Knee Brace vs Knee Support. What is the difference?

Which one should I choose: a knee brace or a knee support?

Generally, Knee supports are best as a preventative and protective brace for those doing physical activity. They may be slightly tighter than the knee braces and may have better moisture-wicking properties.

Knee braces are best for people who have had a knee injury in the past or are currently dealing with one. They may be more comfortable, especially for extended hours and can be used on a day to day basis as well as for sports and activity.

We recommend the knee braces for those who have previous or current knee injuries and knee supports for those who are looking to prevent injuries.

What is the difference between a knee brace and knee support? 

When choosing a knee brace, there are so many options to choose from. We understand that you are feeling overwhelmed, this article will guide you through. Whether you need a knee brace for a ligament injury, meniscus tear or just want a support for added stability during exercise, we are committed to helping you find the most suitable product.

One of the main questions you may be asking yourself is: what is the difference between a knee brace and a knee support? The short answer is, anything without a hinge or a mechanical feature like a BOA closure system is considered a support.

A knee support is able to be slipped on right over your knee. The main function of a knee support is to provide compression, to reduce swelling and aid in muscle fatigue. Additional knee supports, may offer additional support around the patella and knee joint to aid in the minimising pain for mild arthritis and meniscus injuries. Knee supports tend to be discrete and can comfortably be worn under clothes.

Knee braces on the other hand tend to be more mechanical in nature. They help stabilise the knee joint and protect the knee from any more injuries. There are a wide range of knee braces, all catering to different conditions that you may have. Usually a doctor or a specialist will recommend you wear a knee brace when recovering from an injury. Knee braces tend to guide the natural movement of the knee that allows individuals to regain their strength and full range of motion.  


Types of knee braces and their features

Hinged Knee Brace

Joint splits on the side of the brace can guide the knee joint in conjunction with adjustable tension straps for a secure fit. Hinged knee braces also limit excessive twisting and lateral/medial movements of the knee whilst still keeping full flexion/extension to aid in rehabilitation, especially if suffering from meniscus injuries, joint instability or arthritis.

Some hinged braces such as the GenuTrain S, also incorporate the medical-grade compression to reduce swelling and pain.

Hinged Knee Brace


An unloader brace such as the GenuTrain OA which has a support component aswell an unloader brace component, will provide noticeable relief for osteoarthritis, cartilage bone lesions, meniscal lesions, osteonecrosis and bone bruising. It works by reducing the bone on bone contact with a mechanical BOA closure system. A brace such as this one will also reduce swelling through the medical grade compression as well as improve sensorimotor function. Other unloader braces such as the SecuTec Genu with a metal frame and a four-point principle, offer comprehensive stabilisation following ACL, PCL or complex ligament injuries. This type of brace provides tool free limitation and immobilisation of the joint.


Read More: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment of Unhappy Triad – ACL, MCL & Meniscus Damage

Unloader knee brace


Types of knee supports and their features 

Knee Support

These provide relief and stabilisation of the knee joint thanks to targeted activation of the muscles stabilising the joint. They can provide mild pain relief to meniscus. Supports can aid in the metabolism of the knee’s self-healing process is they have a stimulating effect on the infrapatellar fat pads (protective cushion underneath your knee cap). With stimulation of the mechanical sensors, you can improve coordination, sensorimotor function and movement patterns. Some knee support such as the GenuTrain also has targeted compression which can accelerate a reduction in swelling and oedema.

Read More: Product Spotlight – GenuTrain 

Knee support for general knee pain

Sports compression knee support

Knee Supports such as the sports compression knee support is designed to boost performance rather than aid in an injury. It can incorporate medical grade compression to reduce muscle spasms and fatigue. Compression supports can increase the supply of oxygen to the area to improve muscle endurance and decrease muscle fatigue. Although, please note, compression supports are not suitable for knee injuries.

Read More: Is Compression an Elite Athlete’s Secret Weapon?

Knee compression support


Do you have private health? Most private health extras will cover Bauerfeind Products, check to see if yours is included. Bauerfeind Private Health Insurance Inquiry. 

Bauerfeind products are developed at our innovation and manufacturing facility in Zeulenroda, Germany. Based on years of scientific research, our award-winning braces and support garments are highly recommended by medical professionals and athletes worldwide.

For assistance selecting the right product for your needs, book a video consultation with a Bauerfeind expert: Book Video Call, or call us on 1300 668 466.


Back to blog