braces on the market today. Hopefully we can help you find one that will meet your needs.
Exo Knee Brace
If you want to know what the best knee compression sleeve on the market is, look no further- Exo Sleeve is definitely among the best. This brand has a stellar reputation because they provide a variety of high-quality knee sleeves that are effective in a variety of situations. In addition to knee sleeves, Exo also offers other fitness equipment, including resistance bands, sandbags, weight belts, and so much more.
These knee sleeves provide greater stability, warmth, and compression to reduce strain/swelling and improve blood flow.
The knee sleeves offered by Exo come in three sizes:
- 5 mm
- 7 mm
According to the experts, the 5 mm and 7 mm are perfect for those who participate in CrossFit, bodybuilding, or powerlifting and need some extra support. The light sleeve has a thickness of approximately 3 mm and is perfect for agility. It works great for those who want the benefits of a knee brace while maintaining mobility.
The Exo Sleeve costs $29 per pair and is one of the few brands that offers a variety of colors and designs.
TheraICE Rx Compression Knee Brace
|Name||TheraIce Rx Compression Knee Brace|
According to their website, TheraIce Rx Compression Sleeve will eliminate knee pain within minutes. This knee brace is quite popular, they have thousands of 5-star reviews and it’s budget-friendly, costing only $35. These knee braces use a combination of heating/cooling with compression to allow wearers to enjoy their favorite physical activities with no pain.
This knee sleeve features a built-in gel pack that will freeze when placed in the freezer and heat up when placed in the microwave. Then, once it’s frozen or heated up, you can slip it over your knee and let it sit for up to 15 minutes.
TheraIce Rx Compression Sleeve is one of the top-rated knee sleeves you will find online and has earned over $1 million in sales. This device allows wearers to enjoy the benefits of compression along with heat/cold therapies.
KneeWrap Pro is a compression sleeve that can be slipped over the knee for relief of discomfort. Just like the other sleeves on this list, KneeWrap Pro is machine-washable and it’s ideal for athletic and non-athletic uses.
KneeWrap Pro is $39 and provides a similar value compared to other knee sleeves on the list. Additionally, if you purchase multiple units, you can get them for as low as $20 each. This is a great option for anyone that is looking for a simple knee brace made of high-quality materials.
|Material||Patented, high-quality medical material|
Knee Hero is a bit more expensive than some of the other options on our list, at $65 per knee brace. This may seem like a lot, but you do get a 2-year warranty, which is something not offered by the other companies on our list.
The Knee Hero knee brace protects and supports the knee joint, kneecap, and meniscus. It’s breathable and lightweight and made with a non-slip surface, so you can be sure it will stay in place when you are working out or playing on the field.
This knee brace can be used in your daily physical activity, since it provides protection against injuries. Additionally, since it does help relieve joint pain, it can be used during the recovery process as well.
It comes in three sizes, from medium to extra large. The functionality makes it worth the higher price tag. Plus, it’s made of higher quality materials than other options on our list.
|Material||Air knit fabric|
Compressa is one of the best-selling knee braces on the market because it is a compression sleeve and a brace all in one. This means that the knee is protected, and blood circulation is improved. Therefore, muscles are loosened and recovery time after an injury is improved, in addition to a variety of other capabilities. It also reduces pain and inflammation with heat and cold therapy.
Compressa originated in Germany, and it is regularly used by runners participating in various events. It’s also helpful during sports and weightlifting activities. It’s the perfect knee brace for professionals and amateurs alike.
While the price seems higher than most, at $59.99, you actually get 3 in a package instead of just 1 or 2, so it’s actually more budget-friendly than you might think.
How to Care for Knee Braces
If you want your knee brace to last, it’s important that you take care of it. This includes making sure that it’s washed properly. After all, your knee brace is likely to get dirty and stinky, especially if you are using it when you are working out or playing on the field. It’s easy to over-complicate it- but honestly, washing your knee brace really isn’t that difficult.
If you are using a knee sleeve, most of them are labeled as machine washable. However, there are some that state they must be hand washed. Then again, maybe you just prefer not to toss them in the washer and dryer so that you can extend the life expectancy of your knee brace. Whatever the situation, we will go over a few options for washing your knee brace so it lasts as long as possible.
Prevention is Key
There is a lot more to proper handling and care of your knee brace than just washing it.
While it’s true that they do need to be washed to get the dirt and bacteria off, the truth is that if you wash them too much, they actually wear out much more quickly. Instead of washing it every time you take it off, exercise a bit of TLC.
If you are using a sleeve-style brace, turn it inside out when you take it off to allow it to air dry. Then, place it back in the box and leave it until you are ready to put it back on. This prevents bacteria and mildew from sticking to it.
Now we will get into some options for washing them.
Your knee brace is not going to disintegrate the first time you toss it in the washer, unless the detergent you are using is really strong. However, you can improve their life expectancy by not exposing them to cleaners/detergents often. Once a month should be all you need to keep the stench away. Then again, if you are using your knee brace on a daily basis, you may need to wash once a week.
