The terror. The fright. The dreadful experience of tearing your ACL or tearing a ligament is no joke. It’s every sportsperson’s nightmare.
Not only are you prevented from running, lifting, cycling, whatever your sport may be, but it can stop you in your day-to-day life.
The worst part is, when you get that confirmation from the doctor, you know the road to recovery isn’t going to be easy. For those fitness fanatics and professional athletes, it can feel like the end of the world.
Long days in physio rooms, waiting around in rehabilitation centers, getting frustrated at how long it’s taking to heal. It’s a long process and you know you’re going to need support, both mentally and physically.
That’s why we’ve compiled in this article a list of our favorite ACL knee braces and ligament supports, to help you on your journey back to full fitness.
We’ve also included a handy buyer’s guide at the end of the article, so you know what to look out for when you’re searching for your new best friend in recovery; your new trusty knee support.
First on our list is the Orthomen hinged ROM Knee Brace. If you’re looking for something that’s simple but versatile, easy to use but provides full support, this could be the knee support for you.
This post-operative hinged knee bracing solution promises to fit every knee with its tool-free design and allowing you to adjust ROM, set the drop lock, alter the brace length, plus if the straps are too long, you can even cut them for a comfortable fit.
The brace also has collateral bars which prevent valgus and varus deformity and the simple ROM hinge with flexion and extension stops, helps control and limit knee flexion and extension.
Not only does this knee brace provide full support for ACL injuries but also multiple ligament injuries such as the PCL, MCL or LCL, meniscus damage, fractures, tendon repairs, and osteochondral repairs, so if you’re a regular sportsman or prone to injury, this is worth investing in for the future as you never know when you might need it again. (Although we’re of course praying you won’t need to!)
- Comfortable fit- Padding designed for patient comfort.
- Universal fit- Fits men and women, left or right leg, any sized knee.
- Range of motion- Telescoping adjustable ROM hinges for extension, flexion, and stabilization of the knee.
- Easy to use- Simply place the hinge axis in line with the knee rotational axis and adjust the strap length before fastening securely.
- Bulky– You may not be able to fit it under your pants.
If you’re looking for something slightly smaller and less bulky than the Orthomen hinged ROM Knee Brace, look no further than this Shock Doctor hinged knee brace.
Offering maximum support but in a smaller frame, the shock doctor compression brace promises to prevent and protect lateral instability, minor patella instability, meniscus tears and injuries, and ligament tears or sprains.
This brace is perfect for those getting back on their feet with smaller injuries or nearer recovery, plus the heavy-duty bilateral dual hinges allow a full range of motion whilst doing so.
Giving you peace and mind in hot weather or if you’re using it during a sweaty workout, this handy knee brace also has special airflow tech and is latex-free, which reduces odor, bacteria, and moisture.
Additionally, if fast recovery is on your radar, this knee brace is perfect and promises to lift and compress, supporting soft tissue, joint alignment, and relief, whilst boosting therapeutic heat for improved blood flow, aiding in healing muscle, tendon, and also ligament sprains.
- Universal fit- Pre-curved anatomical design and easy-grip tabs for accurate fitting on both the left and right knee on men and women.
- Range of motion- Bilateral dual hinges and four-way stretch Lycra mesh
- Peace of mind- Technology to prevent odor, bacteria, and moisture.
- Aids recovery- Be on your feet in no time with a knee brace that aids the healing process and improves blood flow.
- Sizing- Sizing runs small to be close-fitting and to provide the best protection, so we recommend always sizing up.
The DonJoy Bionic ACL knee brace is one of our favorites for those wanting to get back into intense sport quickly after an ACL injury, whether that be football, skiing, basketball, lacrosse, or volleyball, this brace is designed to help you get back on the field.
This sports performance support provides total ACL protection for post-op recovery and injury prevention for when you’re up and back on your feet.
The injury prevention technology in the DonJoy Bionic includes a four-point leverage system that trains users to stay out of the “at-risk” zone.
