Have you ever had an injury followed by severe pain? Generally, injuries can be excruciating. But when it comes to a knee injury, things may spiral out of control – especially if you have an active lifestyle. You’ve to work, hit the trail, hang out with friends, and walk your dog – all of which become just challenging to continue. As a frequent runner, you’ve to prevent injury as well as relieve your injured knee.
While there are a dozen ways to reduce your chances of joint dislocation and knee fracture as a result of injury, one of the many options is to wear a knee brace. Some doctors don’t recommend wearing a knee brace. However, most people see improvements in their condition after wearing a knee brace for some time.
Here are some of its uses:
- Protect from injuries during sports, workout, and exercise
- Reduce the painful effects of an injured knee by reducing its movement
- Stabilize your knee after ACL surgery
- Keep dislocated patella in its place during workout or fitness activity
- Transfer the weight off your injured knee (especially during knee osteoarthritis) to reduce the pain
Best Knee Braces for Running
We’ll review and analyze different knee braces in detail and pick the best knee brace for running that you should buy.
Can’t wait to read until the end? Here’s the winner:
Athledict Hinged Knee Brace
After reviewing and analyzing different knee braces for running, we concluded that Athledict Hinged Brace is the best knee brace for running.
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Jump to read the reviews, instead? HERE
What are the Different Types of Knee Braces?
Knee braces come in many different types based on their functions and specifications. Main of them are described below:
Stabilizing knee braces – They help you reduce the risk of injuries during sports and physical activities like baseball, soccer, wrestling, and running, etc. Runners who recover from ligament injury use stabilizing knee braces to avoid knee cap dislocation.
Open patella knee brace – Open patella brace reduces pressure on your knees. It also supports your knee cap during exercise, running, and weightlifting.
Close patella knee brace – This type compresses your knee cap and allows for an overall movement of your knee joint. Because of its nature, a closed patella brace is often not recommended for activities that involve bending of your knees at a higher degree (45-degree or more).
Hinged knee brace – Mostly used after an injury, a hinged knee brace limits your damaged ligament to heal and stabilize it.
Patellar tendon strap – Helps distribute pressure all over the knee-tendon by compressing it. Patellar tendon straps are commonly used by athletes who run most often.
Besides these over the counter knee braces, there are a few other types of knee braces that require custom design and are often prescribed by your physician or surgeon.
- ACL Brace – Used for people with tear or sprain in their major knee ligaments. ACL braces limit the movement of your shinbone.
- Knee Immobilizer – It stops the knee from extra bending and movement to heal your knee after an injury or surgery.
Do you Need a Knee Brace?
First things first: What’s the problem you’re looking to solve? If you’ve sore joints or a knee sprain after an arduous morning run, you may use a runner knee brace to reduce the movement of your affected area. Knee braces basically help reduce pain and swelling.
So if you’ve:
Runner’s knee – which causes a dull pain around your kneecap
Knee dislocation – When the shinbone and thigh bone disrupt at your knee joint.
Arthritis – When your knee joints become stiff and painful because of the wear and tear of the protective cartilage.
Knee sprain – When the ligaments that hold the two bones together become overstretched and injured
Misaligned kneecap – When your kneecap slips toward one side because of your hip and leg alignment problem.
You may use a knee brace to improve your condition and reduce the pain associated with it, especially if you run, workout, or exercise most often. Besides that, your physical therapist may also recommend that you use a knee brace for recovery. That being said, if you’ve any serious knee problem and are struggling to manage pain and discomfort, talk to your physician about wearing a knee brace. He may give you some guidelines based on your specific health condition.
How do Knee Braces Work?
Determine your knee problem and identify the type of knee brace you should wear. Once you know that, you should have an idea of how that type of knee brace should work to get the maximum benefit from it. Generally, knee braces protect your knees and reduce pain after an injury or inflammation. Some braces work by supporting your knee ligaments and restrict movement in a specific direction to avoid any further damage.
For a severe injury, you may use a different type of knee brace to keep the knee warm and make the healing process faster. Such knee braces also compress your knees to reduce swelling as a result of fluid buildup. A knee brace used for the runner’s knee or jumper’s knee supports your medial ligament for perfect alignment.
In a nutshell, different knee braces target a specific area based on the type and form of a knee injury and inflammation.
Benefits of a Knee Brace for Runners
Knee braces offer support and provide pain relief after a knee injury or surgery. Below are some common problems your knee brace can help with:
Mild knee compression – A knee brace compresses your knees to improve blood circulation and speed up the recovery process.
