Three Factors to Consider Before Buying a Knee Brace

Worried about a bum knee? A good brace helps reduce the strain. Here are three things to think about before you buy one.

Man hunting with dog
If your knees hurt after spending the day chasing a bird dog through the woods, a knee brace might be right for you.Mohammed Ouzzaoui/Unsplash

Yeah, your knees. It’s an old bowling injury. Maybe arthritis, but you sure don’t want to admit it. Whatever the reason, you’re thinking (or maybe the doc is suggesting) a knee brace or sleeve might be a good idea. Today’s sleeves are sleek, sometimes colorful and definitely way more cool than those of a generation ago. There are a variety of open and closed knee supports, some with additional stabilizing features. Here are three factors to help you decide which might be right for you.

Use

Bracoo knee brace
This neoprene brace features an open-patella design, with velcro-based adjustable supports providing greater flexibility in use.Bracoo

If power lifting or treadmilling is the plan, you'll need different support than if you're planning a basketball comeback. Mobility and support will vary with the knee sleeve. Choose one that works best for how you plan to use it. Be sure to measure for the right size.

Material

Cambivo knee sleeve
Knee sleeves like this one feature anti-slip construction material (nylon, latex and spandex) and come in a variety of color options.Cambivo

The material with which your brace is made determines your comfort as well as support. Durability, breathability, moisture-handling and ease of cleaning are related to the construction material, as is how well it stays in place. Many sleeves are made of neoprene, which offers flexibility as well as support.

Reviews

UFlex knee brace
Great reviews for this knee sleeve are a good indication of quality. Be sure to check how the reviewer is using the brace to make sure its right for you.UFlex Athletics

Depending on your activity, compression around major joints like your knees can be a good thing and help you improve your performance by reinforcing your muscles and movements. That said, don’t cinch a brace too tight around your leg thinking you’re doing yourself a favor because you might actually be limiting your circulation, which can cause injury when you release the pressure. Try to find a balance between feeling like you have a strong knee and not losing feeling in your leg from the knee down.