Update – January 2022
[We have added a new knee brace brand for hiking at #6 to make this list more exhaustive and current for our readers.]
12 hours of non-stop research, multiple power naps and many cups of coffee. All these efforts were made in the process of uncovering the best hiking knee braces present in the market today. According to us, it is the MODVEL 2 Pack Knee Brace which secures the top spot among the 6 best knee brace brands most suitable for hiking and other similar activities. It stays snug while making sure that your joints are still maintaining healthy blood circulation. It comes in 4 sizes, 6 color and suitable for all genders and ages.
A more affordable option will be the IPOW 2 Pack Knee Pain Relief & Patella Stabilizer Knee Strap Brace Support. The knee strap is used to protect the knees from sudden jerks and probable injuries while undertaking physically challenging activities.
Factors To Consider Before Buying
So our new year resolution was to get in shape or be more healthy (whatever false hope makes us pumped about the new year!). And we just remembered that a quarter of the year has just flown by. Anyways, we still have the rest of the year to us or so we think!
Now, we are going to start from today itself! Let us just collect the workout necessities first. The term knee brace sounds familiar but we don’t have much experience with the kind that the doctors don’t forcibly make the injured and the elderly wear.
Well, Google to the rescue! Information overload drowns us within 15 minutes of the research process. So we do the wise thing and keep reading this blog further to know the key factors we need to consider while buying this mythical armor called the knee brace!
We all are different and yet the same. This is the case with the various knee braces that each one of us requires. The four main types of knee braces are sleeves, supports, stabilizers, and hinges. The knee sleeves come with a specific size and we can just slip them over our knees quite easily.
Now, the knee supports are usually wrapped around the knees and are adjustable in nature. They offer additional warmth and compression too. The knee stabilizers are a bit more advanced and have steel springs installed on two sides that will eventually cover both sides of the knee. They are used to obtain advanced support for their use.
In the most tricky or delicate cases, the hinged knee braces are used. They provide the most advanced level of support which is required to restore or maintain the natural motion of the knee. These hinges facilitate the motion of the knee in the required manner.
Depending on the style, there are five main categories of the knee braces. These are the pull-up sleeves, wraparounds, knee straps, magnetic braces, and the neoprene braces. The pull up sleeves are mainly used in the case of minor injury or pain. It is important to get the correct size with them since that factor decides whether they will be beneficial or useless to us.
When the injury causes swelling around the knee or we just need more range with the fitting of the knee brace then the wraparounds turn out to be a good option. The knee strap is used to cure a number of knee-related conditions such as the Jumpers Knee, ITBS & anterior knee pain.
Magnetic braces have inbuilt magnets that accelerate the healing process and reduce the pain in a speedy manner. Heat retention is done most efficiently with the help of a neoprene brace which is used to reduce pain and swelling in the knee region.
When it comes to the size of the knee brace, the decision should not be made carelessly. There is no room for approximation game while picking a knee brace since that can make all the difference between a right or wrong knee brace for us.
The size of the knee brace takes into account the dimension of our knees, calf, thigh, leg and the area around the knee in some cases. Different kinds of knee braces rely on different knee dimensions to offer us that snug fit.
And that is why it is important to be really sure about the knee brace we are about to purchase, size-wise. When confused between two close sizes, it is always better to go with the bigger size. The smaller size selection may later cause trouble by constricting our nerves and the knee region too tight for comfort.
It is always better to go with a knee brace size that hits the right spot between rigid and flexible. Often, we don’t get to have both these options with our size selection. In that case, we have to make a choice between the support and the flexibility that comes with the use of knee braces.
The size of the knee brace is decided by the circumference of the knee below the kneecap. This is the best way to measure the knee brace size most comfortable for us. The snugness of the brace should not go to the point where it cuts off the circulation through our knees.
If that happens then it is the time to loosen up the straps and look for a bigger size that is rigid but not to the point that we feel numb in the knee region altogether. Compression sleeves offer maximum flexibility and free range of motion. But, we can’t rely much on them for providing advanced support.
