best knee support

Best Knee Support 2021

For an active person like me (ex-professional badminton players and a badminton instructor with over 30 years of experience), I had gained quite a lot of experience in dealing with knee pain. If you have read my article “the best gifts for badminton lovers“, you could see that I have suggested buying knee support as one of the best gifts for one who enjoys playing badminton.

Jumper’s knee is one of the most common injuries suffered by badminton players, a lot of my friends and family had experienced knee pain problems. Some of them are very active persons like ski instructors, runners, hikers, and bikers and others are just normal office workers or elderly (like my parents).

Thought our all these years I have developed very good relations with physiotherapists, Chinese doctors, bones setters, personal trainers, and trigger point therapist. And most of them I’ve met agree that if knee support was worn properly, it could help in improving your knee pain problem.

In this article, Lorraine and I, together with licensed Physiotherapist Dr. Salman Sabir PT are going to share with you our personal experience, professional knowledge, and recommendations regarding the best knee supports in the market.

Best Knee Supports – Quick Summary

Why Should You Trust Us?

This article is co-written by 3 writers (Professionals), and edited by a licensed physiotherapist:

Dr. Salman Sabir PT is a licensed physiotherapist, MS in orthopedic manual therapy, and Ph.d. in exercise physiology. He is practicing in the Institute Of Medical Rehabilitation (IMR), Islamabad. He offers services in Sports Injuries, Joint Pain and Stiffness, Difficulty in Walking, Frozen Shoulder, Pain Management, Vertigo, Headache, and Cervical Pain, etc.

TSE Bun, an ex-professional badminton player with a world ranking no. 30 for men’s singles, is also a badminton instructor with over 30 years of experience. Protect his knee is a very big part of his career.

Lorraine Lam – a certified CSIA Ski and CSAI Snowboarding Instructor, skiing would cause a lot f pressure to your knee if your tight muscles are not strong enough, and she has used many different knee supports in her professional life.

Best Knee Supports – Different Types of Knee Supports

The most common types of knee supports can be divided into: 

  • Knee braces
  • Knee sleeves
  • Knee straps/ knee bands/ knee wraps

Knee Braces

Knee braces are usually made by combinations of metal, plastic, foam, elastic materials, straps, and wraps. Generally speaking, a knee brace would provide the largest amount of support to your knee and is often used in preventing further injuries, rehabilitation, and unload your body weight.

Most of the knee braces can be divided into the following types:

Functional braces

  • Mainly used for protecting knees that have been injured in the past
  • Provide the largest amount of protection to your knee by stabilizing it and control movements to prevent injuries

Knee Braces for Rehabilitation

The rehabilitative knee braces are usually used right after an injury, or after surgery, they kept the knee stable and allow only limited motions during the healing process. A friend of mine used these braces right after her snowboarding injury and it helped her a lot in preventing further injury when she was traveling back to the cities from the mountain.

Unloader Braces

These are another type of commonly used knee braces, they can shite the weight and pressure from the knee to a stronger area, which is the reason why we called it unloader.

Knee Sleeves

Comparing with knee braces, knee sleeves will provide less protection to your knees, instead of protecting already injured knees, knee sleeves will provide warmth and compressions to your knees, which is important to improve the blood flow to the area, and results in quicker recovery, pain reduction, and swelling.

In another word, a knee sleeve is more flexible, mobile and provide less stability to your knee. It’s more for enhancing your performance. Speaking about boosting performance, I highly recommend wearing a pair of compression socks like the MudGear Premium Compression Socks too, both items work really well for me and my students.

Knee Straps

Knee Straps are band-like divides, often made with elastic materials wrapping around your knee, it could wrap your whole knee, or just the bottom or top of it.

A knee strap is mainly used for reducing stress applying to the patellar tendon locating at the bottom of the knee. This could result in reducing pain and damages to your knee, usually, it provides more level of support than a knee sleeve and less than a knee brace.

On the other hand, it is more flexible than a knee brace.

Often used by the elderly, people with heavier body mass and weak knees. Other than sports players, a friend of mine who is a famous photographer is using these knee straps during his shootings because he has to carry very heavy gears with him during his work.

Kinesio Tape

Kinesio Tape, also know as K-tape, is elastic tape like human skin, I have to say they are usually pretty good looking because I love their bright colors. 

Kinesio Tape is widely used within athletes, especially in competitions, because they allow players to maintain full movements and yet still receiving supports and benefits, such as supporting overly used muscles, reducing swelling, and enhance proprioceptions.

