Running is a favorite activity for fitness enthusiasts and understandably so. Running helps strengthen muscles, maintain a healthy weight and ward off depression and anxiety.
Running has also become popular because it’s accessible to everyone and requires no special equipment or skill.
However, running and other high-impact sports can cause several physical ailments such as patellar tendonitis which can get in the way of enjoying the activity, but what exactly is it?
Patellar tendonitis occurs when there is repeated stress on the tendon that connects the shinbone and kneecap. Typically, the injury is common to runners due to impact on the leg during activity and it causes small tears in the tendon.
As the tears increase it causes pain and inflammation. What are the signs that you may be suffering from patellar tendonitis?
- Tight muscles
- Pain in knee
If you notice any of the above it may be worth a trip to your physician for a diagnosis. A doctor will recommend resting as much as possible, keeping the knee elevated and various exercises for strength.
So, how can you continue to support the knee once you return to normal exercise?
Thankfully there are some great knee braces on the market to help you enjoy your favorite activities with minimal pain and optimum support.
Let’s look at a few popular ones currently available.
The Braceability knee brace comes in 7 sizes. It is advised that you watch the accompanying video for advice on sizing before making your selection.
The brace offers support to the front and back of the knee through the use of J-Lat stabilizer and C buttress that is easily customizable. The brace is carefully designed to prevent injury and provide all round protection to the knee.
The material is good quality neoprene which fits snugly around the knee providing reassurance and warmth. The construction has been tested against medical grade braces and has been proved to be more durable than retail products.
The pull on sleeve makes it easy to put on and remove and the flexible spiral allows the knee to move whilst remaining supported. It also benefits from an open patella that leaves the kneecap exposed to reduce any direct stress from the brace.
Reviews are mostly good with comfort being the most positive feature. Some mention the heat it generates can be a problem during hot weather.
- Selection of sizes
- Open patella
- Can get hot
Slightly cheaper than the previous product this hinged knee support allows full movement alongside protection for an injured knee.
The great advantage of this support is it offers an adjustable strap and removable hinges meaning you can change the level of support you need at any time. The hinges are strong but flexible, providing stability and comfort in equal measures.
The open patella provides comfort to the back of the knee and is also fully adjustable. The hinges are cushioned, avoiding any discomfort.
The company is fully confident in the knee brace and offers a years guarantee with a promise of refund if it disappoints in any way.
The brace is a great option for getting moving once again after injury with the reassurance you will suffer minimal pain, as you know is fully supported.
Reviews are outstanding with buyers mentioning the benefit of adjusting the brace depending on the level of swelling on any given day.
- Adjustable strap and hinges
- Occasionally goes out of stock
The IPOW knee support is a cheap option and ideal for preventing development of patellar tendonitis. It’s affordable and offers pain relief through it’s shock absorbing design. It works by evenly distributing shock levels throughout the knee joint.
The brace is fully adjustable to suit individual knees; it supports the patella tendon preventing pain and injury. The brace is super easy to put on and take off.
The supports are well-made with fabrics that are breathable and smooth as well as staying in the same place whatever the exercise. The braces come in several colors if you fancy matching them with the rest of your fitness outfits.
Reviews are mostly good. Buyers comment on the convenience of use and reduction in pain with advice to not wear them too tight so as not to restrict blood supply.
- Easy to use
- Prevention use
- Breathable materials
- Not comfortable if worn too tight
These knee braces are ideal if you prefer an all-in-one knee support without the open front. The braces benefit from high compression and a sleeve design and fully supports and stabilizes the knee joint. In addition, the sleeve can be used on the left or right knee.
Ergonomically designed the brace allows you to continue an active lifestyle fully confident your knees won’t suffer. It’s important to choose the right size or the effect will be compromised.
The best way to identify the right size for you is to measure around the thigh, 4 inches (ca. 10 cm) above knee and match with the sizing chart provided.
The sleeve also has integrated silicone strips that prevent slippage during workouts and runs. The compression is perfectly balanced to provide support without preventing sufficient blood supply.
Reviews are positive. Buyers comment on the secure fitting and reduced pain on use, even saying the sleeves have enabled them to walk once again.
- High compression
- Non-slip materials
- Double knee use
- No open front
This highly supportive knee brace is made from knitted fabric, providing breathability and sweat absorption properties.
Integrated into the knee cap area are patella gel pads that stabilize the joint as well as providing support to the sides of the knees.
Super comfy, the knee brace is the perfect choice for post injury recovery and prevention of future injury. The sleeves also have metal springs in the side to provide extra stability.
The sides are made from thickened material to ensure the sleeve doesn’t slip down during exercise. The sleeves are multifunctional and ideal for a variety of injuries and conditions, including patellar tendonitis.
- Breathable knitted fabric
- Supportive gel pads
- Can get hot
The Dual Petella knee brace is a great option for relieving pain. A strong silicone tube woven inside breathable fabric provides effective shock absorption and impact support.
The fabric is comfortable, not itchy and absorbent. It’s quick to put on, making it ideal for busy active people.
The shape of the strap allows for the new cap to be free but with support underneath and to
The side is fully adjustable on both ends. There are two buckles to fit the strap into. You can tighten the strap depending on what level of support is needed, allowing you to stay flexible but secure.
Reviews are good, with buyers commenting on the support they feel surrounding the knee cap and extra mobility the sleeve provides. Some comments are made about the thickness of straps making it tricky to wear clothes underneath.
