Types of knee braces for sports

Many types of knee braces can be used both to prevent and manage injuries and pain. As it turns out, falling in love is not the only thing that’s hard on the knees. The bones, muscles, tendons, cartilage, and ligaments that make up the knee are all prone to sports injuries. The general purpose of a knee brace is to decrease pain and increase stability without reducing function. That being said, there are several types of braces with different uses.

Knee brace types




·         Knee sleeves

A neoprene braces that slides over the knee to supply warmth, compression, and a heightened sense of support. May be used to treat patellofemoral pain or to relieve swelling. However, it does not increase knee stability after injury or surgery. May or may not include a kneecap; if it does, the kneepad offers extra protection to the front of the knee. May also include an opening for the kneecap, straps, or a buttress around the kneecap.



·         Knee pad

Lowers the risk of injury in activities such as volleyball, skateboarding, biking, or roller skating where there is a potential for direct blows to the front of the need, but do not increase stability. May include sleeves with extra padding or rigid external shells covering the front of the knee with straps around the leg to keep it in place.


·         Patellar Tracking

Orthosis Brace

The PTO brace may decrease pain for some athletes with patellofemoral pain caused by improper patella tracking. Includes a sleeve with a patella opening and straps or buttressing surrounding the opening to restrict patella movement and lower the risk of subluxation or dislocation. May also come with a hinge along the sides of the knee for extra stability.



·         Patellar strap

Should be placed halfway between the bottom of the kneecap and the bump on the shin, exerting pressure on the patellar tendon down to the front of the knee and onto the lower leg. This is believed to alleviate stress on the tendon and pain related to patellar tendonitis and Osgood-Schlatter disease.


·         Hinged knee brace

Designed to support the ligaments along the inside and outside of the knee and improve stability, and prevent injury during contact sports. It consists of 1 or 2 bars with hinges along the sides of the knee and straps to keep it in place. 


·         Knee bracing should occur under the supervision of a doctor or physical therapist.

·         Though several types of knee braces are available without a prescription, they should be used only after a proper diagnosis has been made.

·         A knee brace is only one tool to treat acute and overuse injuries. Other components of a rehabilitation program include flexibility, strength, range of motion, and balance.

Related Read:

On Bended Knee: A Knee Brace for Every Occasion