Looking for the right knee brace to help reduce your knee pain or support your knee joint? With a wide variety of knee braces in the market, it is difficult to decide on a suitable knee brace for your needs. We will guide you through these 3 consideration points to choose an appropriate knee brace: Understanding your needs, cost and quality of knee brace is crucial in helping you live a more active and pain free life.
1. Understanding your needs: Knee brace for injury or prevention?
Whilst knee braces come in a range of materials and structures, they are generally recommended to be worn for two major reasons. Firstly, knee braces can be worn with a purpose for injury prevention especially during highly intensive sports and activities. The second reason is to be worn as a form of injury rehabilitation and recovery for your knee injury or pain.
Regardless, knee braces can be beneficial in the recovery process by providing increased level of support and stability, pain relief, and compression to aid with swelling and inflammation.
We’ve also developed an advanced knee brace selector tool to help find the most appropriate knee support in less than a minute.
Preventing Knee Injury
Highly intensive activities and sports can greatly increase the chances of injury within the knee joint because of the increased level of strain and harsh movements inherent within those sports. Sports such as weightlifting, basketball, and soccer can incorporate sudden twists, stops, and turns which exert a high level of force on the knee joint in a short period of time, putting excess pressure on ligaments, tendons, muscles, and other soft tissue. Knee injuries or pain can also occur through overuse or repetitive activities such as running or jumping. We believe the best form of treatment is preventing the injury in the first place.
If you’re after a lightweight compression support to help boost performance whilst also assisting in preventing injury, wearing a compression knee sleeve like the Sports Compression Knee Support is a great option.
For a greater level of injury prevention in activities that exert a high level of force and excessive strain on the knee joints such as basketball and weightlifting, choose a knee support like Sports Knee Support with medical grade compression and massage gel pads which offers better support and stability.
Knee injury rehabilitation and recovery
For knee injury rehabilitation and recovery, we look at the severity of injuries as well as the type of injury. It can vary dramatically from mild injuries such as general knee pain all the way to severe cases such as complete ligament ruptures (ACL, Meniscus tear)
Knee brace for Mild Knee Joint Pain
Injury: This is the category that most people find themselves in. General knee pain is becoming increasingly common both within active individuals placing daily strain on the knee joint and degenerative conditions such as arthritis/general wear of the joint over the years. This results to inflammation of the cartilage and tendons around and under the knee joint, leading to mild pain. If you are experiencing mild and general pain around the knee joint there are solutions that can assist without hindering your ability to continue being active.
Product: A compression based sleeve like GenuTrain Knee brace that will provide consistent and effective pain relief whilst adding support and stability to the knee joint as well. The GenuTrain features a medical grade compression sleeve for improved circulation, muscle activation and stabilising support. The patented Omega+ Pad encases the patella and provides targeted massage through the integrated friction nubs, aiding in pain relief to the joint space. Made from a patented honeycomb flat knitted weave, the GenuTrain is both high durable and comfortable to wear for long hours throughout the day without limiting range of movement.
GenuTrain Knee Brace
Kneecap tracking and dislocation issues
Injury: The kneecap (patella) is a small bone that sits where the tibia (shinbone) and femur (thighbone) connect, right in front of the knee joint. A common issue with the kneecap is patella tracking disorders. This is when the kneecap shifts out of place when bending or straightening the leg, usually shifting too far towards the outside of the leg. This can be caused through weak thigh muscles, too loose or tight tendons or ligaments, and excessive strain or twisting of the knee joint. You’ll notice pain in the front of the knees and a feeling that your knee might give way. You may also notice your kneecap easily moving out of place.
Conditions: Patella tracking issues, Kneecap dislocation, Baker’s cyst, patella pain, Kneecap instability, ITB syndrome
Product: Choose a knee brace that has a corrective guide, corrective strap to ensure optimal kneecap control as well as a soft gel paid that surrounds the kneecap to centre it for stability whilst enabling you to still be active. The GenuTrain P3 knee brace will aid in stabilising the kneecap and ensure it sits in the correct spot without tracking out of place. The corrective guide connected to the gel pad surrounding the kneecap pulls the patella in (medially) and holds it in place by tightening around the patella and strapping on the brace. The medical grade compression aids in activating surrounding muscles as well to reduce the strain on the kneecap. A muscle-relaxing pad is also located on the IT band to reduce sideway pulling of the kneecap for pain relief.
GenuTrain P3 Knee Brace
Instability and Ligament Issues (mild to moderate)
Injury: There are several conditions that cause ligament instability of the knee which can cause further complications in of itself. A reduction of cartilage associated with osteoarthritis or moderate meniscus injuries can cause ‘bone on bone’, resulting in feeling of pain and instability as cartilage such as the meniscus is responsible in absorbing load and shock to the joint. Mild to moderate sprained or torn ligaments (ACL, MCL, PCL) can also occur from excess load on the knee joint, causing high levels of instability and pain.
Conditions: Mild to Moderate Ligament Injuries (ACL, MCL, PCL), Meniscus injuries, Osteoarthritis, Instability, Knee Arthritis
Product: A brace with hinges can be used to reduce the load on the ligaments and reduce bone on bone contact. Choose a hinged brace that offers enhanced stability while allowing full range of motion within the limits and severity of your injury and progress in rehabilitation.