Simply add no more than a teaspoon of mild detergent- baby shampoo works great- to water and place your knee brace in it. This will ensure that it gets clean without being too harsh. Once you have cleaned your knee brace, leave it out to air dry. One thing you should never do is put it in the dryer.
Let’s be honest, not many people are actually handwashing things these days. It’s a nice idea, especially for delicate items, but it’s rarely done. Also, most of the knee brace sleeves on the market are machine washable anyway. If you prefer, it should be fine to toss your sleeves in with the rest of your workout clothes. However, if you prefer to deep clean your workout clothes, you’ll want to wash your knee braces separately.
There are a few things that you can do to avoid damaging your knee braces. Place them in a garment bag and wash on delicate/gentle. Again, you should only be using a small amount of mild detergent. Once the wash cycle is complete, lay them out to air dry. Knee braces should never be placed in the dryer because that can damage them.
If your knee brace is beyond getting clean by the above methods, you may want to try boiling it. Here’s how:
- Fill pot with water and place on stove
- Turn on heat, allow water to boil
- Once water is boiling, place knee brace and let simmer for 5 minutes
- Remove from heat
- Add some mild detergent to the water and mix
- Allow to sit until cooled
- Once cooled, remove brace from pot and rinse
- Lay brace out to air dry
Soak in Vinegar
The final method for cleaning your knee braces is to soak them in vinegar. When nothing else is working, consider soaking them in vinegar. No matter how bad they are, you should never use bleach or other harsh chemicals. This can stain them and potentially ruin the compression properties.
- Combine 120 milliliters of white vinegar with 3 liters of boiling water
- Soak knee brace for 30 minutes, stirring every few minutes
- After 30 minutes, remove from vinegar solution and wash with detergent
- Turn inside out and lay out to air dry
If this doesn’t work, perhaps it’s just time to toss the knee braces out and get new ones.
Frequently Asked Questions about Top Knee Brace
There are often questions that arise regarding knee braces. We’ll take a closer look at some of the most commonly asked questions about knee braces below:
Does a knee brace help with a torn meniscus?
A knee brace is not going to heal or treat the meniscus tear directly, but it will provide support and stability while the tear heals. A good brace will take the pressure off of the meniscus and protect your knee so that it can rest. A knee brace can also be used to support recovery after surgery on a tear or during a non-surgical treatment program.
Is there a difference between a knee brace and knee sleeve?
There are some differences between the two, but in some cases, like the braces listed here, they may offer both support and compression. Here are some of the differences:
- A brace offers protection/support, a sleeve usually does not
- A sleeve is not a good option if you have injured knee ligaments because it doesn’t provide support and stability for your knee
- Knee braces are bulky and come in a variety of materials, depending on the level of support offered. Knee sleeves are not as bulky but don’t have the support of a knee brace
How long does a knee brace need to be worn?
If you need to wear a knee brace, it will depend upon the type and severity of your knee injury and how much support you need. Some people wear them all the time, based on their activity level, to prevent injury and some only wear them while they are recovering from an injury. You will need to speak with your medical provider to determine how long you need to wear your knee brace.
Can a knee brace be worn all day?
Yes, unless your medical provider gave you other instructions, you can wear your knee brace all day. Make sure that you are following recommendations from your doctor and make sure that the brace fits properly. If it does not, you risk making the condition worse.
Can you sleep with a knee brace on?
Ideally, you want to make sure your knee is kept stable while you are sleeping, so yes- you can and should sleep with your knee brace on if possible. If necessary, you can use extra pillows and cushions to keep yourself comfortable so that you can get the rest that you need.
Can a knee brace be used in lieu or rehab?
Absolutely not. While it’s true that you will be wearing the knee brace during your recovery, it does not replace any rehab or exercises that are needed to facilitate your recovery. Even while wearing your brace, you will need to be participating in some kind of physical therapy.
A knee brace is a medical device that protects your knee, supports recovery following an injury, prevents further injury, and so much more. There are lots of options on the market when it comes to knee braces. However, we have made it easy for you and narrowed it down to the top 5 best knee braces. Hopefully this has helped you.
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“Functional Knee Brace – an Overview | ScienceDirect Topics.” Www.sciencedirect.com, www.sciencedirect.com/topics/nursing-and-health-professions/functional-knee-brace. Accessed 8 Feb. 2022.
“How Does an Unloader Knee Brace Help Relieve Pain for Osteoarthritis?” Verywell Health, www.verywellhealth.com/what-is-an-unloader-knee-brace-2552051. Accessed 8 Feb. 2022.
“Hyperextended Knee: Symptoms, Treatment, Recovery.” Healthline, www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/hyperextended-knee.
“What Are the Different Kinds of Orthopedic Devices?” Www.wise-Geek.com, www.wise-geek.com/what-are-the-different-kinds-of-orthopedic-devices.htm. Accessed 8 Feb. 2022.
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