Knee braces for running information: What you Need to Know

There are several types of knee braces for running; information is key when it comes to choosing the right one. Although each kind of brace serves a different purpose they all have a common goal – to provide comfort, support and protection and prevention of injuries for the joint, bones, muscles and ligaments that form the knee. In order to understand knee braces one must first understand the knee itself.

The knee




·         Patella (kneecap)

·         Femur

·         Tibia

·         Lateral collateral (LCL)

·         Medial collateral (MCL)

·         Posterior cruciate (PCL)

·         Anterior cruciate (ACL)

·         Quadriceps

·         Hamstrings

Additionally, there are two oval cartilage discs known as menisci which are found between the femur and the tibia and which help in absorbing shock and providing stability. As a hinged joint, the knee connects the leg with the thigh by way of two articulations: between the femur and tibia and the femur and patella. The femur interacts with the tibia while the kneecap glides over the former. As for the ligaments, the LCL and MCL are found along the external and internal aspects of the knee and prevent it from shifting outward and inward respectively, while the ACL and PCL are inside the joint and stabilize it so that it doesn’t move forward or backward too much. Finally, the quadriceps are on the front of the knee while the hamstrings run down the knee’s back; this musculature allows the knee to move forward and backward.


The knee is susceptible to a number of injuries, the most common of which are:

·         Ligament sprains. A sprained ligament may lead to varying degrees of instability depending on the severity of the sprain. Symptoms include sharp pain with certain movements, dull pain when stationary, giving way when walking, restricted range-of-motion, and swelling.

·         Patellar tendonitis. Commonly known as jumper’s knee, this is an inflammation of the patella tendon on the bottom of the kneecap. Signs include the tendon being painful to touch and pain when beginning and finishing exercise.

·         Patellofemoral pain. Radiating pain from around the patella and to the knee’s front caused by muscle imbalances, lack of flexibility, and patella misalignment.

·         Patella dislocation. Pain at the front and sides of the knee due to patella partially (subluxation) or completely (dislocation) coming out of the groove.

·         Osteoarthritis. A chronic deterioration of the ends of the bones that form the knee joint. Symptoms include welling, stiffness, and a deep achiness or pain in the knee.

Knee braces for running information: Types of braces

As mentioned above, different types of knee braces perform different duties, though all share the purpose of shielding the knee joint. Here are a few examples.


·         Knee sleeve

May increase warmth, offer compression, and promote balance. Effective for the treatment of patella subluxation, patella dislocation, and abnormal patellofemoral tracking, though it does not support the ligamentous structures. Usually made of neoprene.

·         Prophylactic knee brace

Prevents or reduces severe injuries to the outer ligaments, especially those caused by impact or force.

·         Rehabilitative brace

Protects injured ligaments and limits range-of-motion following injury or surgery.


·         Functional brace

Offers stability and protection for the ACL and other ligaments following repairs, reconstructions, or injury, and limits hyperextension.

·         Unloader/Offloader

Relieves osteoarthritis pain by reducing pressure in the affected area and redistributing forces to other areas.