The GenuTrain S Hinged Knee brace aids in restoring stability and reducing pain after a knee injury. The brace uses joint side bars (hinges) connected to adjustable straps will provide superior stability to the knee by reducing some load on the knee joint. This will help track the patella and minimise joint movement that would typically result in sudden pain. also reduce bone on bone contact providing pain relief and reduce swelling of the knee joint. The brace will also support the recovery of ligaments by reducing load and tension and activating surrounding muscles. Whilst hinged braces can sometimes be large and obtrusive, the GenuTrain S remains sleek and lightweight for comfortable everyday use.
GenuTrain S Hinged Knee Brace
Moderate to severe Osteoarthritis and Meniscus tears
Injury: Osteoarthritis is a wear and tear type of arthritis and is a gradual wearing down of cartilage in the knee joint. When the cartilage wears away, the protective space between bones decrease and results in bone on bone rubbing. This can also occur because of meniscus tears. This generally results in swelling and pain of the knee joint which increases over time. Often an approximately 80% of the time the pain and deterioration of the joint is on the inside (medial compartment) of the knee.
Conditions: Moderate to severe arthritis, meniscus tears, Bone bruising
Product: Choose an unloading brace, the severity of your arthritis/meniscus injury will dictate which level unloading brace would be most suitable to alleviate pain. The GenuTrain OA provides immediate and lasting pain relief from arthritic pain by unloading either the medial or lateral compartment of the knee joint. By tightening and adjusting the BOA tension strapping system, the GenuTrain OA can unload and open up one side of the knee joint to reduce bone on bone contact and provide needed space in between the bones. Light weight, comfortable, and easy to put on allows for all day use with this unloading brace. Importantly, there are no tensioning straps in the back of your knee which typically would be quite uncomfortable. If you are experiencing severe arthritis on a single or both compartments of the knee joint, the SecuTec OA would be a more suitable product as it provides an unloading effect on both sides of the knee.
2. Cost of Knee Braces
Knee braces range from under $30 to over $2,000. It varies due to quality of the brace and ultimate support it will provide. Additionally, depending on your private health cover you could possibly get private health reimbursement with your extras cover. To find out more click here: Private health reimbursement inquiry.
As the old adage says – ‘you get what you pay for’. The best knee braces and supports in the market will cost more due to the quality materials, precise manufacturing and medical technology and research in developing the brace. Health and the ability to be mobile is one of (if not the most) important aspects of life for most and important that options are well considered.
3. Features of high quality of braces
- Comfort and Breathability: You should be able to wear a brace comfortably for extended periods. A brace should also use breathable materials for use during exercise or sports activities such as Bauerfeind’s patented flat knit material. Braces made with neoprene are not breathable and will result in a large build-up of sweat, possible skin sensitivity with general discomfort and lack of tolerance in wearing it for long periods. The fabric is made from rubber and traps heat and typically would have a patella cut out to try and manage some of the extreme heat build-up.
Lightweight and Streamlined Design: High quality braces are neither heavy or bulky, and can be fitted properly to your leg dimensions to help avoid discomfort. The best knee braces are so comfortable & allows enhanced mobility, you will feel almost like an extension of your leg so that after a while, you forget it’s even there.
Sizing System: To achieve a proper level of support, sizing is crucial. Avoid generic sizing systems or braces that don’t offer a decent spread of sizes. If the range in between sizes is large, then the brace will likely not fit well and result in it being uncomfortably tight or will slip around the joint as soon as you start doing any activities. A spread of many sizes will help ensure that your brace will fit comfortably and perform well.
Offer strong stability and compression in the appropriate areas
Compression is key to a well-functioning and effective knee brace. Flat knit material used in Bauerfeind products allows the brace to compress at different levels within the one garment. Cheaper braces have one uniform compression in general due to the materials being used. For example, compression behind the knee should be minimal due to the discomfort there however around the patella, calf area and quadricep muscles there is increased compression whilst loosening up around the extremities of the brace to ensure there is no digging in. The dynamic nature of the material used in a Bauerfeind knee brace help ensure the effectiveness and comfort is achieved.
Improve your proprioception (perception and awareness of the position and movement of your joint)
A well sized, medically compressed knee brace will help you achieve a higher level of proprioception. Due to the pain in your knee, it is natural to lose the strength on your injured knee and relying on the other knee, increasing load on that knee. By compressing the surrounding muscles of your injured knee at a medical grade you will feel more confident and stable to load your knee and strengthen the surrounding muscles. Crucially it is achievable with a Bauerfeind brace for both high intensity activities through to long hours of use due to the comfortable flat knit material used in all of our Train line of braces.
At Bauerfeind, we provide high-quality medical grade knee braces for both prevention and recovery of all types of knee injuries to help you live a more active and pain free life. Our products are developed and manufactured at our innovation facility in Zeulenroda, Germany. Based on over 90 years of scientific research, our award-winning braces and support garments are highly recommended by medical professionals and athletes worldwide.
To maximise the effectiveness of your knee brace, ensure you are selecting a suitable brace for your circumstance and the correct size based on our size guides. To check out how to fit your knee brace properly, click here.
If you require further assistance selecting the right product for your needs, reach out to us online, over the phone, or in store. You can book a video consultation with a Bauerfeind expert: Book Video Call, or call us on 1300 668 466