Feel totally secure with the DonJoy Bionic as not only do the adjustable straps and anti-migration technology promise an accurate fit and minimum sleeve movement but with extra reflectivity, your visibility in low-light conditions is enhanced, meaning playing sport in the winter or at night becomes much less of a worry.
This support does not only stop at ACL recovery, however, and is also designed to promote healing of meniscus tears, joint instabilities, ligament and tendon sprains, hyperextension, and patella issues, meaning you’re always equipped for any further injuries too.
With hinge technology and a four-point leverage system to prevent hyperextension and improve joint movement, you are prepared for anything.
- Safe- Added reflectivity technology for enhanced visibility in low-light conditions
- Range of motion- Hinge technology and a four-point leverage system
- Temperature controlled- Compression and thermal heat regulation prevents users from overheating.
- Ultimate support- Return to your favorite sport in no time with this sports performance knee brace that promotes recovery and prevents future injury.
- Easy to use- Wrap and secure straps, then adjust as needed for a personalized fit.
- Hinges are not padded- Can cause slight irritation or itching to sensitive skin.
This exodus knee brace is perfect for those in recovery from injury, offering first-class support with their patented 4-way anti-slip design and unique all-around 360-degree knee stabilizer.
Exodus designed this support with thorough research and planning to offer you the best all-around knee support after deconstructing over 25 open patella knee braces and figuring out what works best.
Through this research, they’ve created something that offers full support, stays in place, doesn’t feel bulky, and provides comfort all day long, so please give it a go!
Offering both supportive lateral and medial ligament protection, you’ll be able to play sports again with peace of mind knowing you’re fully supported and capable of a full range of motion with the dual cross torsion.
Exodus’s brand new innovative design also promises to stay in place and fit under your clothes with its slimline profile and non-bulky, non-restrictive stabilizer that still offers the best protection against not only MCL, LCL, and ACL tears but also arthritis, dislocation, and post-surgery injury recovery, making it the perfect knee brace for all.
- Comfortable- Brand new innovative and lightweight design offering maximum comfort
- Suitable for all ages- Great for all knee issues, whilst also being lightweight and breathable for elderly users.
- Ultimate support- 4-way adjustable compression with cross over torsion adds support from both sides which creates a true nonslip fit
- Hand wash only– Do not machine wash as adhesion quality can decrease
Returning to our hinged knee brace recommendations, we’re ending on this kefit hinged ROM knee brace, that offers extra stabilized support for ACL recovery, as well as ligament and meniscus injury recovery and fracture recovery.
Made of an aluminum bar and an added immobilization strap along with a sticky cloth and fastener straps, this support offers optimal comfort whilst also helping you push forward your rehabilitation program.
Whilst in recovery, however, you’ll still have full control of your knee motion if you opt for the kefit design with the adjustable locking dial, which provides a bilateral range of motion, and ROM hinge, which helps to control and limit knee flexion and extension.
With the kefit, you’ll also be purchasing a knee brace that offers maximum comfort with the easily adjustable buckle belt and soft pads to provide the best grip, preventing any slippage or movement when walking.
There are also fastening straps to ensure a secure fit all day long and promote hinged brace suspension. What’s not to love?
- Universal fit- Open design hinged knee brace suitable for men and women on the left or right leg, as well as easy-to-push button adjustable struts.
- Exceptional support- Made of an aluminum bar and an added immobilization strap whilst also using technology to allow full range of motion.
- Comfortable- Easily adjustable buckle belt and soft pads to provide the best grip.
- Heavy– Aluminum bar adds extra weight so may not be suitable for very small frames.
Finding the best ACL knee brace or ligament support can be overwhelming, but with this handy buyer’s guide, you’ll be on your journey to recovery in no time.
We’ve thought of the keys things to watch out for and consider when purchasing and researching what’s best for your injury, so what are you waiting for? Let’s dive in.
Level of Support
Like all parts of the body, different types of injuries need different types of support. The amount of support your knee is going to need is going to depends on the severity of your injury and the type of rehabilitation you’re undergoing.
If you’ve just undergone ACL surgery, for example, you’re going to need a lot more stabilization than a mild ligament strain, where you could get away with something that offers only a low level of support and won’t limit the flexibility of your knee as you start moving again.
