How to Choose an Appropriate Knee Brace for Running
Running is an excellent activity that supports your physical and mental health, increases your energy and stamina, and keeps you active. There’s nothing like getting sidelined with an injury to make you realize just how important health and wellness are. Knee injuries and knee pain can knock you off your feet and disrupt your running routine.
Using a knee brace for running can help you support and treat your knee, help your body recover more quickly, and prevent re-injury or further damage from occurring. Not all braces are created equal, however. It’s important to find the model that’s ideal for your individual needs.
Here, we’ll cover four primary types of knee braces. Most knee braces utilize a combination of two or more of the features of each type, but they are basically broken down into:
Each brace is unique in terms of its features, support, protection, range of motion, and comfort.
Hinged knee braces offer the most protection and support of the four types of knee braces. They also restrict movement the most. As you can imagine, hinged braces feature hinged brackets at the side. The hinges prevent the knee from hyperextending or twisting in a way that will cause re-injury or impede the healing process.
Hinged knee braces are often used for ligament injuries like ACL, MCL, or PCL injuries. These braces are used to encourage proper tracking, limit movement, and minimize the risk of further injury. What’s more, these braces are often used post-surgery to provide maximum support of the knee during recovery.
Hinged braces are either soft or rigid. Rigid braces provide maximum protection and limit the range of motion. Soft braces still provide protection and support but allow greater movement and range of motion.
Compression knee braces, sometimes called sleeves, typically slide over the knee to provide protection and deliver compression treatment. Compression sleeves help regulate temperature around the knee, improve circulation, promote proper alignment, prevent soreness and tightness, and help injuries and muscles recover quickly.
If you want a knee brace for running, and your primary goal is injury prevention, a compression sleeve may be the way to go. Compression sleeves are a great way to increase circulation to the knee through compression. If you have mild knee stiffness or pain, a compression sleeve can be worn during activity and after activity.
Because compression sleeves regulate body temperature, ligaments and muscles retain elasticity better and are at less risk of temperature-induced injury. Many knee braces, like hinged braces and wraparounds, feature compression technology to improve recovery and support.
Wraparound knee braces provide more support than a compression sleeve but offer a greater range of motion than more restrictive hinged braces. Wraparound knee braces wrap around the knee, making them convenient to put on and take off. These braces tend to be softer and lighter than hinged braces, they but still offer ample support and protection.
Wraparound knee braces deliver treatment for mild to moderate knee pain, stiffness, improper tracking, and patellar instabilities. Their-low profile design, soft construction, and lightweight design help minimize their intrusiveness.
Many wraparound knee braces offer hinged support, delivering an easy-to-wear, ultra-supportive brace that promotes rapid recovery and proper alignment. A wraparound knee brace for running can help you relieve knee pain and develop healthy running mechanics.
Knee bands are small braces that are worn over or adjacent to the patella. These easy-to-use, simple-to-put-on braces are made to be worn before, during, and after activity. They’re ideal knee braces for running because they alleviate pain, encourage proper joint tracking, and can even ease patellar tendonitis.
Because knee bands deliver compression to the patellar tendon, they are ideal for runners who suffer from runner’s knee or jumper’s knee. They also suit those who require an aid to promote properly aligned patellar tracking.
When wrapped above the knee, a knee band will reduce stress where the IT band tightens and causes friction around the kneecap. When placed below the knee, a knee band will reduce stress on the patellar tendon. What’s more, the compressed sensation drives attention toward the knee and stimulates better mechanics.
Hole or No Hole
You may have noticed that some knee braces have a hole over the kneecap and others don’t. This isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s about support, protection, and rehabilitation. Depending on your condition, you may want a knee brace that offers greater movement or more restriction of the patella.
Knee braces with holes are called open patella braces. These braces tend to be more comfortable and provide more movement of the patella. Open patella braces don’t compress the kneecap.
Likewise, closed patella braces should be used to reduce swelling and inflammation and shouldn’t be used for activities with an exaggerated range of motion, as this can increase the risk of further injury.
Type of Injury
The condition of your knee will dictate which knee brace is right for you. If you suffer from minor knee pain after extensive use, a compression sleeve is most likely the right brace for you. If you suffer from knee instability due to injured or compromised ligaments, you’ll need a much more supportive knee brace like a hinged brace.
The Right Support for You
Finding the right knee brace for running is about finding the right brace for your injury, body, and recovery plan. Consult with your doctor to discuss what knee brace is right for your condition. If you have any questions about knee braces, we’re here to help. Contact one of our helpful customer service reps with any questions you may have.