There are several types of knee braces available to choose from, such as sleeves, wraparound braces, hinged braces, and straps.
1. Knee sleeves come in different sizes, and you can slip them right over your knee. They provide knee compression, which helps control swelling and pain. Knee sleeves often work well for mild knee pain, and they help minimize arthritis. Sleeves are comfortable and can fit under clothing.
2. Wraparound or dual-wrap braces work well for athletes experiencing mild to moderate knee pain, providing more support than sleeves. These braces are easy to put on and take off, and can be used while training — they don’t have the bulk and heaviness of hinged braces.
3. Hinged knee braces are often used post-surgery, for patients and athletes who need a higher level of protection and support. This type of brace keeps your knee in the proper alignment when it bends, to help heal and avoid further injuries. Your doctor may recommend a hinged knee brace after surgery, but another type of brace when you’ve reached a certain point in the healing process. Hinged braces are either rigid or soft, with soft ones providing less support than rigid braces.
4. A Knee strap is a great solution if you suffer from knee pain due to runner’s knee or jumper’s knee (patellar tendonitis), Osgood-Schlatter disease, or patella tracking. It can fit under clothes and is easy to put on and take off. Wearing this type of strap helps prevent patella injuries and minimizes knee pain by putting compression on your patellar tendon.
5. Closed and open patella braces might be confusing when you see some braces with an open patella (a hole in the center of the brace) and others with a closed patella (no holes). Braces with an open patella allow relief of knee pressure and extra knee cap support with proper movement and tracking. Closed patella braces, on the other hand, offer compression at the knee cap with the same pressure as the rest of the knee and additional support. Ask your doctor if you are unsure which is a better option for your needs.