Best Knee Braces For Hiking
The best of the knee braces can be bought with just a single click at the moment. But before that, it is important to do a quick search for each of the top contenders. Below is a list of our top 5 picks.
1. Winzone Knee Brace Support Sleeve
Among the various knee sleeves present in the market today, the Winzone Knee Brace Support Sleeve makes quite a statement. It is highly durable, comfortable and can be used during various high-stress physical activities. It comes at an affordable price range while giving us the benefits of a much expensive version.
- Extremely easy to use, it slips on and off in mere seconds.
- It is totally machine washable that makes its use all the more sanitary.
- Arthritis, ACL, Meniscus Tear and other kinds of knee-related troubles can easily be managed with its help.
- The well designed and non-bulky structure of this sleeve is perfect to give us a comfortable fit.
- Made completely of neoprene, it retains the heat to heal the pain and swelling in a swift manner.
- The size chart can be quite deceiving since the sizes run smaller than the standard measurements.
- Velcro on the sleeves does not last for long rendering the entire sleeve useless grip-wise after a while.
2. Ultra Flex Athletics Knee Compression Sleeve
The Ultra Flex Athletics Knee Compression Sleeve is made up of a blend of latex and spandex. This offers maximum elasticity thus making it perfect to be used by men, women, and kids. The design process for this product involved combining the newest 3D technology with the best quality materials to come up with a remarkable product.
- The standardized size chart helps us to pick the right size of knee brace without any hassles.
- It exerts a certain heating effect upon the injury that helps to reduce the inflammation and pain quickly.
- Anti-slip silicone offers that stable compression during various activities such as gym time, squats, weightlifting, yoga, fitness.
- Can be used for a speedy recovery while dealing with the runners & jumpers knee, arthritis, and tendonitis.
- The non-bulky texture has been made possible by using professional grade material including the nylon and lycra blend.
- Some people might be allergic to the material being used in its creations.
- The compression delivered by this sleeve is not up to the mark and may leave you wanting a better grip.
3. IPOW 2 Pack Knee Pain Relief Patella Stabilizer Knee Strap Brace Support
The knee strap brace comes with the 100% Money Back Guarantee which states how confident are the manufacturers of their product. It is a heavy duty knee brace that has been designed to be perfect for everyday wear and even to heal those stretched out injuries. Perfect to use outdoors, in the gym or even just to take a stroll outside.
- Made up of completely smooth and lightweight material, it wraps around the knee without causing any kind of irritation.
- The reinforces stitching all over this brace allows us to tighten or loosen it according to our requirements.
- The adjustable straps make it suitable for everyone from kids to adults without any problem with the size adjustment.
- Used mainly to provide the professional protection to the knees and alleviate the pressure applied at wrong angles.
- Comes with a resilient compression pad that absorbs all kinds of shock around the patella region of the knee.
- A bit bulky hence it is not possible to wear them underneath the jeans or trousers without them being noticeable.
- The pressure points created by this brace is too small and hence not useful when engaging in high-intensity physical activities.
4. Cho-Pat Dual Action Knee Strap
This knee strap comes with a patented technology that is used to offer a full range of motion without compromising upon the grip. Designed by a renowned orthodontist, it employs the technique of dispersing the pain and hence relieving stress a lot faster than its counterparts. It applies constant dynamic forces all over the knee so that we can perform all kinds of activities easily.
- Its extremely comfortable fit is known to give that seamless look even if we choose the wear underneath.
- The adjustable straps make it possible to easily take it off and put it on whenever required.
- Patented technology used in its creation offers maximum support below and above the kneecap without any sort of movement restriction.
- Using it regularly helps while dealing with all kinds of knee troubles including the Patellar tendonitis, walking downstairs, unilateral knee replacement, torn PCL, distance runners, osteoarthritis, Osgood Schlatter disease and pain above/below the knee.
- This strap offers all-around knee support that helps in reducing the stress over patella tendon and also slows down the erosion under the kneecap surface with repetitive knee movements.
- The fits of the brace are not good enough to stay in the right place for a long duration of time.
- Size of the brace tends to run small and might make the knee hurt more than before.