Knee alignment – In case of dislocated knee caps and complete knee misalignment, a brace provides support to realign your knee.
Distribute pressure – knee injuries such as tendon inflammation require to take less stress at the injured area. Knee braces function by spreading the load to relieve pain and reduce swelling.
Injury relief – While you can’t prevent injuries completely, knee braces help you reduce the chances of getting injured by supporting your knees in sports and athletic activities.
Aid in walking – Painful injuries limit your ability to walk or perform necessary activities. A knee brace is especially helpful in such situations because it helps you get around and aid in walking comfortably.
Risks Involved in Wearing a Knee Brace
While knee braces are worn to help reduce pain, injuries, and inflammation, sometimes wearing the wrong type of knee brace may create problems. Some of them are:
Irritation and swelling – A knee brace that over compresses your knee may cause irritation and discomfort.
Tripping risk – Wearing a loose brace may slip down and increase fall risks.
Discomfort – If you’ve never worn a knee brace before, you may feel uneasy the first time you use it.
Limit mobility – Some knee braces are designed to limit your movement of certain muscles. However, wearing a knee brace for a long time may affect the normal functioning of your muscles.
Different Levels of Knee Braces
Knee braces are divided based on different protection levels.
Primary protection – They are level one braces used for mild pain and discomfort in your knees. Such braces are made of soft, flexible material and don’t cause any trouble.
Advanced protection – They are level two braces, which provide moderate support to your knees. Such type of brace is made of high quality neoprene material for higher durability. They can also be adjusted with the help of its adjustable straps to fit your needs.
Maximum protection – They are level three braces specifically designed for severe and complicated knee injuries. They are also used after knee surgery for recovery and stability. Athletes also wear them for maximum protection during intense fitness activities.
How to Wear a Knee Brace Properly?
Get the right size and type
Knee braces come in different styles and sizes. Before you get one, make sure you’ve the right kind and size of a knee brace. To confirm the right size, read the size chart that comes with your knee brace.
Put it on your injured knee
Pull your leg cloth to expose the knee. If you’ve the wrap type brace, simply roll it around the injured area. If it is the slip-on type, slide your leg into the brace until the affected area.
Cover the affected area
Make sure the brace is covering your injured knee completely. Align it in such a way that it’s not causing any discomfort. Many braces have instructions on how to use the brace around the affected area for maximum protection.
Fasten the straps
Once you’ve put on the brace, make sure it is tightened enough. The idea here is not to overdo anything. If it’s too loose, there are chances it may slip down and cause tripping risk. A too tight brace may also cause pain and swelling.
Test to check if your knee brace fits well.
Use the two-finger method to check the brace’s proper fit.
- Slip two fingers under your fasten strap
- If you can’t fit both fingers, the brace is too tight.
- Loosen it and repeat the test.
- If you can fit more than two fingers under the strap, the brace is too loose.
- Tighten the strap and repeat the test until you get a proper fit.
- Perform this analysis for every strap of your brace.
How to Choose the Right Knee Brace?
Choosing the right knee brace can be daunting at first. However, with some help and tips beforehand, it should be easy to get off the fence.
Based on injury – Once you know the kind of injury you’re bracing your knee against, the next step is to look up for that specific knee brace. If you can’t describe your problem, try writing down your symptoms or ask your physician.
Based on the level of support – Mild injuries require level one braces that offer primary protection. However, such braces won’t work with severe inflammation and complicated knee injuries. You’ve to choose one with maximum protection, such as a level three brace.
Based on size – Even if you know the exact type of knee brace, check its sizing to make sure it’s perfectly fit. A knee brace that’s too loose or too tight can counteract its purpose.
Based on ease and comfort – Wraparound braces and knee straps are not as flexible as their knee sleeves counterparts. As a result, the level of comfort might differ. But as both have a different support level, you should also take that into account before choosing one over the other.
Are Knee Braces Controversial?
Companies are rolling out many different types of knee braces and tout them as useful and pain-relieving.
But is there concrete scientific research that shows knee braces as the ultimate solution to all your knee injuries? No such research exists that backs up all the claims. However, a few small studies have found braces are effective – in the case of self-reported knee instabilities and injuries.
Further research is needed to fully assess the effectiveness of knee braces. But here’s the thing: if you’ve any injury as a result of running or an intense exercise, you may wear a brace for some time and see for yourself. You can always stop using it in case of any side effects – which rarely occur.
