Woman sitting on a mountain on a hike wearing a GenuTrain Knee BraceWoman sitting on a mountain on a hike wearing a GenuTrain Knee Brace

Knee Brace vs Knee Support. What is the difference?

Whether you should wear a brace or support depends on your condition. If you'd like a bit of protection or pain relief from a minor injury, a compression support is a good fit. If, however, you have a more intense injury, are recovering from surgery, or have moderate to severe arthritis, a brace is generally the better option.

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 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 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? 

There are so many options when choosing a knee brace. 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 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, reduce swelling and aid in muscle fatigue. Additional knee supports may offer additional support around the patella and knee joint, 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 is 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, allowing 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 medical-grade compression to reduce swelling and pain.

Hinged Knee Brace


An unloader brace such as the GenuTrain OA, which has a support component as well as 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 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 ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď GenuTrain¬†

Knee support for general knee pain

Sports compression knee support

Knee Supports such as the sports compression knee support are 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. However, please note that compression supports are not suitable for knee injuries.

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


More Information

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.

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 was founded in 1929, and since then, we've worked tirelessly to develop and improve our extensive range of award-winning braces, insoles, and compression products. Our mission is to provide you with top-of-the-line supports so you can reach your fitness goals or live life without pain holding you back.

Every product is designed and produced entirely in our innovation and manufacturing facilities in Germany with the guidance of doctors, clinics, and orthopaedic technicians and are trusted by athletes worldwide.

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