- Full shock absorption
- Comfortable fabric
- Adjustable straps
- Thick straps may be a problem
A slightly more costly option, the Vive knee wrap offers a unique hot cold feature to help reduce inflammation and swelling. It includes three arctic flex gel packs that can be added or removed as needed.
The packs slide into pockets, two at the front and one at the back to provide relief from pain. The packs are reusable and leakproof.
The brace consists of strong fasteners and adjustable straps to increase or decrease tightness as needed. The brace is suitable for the right or left knee.
The materials are lightweight and breathable providing comfort without irritation.
The reviews are outstanding with most buyers commenting that the brace feels secure as it wraps around the whole leg. Some bought better ice packs that fit into the pockets others comment the ones provided are satisfactory.
- Hot/cold pack included
- Strong fasteners
- Lightweight material
- No extra ice packs included
This knee brace has the benefit of an extended strap to provide flexible support for the knee. High elasticity means you can make it as loose or tight as required.
The brace is made from good quality polyester that is comfortable, breathable, and soft on the skin. The fabric is sweat absorbent and doesn’t cause skin irritation.
The inside of the brace has soft elastic spring support which reduces pressure on the knee joint on either side. The brace has been designed with a specific right and left knee in mind making it fit better and do a better job than others on the market.
The brace works at preventing tendonitis as well as supporting healing and increasing mobility.
Reviews are good and many buyers comment on the lightweight nature of the brace.
- Absorbent fabric
- Knee specific
- Not suitable for extreme injuries
15.59 x 6.54 x 5.59 inches (ca. 14 cm); 1.43 Pounds
The master of knee braces is the most expensive option so far however this brace provides top of the range support for all manner of injuries, long term conditions and prevention.
The brace comes in 23 different sizes meaning it’s a customizable option. Be sure to check the sizing chart before purchase to find the right one for you.
When using for the first time open up all the straps and place the joint in line with the knee before tightening to required level. It has neoprene condoyles on both joints that help reduce pain and prevent degeneration of the knee joint.
The brace frame is durable plastic but bends in the right places and stainless steel polycentric hinges ensure body weight is kept off the knee.
Reviews are mostly good with many comments on the importance of securing it properly for optimum use.
- Superior quality
- 23 sizes
- Durable and adjustable
The WEBTECH knee brace offers the ultimate in shock absorption. The brace is covered with a silicone web that takes impact away from the knee area.
It’s also fitted with dual axis hinges that improve fit and articulation. The mesh situated on the back pad offers breathability and a comfortable fit.
The brace also has integrated reflectivity for clear visibility. The inclusion of lycra makes it super flexible and the mesh material adds extra protection and avoidance of heat.
Reviews are excellent with buyers commenting on the flexibility and ability to wear during any sport. There are some comments about the poor quality of the velcro but easily replaced.
- Silicone web
- Highly visible
- Flexible lycra
- May need to replace velcro
It can be confusing when looking for the right brace, but there are certain things to look out for to make the decision easier. Braces usually come in a 1-3 range with level 1 offering the least support but making up for it in flexibility.
Levels 1s are usually knee sleeves that are easy to put on and provide moderate support to mild injuries or prevention of conditions such as patellar tendonitis. Knee sleeves are a comfortable option and are usually fairly cheap.
Some fully enclose the knee whilst others expose the knee providing support underneath and around the sides.
A level 2 brace is more supportive but less flexible. You can still move with a level 2 but not quite as smoothly.
Straps and wraparound braces are examples of level 2 support and are the best for pain relief from ailments such as tendonitis or ligament issues. The dual wrap or wrap around braces are slightly heavier than a sleeve but are still flexible and accessible.
They are useful for training and provide the right support for increasing physical activity when needed.
Finally, the level 3 provides the most support but restricts movement substantially.
Hinged knee braces are heavier meaning they are difficult to wear comfortably during exercise but ideal if you want to gradually increase physical activity after an injury or operation. They provide secure support by aligning the knee correctly where it bends.
When choosing a brace it will need the right compression combined with comfort. If it’s too tight you are unlikely to continue wearing it, and it may slow down blood circulation and if it’s too loose it won’t do its job.
If ordering online, consider ordering several braces to see which one you get on with. The right brace is a personal matter and each person will respond differently. Most retailers will allow you to send items back if needed.
Although all types of brace can help with patellar tendonitis the strap style brace seems particularly useful for the condition.
The strap works by compressing the patellar tendon and limiting stress on it and can also reduce swelling. The pads that are built into the strap can stimulate the specific tendon and target compression.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I put on a knee brace?
All braces are different but most are quite easy to fit. Any brace you choose should come with fitting instructions.
Be sure to read instructions carefully, so you avoid doing any further injury whilst putting the brace on. Make sure you stay seated and don’t put pressure on the offending limb.
How do I clean the brace?
If you’re using the brace daily it’s likely it will pick up some dirt. It’s best to use gentle household soap to protect the fabric and reduce bacteria however it will depend on the material.
Some material doesn’t respond well to harsh chemicals so be sure to check online for advice on the best product to use.
How long should I wear a brace for?
This will depend on the nature of your injury and the predicted recovery time frame. Some conditions are ongoing, and you should consider wearing the brace permanently to prevent it from getting worse.
However, if it is an injury you will likely recover from speak to your physician about the time frame. If you are due to have an x-ray you should wear the brace until you know the condition of injury and if it has healed.
Protecting your knees is important for long term overall mobility and wearing a brace can help the healing process from injuries and conditions such as patellar tendonitis, so wearing a knee brace certainly is a good investment for the health of your limbs.