Things to Consider before Buying a Knee Brace:
There are many things you should consider before parting ways with your hard earned cash. Some of them are:
Size – See sizing chart attached with your product to get one that fits well.
Durability – Knee braces made of high quality material, such as neoprene, last long as compared to others made of cheap fabric.
Type – Don’t become fixated on one product. Evaluate many different types and choose the one that addresses your condition.
Ease and comfort – Is the knee brace comfortable enough? Too much tight knee brace can cause discomfort. Also, clear instructions from the manufacturer can help you wear the brace with ease.
Reviews – If you’re buying over the counter knee brace, make sure you’ve done your research before. Buying one off Amazon can help, as you’ll have access to all the reviews and testimonials from past customers.
Top 8 Best Knee Braces for Running
1. Athledict Hinged Knee Brace
Looking for relief from knee injury and pain after that intense running exercise? Athledict hinged knee brace can help. This wraparound knee brace has removable hinges and adjustable straps that help you tighten the brace as per your need. They have recently updated their knee braces after a few problems were reported in the old design. It looks like they take their customers seriously.
This hinged brace is not for everyone. If you’re an athlete, a fitness enthusiast, and someone who runs most often – these braces should help you. The design features an open patella that reduces pressure on your knee cap and provides extra support. Customers who tried the braces are well-made, comfortable to wear and fit perfectly.
Adjustable straps – Tighten it or loosen it – as much you want because the straps are adjustable and fit your needs.
Cushion behind hinges – The metal hinges don’t irritate or dig into you. They have a thick cushioning from behind to reduce discomfort.
Open knee cap design – The hinged braces come with open knee caps for increased support.
✔️ Four high quality velcro attachments
✔️ Hinges for fitness support
✔️ High adjustability
❌ May rip at the stretching
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2. Shock Doctor Hinged Braces
Premium design and high quality latex-free material make Shock Doctor brace the best choice to help reduce knee sprain, patella problems, arthritis, and lateral instability. The material allows free airflow through the brace to avoid bacterial infection and keep your knee cool and dry all day long.
When it comes to sizing, it’s done an excellent job in differentiating between sizes. They offer small, medium, and large-sized braces to get the right size. The material quickly absorbs water and keeps your knees dry. Customers who bought the product said they had extra support with these knee braces. Some buyers also recommended it to others.
Latex free material – It’s made of high quality material that provides comfort, stability, and warmth.
Stays and hinges – The hinges provide bilateral support while the aluminium stays help reduce pain and discomfort.
Quality – Advance design and high quality, latex free material makes it a perfect fit for people looking for extra durability.
✔️ Premium stitching with flexible stabilizers
✔️ Best for close-fitting and maximum protection
✔️ Easy grip and accurate fitting
❌ May cause skin irritation
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3. Vive Knee Compression Brace
Vive combines a useful home therapy in their compression knee braces. Vive Knee braces are lightweight, soft, breathable, and provide straps that can be adjusted according to your size. The non-toxic, leak-proof, and reusable gel packs that come with the braces can be easily slipped into the pockets for hot and cold therapy.
Viva braces work best for fitness geeks, gym enthusiasts, and frequent runners who might get injured during their fitness activity. Wrap the brace around your knee with the gels slipped into the pockets for better compression and pain, swelling, fatigue, and knee sprain relief. Customers who tried Vive braces said the reusable gel packs helped them soothe their knees.
Reusable ice gel packs – That provide relief from injury after an intense fitness activity, such as running. Chill the packs in the freezer or heat them in the microwave for cold or hot therapy.
Adjustable straps – Straps can be adjusted accordingly.
Convenience – The brace is soft, breathable, latex-free and can be washed in the machine.
✔️ Added relief for sports injuries
✔️ Compression for different protection levels
✔️ Adjustable design for both knees
❌ Gel packs may break
❌ May not be cold enough sometimes
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4. Techware Pro Knee Brace
Techware Pro knee brace works best for pro and newbie runners alike. It has adjustable straps on both sides for an even, bi-directional support. Techware Pro brace is a better choice for you if you’re moving a lot and need help with your injured knee.
The brace features an open patella design that protects your kneecap by keeping it in its place to reduce the chances of dislocation. With Techware Pro, sizing shouldn’t be a problem as the brace comes in four different sizes. Athletes and runners who bought the product said the knee brace provides better support during exercise, running, and workout.