A person’s level of activity will also determine what kind of support they need. An athlete, for example, is going to want something that aids recovery but is not physically restricting and offers enough support for them to get back into sports.
Whereas if the patient is elderly or requires a period of rest, a higher supporting brace that immobilizes their whole leg may be a better option.
As you recover, it’s common for patients to switch knee braces.
If you’re straight out of surgery, you’re going to want something that offers exceptional support and stabilization, yet as you begin your rehabilitation program, you will more often than not have the chance to switch to something less restrictive as you get moving again, until the support is no longer needed and you are fully recovered.
Range of Motion
Every chosen knee brace in this article was carefully selected because they offer such a full range of motion. If you’re looking for a knee brace to help you on your road to recovery, you want to be able to move in it, don’t you?
Make sure you research what technology the knee brace uses to provide support yet offer a complete extension of the knee when needed.
What kind of hinge technology does it have? Does it have a leverage system? Is the material stretchy? Every knee brace provides a different range of motion depending on the purpose of the brace and the level of support it offers, so be sure to check this out.
Most knee braces offer a range of sizes and it’s important to measure up and pick the right one. Not only is picking a size too small or too big going to be uncomfortable but it’s also going to be dangerous as it’s not going to offer you the correct support.
If a brace is too tight, you’ll be putting too much pressure on the injury and might end up causing further damage, whereas if it’s too loose, it won’t provide enough protection to aid recovery and support the knee in rehabilitation.
To prevent this, measure your knee where the brace is likely to sit rather than guessing what size to purchase.
Ensure you measure the leg diameter ten inches above the top of the kneecap and then the knee diameter from the top of the kneecap. You can always consult a physician if you’re still unsure.
Everyone values comfort in their clothes, in their shoes, in their homes, so what’s so different about knee supports?
Yes, you need it to be tight, you need it to support you and you need it to fit properly but you also need it not to rub, not to itch, or not to irritate that silky smooth sensitive skin. So what do you look for to ensure this optimal comfort?
First things first, you need to see what material is being used. For example, if you’re allergic to latex, opt for a latex-free design. This cancels out any irritation straight away.
Some materials we suggest you look out for maximum comfort are lycra, which is known for having that luxurious feel, as well as being super soft and breathable, hydrogel, which allows for the knee support to be used as a hot or cold pack, and neoprene, which is soft, thin and latex-free.
Secondly, if you’re purchasing a hinged ROM knee brace, check to see if they had comfortable pads on either side as the metal against your skin can not only rub and irritate but even bruise without them.
If you’re wearing a knee brace throughout your entire recovery, you want it to last right? Check out the production quality of your next knee brace.
How has it been made? What is it made out of? How much research has gone into it? It’s helpful to check the durability of the product by also checking out reviews.
How long has it lasted for other people? If you’re buying the product in person, you could even look at the stitching or shaping, this will give you a good idea of the quality of materials and how long they’re going to last too.
A knee brace should last at least a year and anything less than that suggests it was a poor-quality purchase. However, if the company you purchased from is reputable, they should offer replacements or return services, and contacting them should be easy.
So make sure you check out their return policy if you’re buying from a brand new company or if reviews are limited.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an ACL injury?
A partial or complete tear of the anterior cruciate ligament in the knee, causing knee pain, swelling, and hamper the leg movement. It always needs immediate medical attention.
When should I wear a knee brace?
A knee brace should be worn when advised by a physical therapist or medical professional but is generally used when you have pain in your knee, if you’re looking to prevent injury during sports, if you’ve been confirmed to have an injury that needs support in recovery or if you’ve just had surgery.
It’s often used for rehabilitative purposes, especially after surgery, and is designed to give you full support as you get back on your feet.
Can I wear a knee brace at night?
There are many different types of knee braces that your medical professional can guide you through, but the one that is suitable for sleeping in is the strap knee brace.
This is because this type of brace will not constrict blood flow, helping you sleep without worry and keeping your leg sturdy all through the night.