Best Knee Supports – What to Consider?

In order to choose the best knee supports, you may want to take into account the following factors:

Level of Support You Need

Have you ever injured your knee before? or you are on the high end of body weight and would like to use the brace to reduce the pressure applied on your knee? 

Take into account the level of support you need, and choose the appropriate one. You don’t need a knee brace with metal support if all you want is just some compression to better performance and quicker energy restore.

Level of Movements You Need

Generally speaking, knee supports offering more protections comes with more restriction of movements, so think about what sorts of activities you are going to engage in, and what good you want to be?

Some of my students will bring over one knee brace, one knee straps, and K tape for their game day. During the beginning of the competition, they will use K tapes, then moving to other supports which can offer more protections later on.

So think of what sorts of movements you need, and choose the suitable supports accordingly.

Material

Try to choose knee support that is made with breathable, sweat absorbing, and quick-dry material. No matter it’s used during a sports event or daily use, you want it to be a very comfortable one.

If possible, try to pick one that is machine washable so you can clean it easily.

Best Knee Supports – Our Recommendations

Best Overall Knee Supports – Shock Doctor Hinged Knee Brace

This Shock Doctor Hinged Knee Brace offers a medium level of support and protection to your knees while keeping you active in daily life and exercises.

You can be benefited from this supports if you are suffering from sports injuries, ACL, PCL, and meniscus injuries dislocated/ blown out knees.

This product was recommended by a friend of mine who is a ski instructor who has torn his ACL and meniscus during a ski accident on the mountain, after the surgery he was able to ski again, but only for around an hour then he has to stop and take a break. His doctor recommended this brace to him and he could ski for around 3 hours with no pain after putting this on, plus it took less time for him to regain the energy.

Other than providing support and shifting pressure, the shock doctor brace provides compression and warmth to the knees, keeping them comfortable and circulating. I highly recommend this because it is suitable for daily use too.

What is Also Nice?

  • Provides a balance between support and movements
  • Made with comfortable and breathable materials, you can wear it every day
  • It protects against various type of knee issues, from sore knee to injuries

What is Not that Nice?

  • The inside lining is not made with cloth, which may make it a bit sticky after you sweat and you may want to wear a thin layer of compression pants underneath

Best Knee Sleeves – The CAMBIVO 2 Pack Knee Compression Sleeve

The CAMBIVO 2 Pack Knee Compression Sleeve is a pair of lightweight, affordable, and comfortable knee sleeves offering optimum compressions and warmth over your knees, tights, and calf. 

I had been wearing this for treadmill running on a hot summer day, for sure I sweated a lot and the sleeves got almost all wet, but then thanks to the breathable and sweat-absorbing material, it dried out pretty quickly and that’s a bonus. Another great thing is these sleeves are made with anti-slip silicone, which means they get to stay in pretty well.

What is Also Nice?

  • If offers enough compression and yet they are very comfortable
  • They come with many color and size options
  • Made with anti-slip and breathable material
  • Excellent customer service, my friend ordered the wrong size and he gets speedy feedback and replacement delivery

What is Not That Nice?

  • You may need to check with the seller to make sure the size you purchase fits you if you want to avoid the trouble of sending back and forth
  • You may need to hand wash them and keep the sleeves away from the heater or dryer to keep the elasticity

Best Knee Straps: Abco Tech Patella Knee Strap

The Abco Tech Patella Knee Strap is a comfortable and adjustable knee strap suitable for different kinds of activities such as badminton, running, hiking, biking, and more. 

I love that it offers you the maximum degree of freedom and it is made with breathable, lightweight, soft, and sweat-absorbing material. If you have sensitive skin, this is probably one of the best options of knee support available.

You can easily achieve the most suitable level of support and compression by adjusting the tightness of the straps right under your kneecap (over the patellar tendon).

What is Also Nice?

  • It’s easy to clean because you can wash it with washing machines
  • It’s easy to adjust

What is Not that Nice?

  • It’s one size fits all, so not so suitable for people on the lower and higher end of sizings, such as children and teens
  • If want to make it very tight, a thin knee strap is less comfortable while comparing to the knee braces

Best knee support for runners – Portzon Knee Compression Sleeve

The Portzon Compression Knee Sleeve provides essential supports for runners who are prone to injuries in surrounding soft tissues in the knee joint. 