Even support – Unlike other braces, Viva brace has adjustable straps on both sides of the brace for even support.
Kneecap protection – Your kneecap is stabilized during sports with their open patella brace design for better mobility and injury relief.
Better design – Silicone strips reduce slipping of the brace. Lightweight neoprene material makes the brace comfortable and breathable.
✔️ Bidirectional knee and patella support
✔️ Varied size for adjustability
✔️ Instant sports injury relief
❌ Choosing the wrong size may cause problems.
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5. Bodyprox Hinged Knee Brace
Bodyprox hinged knee brace features an open patella design for medial and lateral stability. If you’re looking for relief from sports injury, runner’s knee, and mild osteoarthritis, Body prox brace can help. The buttress around the kneecap is padded for maximum support during intense activities.
Bodyprox is made of high-quality material and has an advanced thermal compression. Athletes and runners can benefit from this adjustable knee brace that provides better mobility and high-level support to the knee. Customers who bought Bodyprox hinged knee brace said that it reduced the pain and stabilized their knee.
Back protection and open patella design – They help you stabilize your kneecap during an intense exercise while still allowing for greater mobility.
Different sizes to choose from – They have different sizes for your knee to make sure you’ve the right fit.
Great comfort and stability – High quality material doesn’t pinch or irritate your skin.
✔️ Better design for maximum protection
✔️ Kneecap stabilizer
✔️ Adjustable velcro straps
✔️ Ideal for runners
❌ May overstretch sometime
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6. IPOW Strap Knee Brace
IPOW strap knee brace is a bit different from others in its design. It’s a small, lightweight strap that’s worn below your kneecap for evenly distribution of shock during intense training, running, and jumping. The material is made of soft, breathable fabric that comforts your knee joint and reduces pain caused by runner’s knee, patellar dislocation, and arthritis.
IPOW two in one pack can be worn during exercise and running to reduce your risks of kneecap dislocation. The composite fiber can be washed and reused without worrying about its performance and comfort. Customers who tried the product said the brace is well-made, has better design, and helps reduce knee pain.
Simple and sleek design – Unlike other knee braces, this strap design is just simple yet powerful to reduce your risk of injury.
Runner’s choice – Help you run better and absorb shocks in case of kneecap dislocation.
Quality support – The strap protects your knee from injury while allowing for greater mobility.
✔️ Absorb shocks
✔️ Relieve from runner’s knee
✔️ Non-slip design
❌ May be uncomfortable at first
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7. Neo-G Open Patella Hinged Brace
Neo-G knee braces are designed for people with arthritis, runner’s knee, joint pain, and meniscus tear. They offer advanced protection from sports injuries by compressing your knee while protecting the kneecap.
The brace is medical grade and is best for people who need rehabilitation and relief from a knee injury. It also features side hinges for protection and better mobility without hurting your knees.
Adjustable velcro fasteners – Velcro fasteners are flexible and can be fitted accordingly.
Better compression – Unlike many other braces, Neo-G provides excellent compression to your knee for lateral and medial support and better circulation.
Ache and pain relief – The material used is neoprene, which helps in warming your joint and reduce muscular pain and stiffness.
✔️ Lateral support hinges
✔️ Stabilize knee and Improve mobility
✔️ High quality, durable material
❌ May be a little expensive
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8. Bauerfeind Knee Brace
Want a more advanced and customized solution to your knee pain and injury? Look no further than Bauerfeind knee brace. The price may be high compared to others, but the quality is top class. You get six different sizes in black, pink, and rivera.
High impact sports activities and intense running may cause discomfort and severe injuries. Bauerfeind knee brace ensures stabilization with advanced protection and greater mobility. Customers who tried the product said the brace provided better support and was worth their money.
Sports and running friendly – Mainly designed for athletes and runners who want to perform better and reduce the risk of injuries.
Premium style and design – They are sleek, stylish, and comfortable and fit well according to your personal knee problem.
Targeted relief – The contoured pad and high quality knitted fabric distribute pressure; as a result, the muscles are stabilized to reduce the risk of severe injury.
✔️ High quality German design
✔️ Reduce running injuries
✔️ Patellar knee pad
❌ May be pricy for some people
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Knee braces come in different sizes, designs, functions, and support levels. Before you buy one, make sure you have a complete idea of what you’re actually getting. Because sizing problems, irritation, instability, and discomfort may cause many complications. That being said, a knee brace offers better stability and reduces the risks of injury for runners and fitness enthusiasts.