Knee Braces for Knee Pain - How to Choose? (2024)


Knee pain occurs due to an injury or inflammation in the joint. In addition, excess body weight and overuse of the legs can cause knee pain too. It affects people of all ages. The inflammation of tissues present in the joint is called arthritis. The inner portion of the knee is affected more than the outer part. Knee braces can be used to relieve knee pain.

What Is the Purpose of Knee Braces?

The uses of knee braces for knee pain are as follows;

  • A knee brace helps to reduce knee pain by shifting the excess weight of the affected knee. This is known as an unloader brace.

  • During walking, an individual with excess weight feels pressure in the joint. A knee brace helps the individual to walk comfortably by relieving the pressure. It improves the ability to walk.

  • The wear and tear of the joints with inflammation are commonly seen in older people. It is known as osteoarthritis. It affects one side of the knee more than the other. It can result in malalignment. A knee brace is used to prevent such conditions.

  • Some patients utilize a knee brace as a support for the knee after surgery.

What Are the Different Types of Knee Braces?

Knee braces are classified into four types depending on their uses. They are as follows;

  • Prophylactic Type - It can be used while playing sports to prevent injuries to the joint.

  • Functional Type - It decreases the instability in the knee and facilitates walking after an injury.

  • Patellofemoral Type - It prevents lateral displacement of the joint and decreases the pain. It helps to protect the ligament from further injuries.

  • Rehabilitative Type - A surgically repaired or injured knee requires care while walking. Rehabilitative braces keep the joint in an aligned position and safeguard the knee while walking.

What Are the Risks of Wearing a Knee Brace for Knee Pain?

There are various risks associated with wearing a knee brace. They are as follows;

  • Discomfort - A knee brace should be chosen with a perfect fit. Otherwise, there is a chance of slipping. Some individuals feel it heavy during the initial stages. Knee braces appear bulky and cause discomfort while wearing.

  • Irritation - Continuous wearing of the knee brace irritates and provokes warmth and redness in the skin. Some individuals experience swelling in the joint.

  • Limited Benefit - Knee braces are beneficial for individuals with mild to moderate knee pain. But for severe knee pain and osteoarthritis, knee braces do not contribute much effectively.

  • Stiffness - Some individuals wearing a knee brace on one leg consider it an injured joint and depend on the other leg for physical activities. It can lead to joint stiffness.

How to Choose a Knee Brace for Knee Pain?

The individual should choose and purchase a knee brace after consulting a medical provider or physical therapist.

  • Medical Condition - Knee braces should be chosen depending on the joint condition or injury.

  • Type of Material - Few materials prevent dryness and release moisture. Choose a sturdy knee brace. It should be comfortable while wearing. It should be in a favorable position while walking.

  • Support - Some knee braces support the middle portion of the knee, while other knee braces support the external knee. So, the individual should choose the knee brace depending on the area of support.

  • Size - Each individual has a different knee size. Choose the knee brace according to the knee size.

  • Left or Right Side - Some knee braces are manufactured particularly for the right side or left side of the knee. Choose a suitable knee brace accordingly.

  • Insurance - Though the entire cost of a knee brace is not covered by the insurance company, it covers some costs. So before purchasing a knee brace, confirm the insurance plan with the medical provider.

  • Custom Made - The individual with orthopedic problems like malalignment and deformity in the joints requires a specially designed knee brace to fit the knee. In such situations, the medical professional refers the individual to an orthotist for measurement. An orthotist will provide a custom-made knee brace to improve knee function. However, it is a bit costlier compared to normal knee braces.

  • Elasticity - Do not choose a knee brace that is too tight. Choose a knee brace with an elastic hem to prevent displacement.

What Are the Instructions to Follow While Wearing a Knee Brace?

  • An individual can adapt easily to wearing a knee brace if the fit is good. So, the medical provider will examine the knee before prescribing a knee brace.

  • Report to the orthopedist about the history and cause of knee pain.

  • It is important to restrict aggressive physical activities like gymming or jumping for a few days after the joint injury.

  • Try to walk and move the legs with knee braces in front of the orthopedist to observe any imperfections.

  • Measurements are taken by the orthotist to determine the size. Custom-made knee braces take more time to design, so it is delivered after a week.

  • Try using different styles to determine the best knee braces.

  • Ask the medical provider about how to wear, remove and adjust the knee braces.

  • The orthopedist will give instructions on when to wear the knee braces because some individuals need to wear them only during physical activities, while others require wearing them throughout the day.


If the individual uses the knee braces consistently, it strengthens the joint. Do not consider knee braces as a remedy for osteoarthritis surgery. It can only prevent the pain but cannot cure it. Do not postpone the surgery because the disease might progress. Consult an orthopedic surgeon and undergo surgery if it is necessary. Knee braces are a temporary solution for obese individuals. Obese individuals should lose weight to avoid knee pain. Consult a physical therapist and learn some exercises for strengthening the thigh muscles. Knee braces do not harm but are not much effective for generalized osteoarthritis. It can be used only for the initial stages of knee pain.

Knee Braces for Knee Pain - How to Choose? (2024)
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