With all the jumping and rapid starts and stops required to play a good game, it’s not surprising that Basketball players are prone to knee injuries. While they generally won’t be as intense as those incurred in high-contact sports like Rugby, they can still put you off your game or take you off the court entirely. The good news is a good basketball knee brace can help you recover from or even avoid injury. And here’s our guide on how to choose the best one for you.
What happens to your knee during basketball
To see which knee braces are best for basketball, let’s first go into what happens to your knee during the game. As you know, basketball can take a toll on your knees. The joints will need to do a lot of work to power your high jumps, absorb shock, and stabilise you during twists and sudden stops.
All this activity puts your tendons and ligaments at risk, in particular the patellar tendon, meniscus, anterior cruciate ligament, and posterior cruciate ligament:
- The patellar tendon can get minor tears and inflame with repetitive jumping (hence why the condition is called Jumper’s Knee)
- The meniscus because it’s responsible for shock absorption and may tear during sharp rotations
- And the ACL and PCL because they’re your knees’ primary stabilisers through rotation and flexion
Poor proprioception, unaddressed or not fully healed injuries, and insufficient knee strength and flexibility may further increase your risk of damaging these parts of your knee. But as we mentioned, a good brace can help.
How to choose a basketball knee brace
When choosing a knee brace, there are three things you’ll need to consider. First, your basketball knee brace needs to fit you perfectly. Because if the fit isn’t perfect, the brace can slip, obstruct blood flow, and not provide sufficient support. So, always aim to find the perfect size for you and don’t settle for ‘close enough.’ Second, your knee brace needs to be made of quality, medical-grade materials, not only for your wearing comfort but also to have the desired effect.
And third, you’ll need to choose a brace designed to do what you need it to, whether that’s giving a little extra support to your knee or helping you recover from an injury.
If your knees are healthy and you just want a bit of extra support during your games, you’ll want a brace that can stabilise the knee without sacrificing mobility. Our NBA Sports Compression Knee Support, for example, is made of medical-grade compression knit that targets and activates key muscle groups. So, it will improve your knee’s proprioception and stability through rapid start-stop motions, taking some of the load off your ACL and PCL. It can also help improve your performance, as compression weave boosts blood flow (and, by extension, oxygen and nutrient delivery) to your muscles.
If you’re recovering from an injury, you’ll need a brace that’s targeted to the nature and severity of your condition.
For recovering from relatively minor injuries, for example, we’d recommend the NBA Sports Knee Support. Its Omega pad will help stabilise your knee, taking some of the pressure off your patellar tendon. It'll also help relieve pain in the joint by massaging key muscles. The compression weave, meanwhile, will help reduce inflammation and swelling in the joint, alleviating the symptoms of sprains and inflammatory conditions like Jumper’s Knee. You’ll generally be able to play basketball without issue in this brace because it will provide extra support without stays. But of course, please speak to your doctor or physio before getting back on the court.
As an added bonus, our NBA Knee Support and Brace are the only knee supports in the world that are officially licensed by the NBA, and so are worn by the world’s best players.
For major knee injuries (specifically, ACL, PCL, and meniscus tears), we’d recommend the SofTec Genu Knee Brace. Alongside compression weave and gel padding, it also incorporates a system of hinged stays and straps. These provide increased support and limit your knee’s flexion range, which is crucial to helping ruptured ligaments heal.
Other steps to take
Even with a brace, you should still take extra steps to take care of your knees both on and off the court. We’d advise you to
- Do some knee strength training to take pressure off your cartilage and ligaments
- Do some gentle stretches before your game to make sure the muscles supporting the knee are mobile and flexible
- And if you’ve injured your knee recently, try the RICE method and see your doctor or physio for personalised care and exercise plan.
TO SUM UP
Your basketball knee brace should fit you perfectly, be made of high-quality materials, and be designed for the kind of support you want. And Bauerfeind braces can deliver. Endorsed by the NBA and basketball pro Dirk Nowitzki, they’ll give your knees the support they need.
See our full range of basketball supports: Basketball Braces and Supports
If you require assistance selecting the right product for your needs or wearing the brace, call us on 1300 668 466 or contact us via live chat.
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