This knee sleeve helps in increased blood circulation. It also prevents the over-stretch in ACL and PCL which are the most commonly injured ligaments in runners.

They come with build-in double soft gel strips which is very handy for runners because these strips will keep your sleeves from flowing off when you run.

What is Also Nice?

  • They are made of breathable materials and you can use them every day
  • As long as you picked the correct size, you can feel the support offered but not too tight

What is Not that Nice?

  • If you wash it with washing machines, the elasticity may fade away easily
  • we have purchased 2 sets of these sleeves, one set washed by washing machines, while the other set is always hand-washed.
  • after around 30 washes the set washed by machines are less tight than the hand-washed set

Best knee support for elderly – ACE Compression Knee Brace with Side Stabilizer

The elderly population requires a substantial level of support for the musculature around the knee joint. Moreover, the medial and lateral collateral ligaments become lax with age resulting in an increased risk of fall. 

The twisting of the knee joint and tracking of the patella is also quite common. This ACE Compression Knee Brace with Side Stabilizer provides additional support to the lateral and medial collateral ligaments with the help of metallic sidebars. 

What is Also Nice?

– Excellent service quality, I purchased the wrong size for my mother, so I send them a message requesting a replacement plus several questions. They’ve replied to me within a few hours and replacements were sent within 2 days

– This is a money of value option 

What is Not that Nice?

– The look is a bit too low profile. (Lorraine: I don’t like the white color, it reminds me of the day I injured my knees and need to rest on the bed )

Best knee support for arthritis – Neo G Multi Zone Compression Knee Support Sleeve

Knee osteoarthritis is identified as the reduced space between the tibiofemoral joint. Patellar grinding on the femur is also quite common in moderate to advanced knee osteoarthritis. 

The Neo G Multi Zone Compression Knee Support Sleeve has a specialized compartment for patellar fixation. The breathable and elastic material provides a sufficient amount of knee mobility while protecting the knee joint during walking, sitting, and climbing activities.

What is Also Nice?

  • This is a product produced by The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy in the UK, which is an association equivalent of the American Physical Therapy Association
  • This is an internationally registered medical-grade product: Class 1 Medical Device registered under the FDA (US), Health Canada & the MHRA (UK).

What is Not that Nice?

  • It’s a bit too hot wearing this while comparing to other sleeves type support on a summer day

Best knee support for meniscus tear- Shock Doctor Bionic Knee Brace with Compression Sleeve

Meniscus injuries are very prevalent in athletes. It requires a substantial amount of support for the knee joint following a meniscal tear. The range of motion of the injured knee joint must be controlled in a safe limit to prevent repetitive trauma on the already injured meniscus. 

The Shock Doctor Bionic Knee Brace with Compression Sleeve has a ROM limiter on the sides of a sturdy knee brace for maximum protection after meniscal injuries.

What is Also Nice?

  • This is a product that can provide level 3 + support for the prevention and recovery of serious knee injuries such as meniscus injuries, ligament sprains, and unstable joints
  • The compression sleeves under the brace make this a very comfortable one and are great for improve your performance

What is Not that Nice?

  • This brace is more expensive than other options suggested in this article

Best Knee Supports – FAQs

Is it ok to wear knee support all day?

Yes, you can wear a knee brace all day, but I would suggest you take it off when you sit down and rest on the bed so your skin can breathe and get some rest. Make sure you put on a knee brace with enough protection when you exercise if you had injured before.

Is Open Patella Knee Support Better?

An open patella supports helps to relieve pressure on the patella, which makes it better for one who wants to exercise for a long period and needs more patella support.

But for sure, at the end of the day, it all depends on your situation, supports with optimum levels of protection and freedom is always the best.

Best Knee Support – Useful Tips and Information

Here are some useful tips for using knee supports:

  • Some knee supports have size limits, you may need to provide the merchants with your tight and calf sizes to confirm they fit for you
  • Always check the braces before you put them on if there are any metal parts, you want to make sure all the metal parts of the braces are covered with cloths to prevent injuries
  • You may want to check with your doctor for choosing the best knee support 
  • Get a pair of high-quality badminton shoes could also reduce the stress on your knees too

Best Knee Support – Final Words

Knee supports are essential equipment to have in your badminton bag if you play a lot of badminton or sports.

Whether you are trying to heal an injured knee or prevent it from happening in the first place, any of the supports above make great options to keep you active.

Check out more useful guys regarding purchasing other sports gears:

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