5. VIVE Hinged Knee Brace with Adjustable Open Patella Support
These braves have been designed specially to bring relief to the people suffering from weakness, injury or arthritis. Its strategic design helps in healing the current injury quickly and also discourage any new injuries from appearing. Aluminum hinges have been installed within it to reduce the levels of lateral knee movement.
- Comes with a sixty day no questions asked guarantee that will help the customers to order it with more confidence.
- Removable aluminum hinges are present on both sides of the brace that help in moderating the amount of support required.
- High-quality compression material being used offers support to the injured ligaments, muscles and tendon.
- Extremely lightweight and breathable neoprene have been used in its creation that makes it possible to wear it all day without any trouble.
- The presence of top and bottom straps make it possible for us to get that customized fit that removes the requirement of constant adjustment completely.
- The built of this brace is a bit bulky which makes it difficult to wear it on a daily basis for a longer duration.
- Aluminum hinges are very weak and not able to provide the amount of support required while wearing these braces.
6. MODVEL 2 Pack Knee Brace | Knee Compression Sleeve for Men & Women | Knee Support for Running | Medical Grade Knee Pads for Meniscus Tear, ACL, Arthritis, Joint Pain Relief.
The knee brace can be worn daily to stabilize your knees while healing or protecting you from future injuries. You can get one today for about 20 dollars.
- It comes with 100 percent moneyback guarantee.
- You can wear it for best performance and safety during baseball, soccer, golf, gym, basketball, hiking, volleyball, running and tennis.
- The Ergonomic design keeps your joints in a relaxed and safe position for the entire duration.
- This knee brace is made from a breathable and comfortable material to offer a desirable fit.
- It comes in a variety of color including orange, pink, green and black.
- They run too thick for summer or humid weathers.
- The sizing chart can be a bit misleading.
These were our top selections out of all the knee brace models present in the market today.
Hiker’s Knee – Medical Definition and Causes
The notorious hiker’s knee is responsible for playing spoilsport for tons of hikers. It forces you to do those last-minute cancellations. Or worse, drag your knee across the entire hiking trail. The latter may do some permanent damage so stay clear of that. Let us try to define this inconvenient syndrome first.
What is it?
The Hiker’s knee also goes by the name of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. More than a disease, it is a collection of symptoms. And people have tried to define it in a number of ways. Some categorize it as just the over-exertion of the knee. While others insist on sub-categorizing it on the basis of cause and aggravation.
In short, it is the discomfort caused by the kneecap due to weak or untrained quadriceps. In mild cases, it is not a medical condition. However, it might turn into an aggravated case of knee pain without proper rest and treatment. It is felt especially while walking downhill. The hikers do this movement over and over during their hikes. That is why it has got its name as hiker’s knee.
Few Common Causes
There are a number of reasons that will cause knee pain to worsen. The human cells degenerate with age. The renewal process is more frequent and effective in our youth but not so much after the first three decades.
The sedentary lifestyle is one of the biggest reasons behind the increasing number of Hiker’s knee cases. Most of the people are sitting on their desk at work all week. And then suddenly on the weekends, they decide to scale a mini Everest. Often, this weekend hike is not preceded by the required amount of training.
We cannot just shuttle between the sedentary and the active lifestyle willy-nilly. In addition to this, we have the tendonitis, arthritis and other early reminders of the old age. The added pressure on the knees in the form of the hefty backpack and the steep elevation wreck havoc on our knees.
There are a couple of habits that can help you fight the hiker’s knee to a great extent. Make them a part of your daily workout regime to prepare yourself better for the upcoming hiking season. Start with lunges. Only five minutes of doing them daily can help you build that leg definition and stronger knees.
Then comes the leg stretches. Do them right before your hike to loosen up the leg muscles. This will stretch your calves and hamstrings to keep them agile throughout the trail. Stationary bikes are a good way to train your leg muscles for the hikes.
Without a similar activity, your legs will become weak and stiff. That is a bad combination for prospective hikers. The seasoned hikers always ease into the hiking season. They gradually increase the length and intensity of their hikes. You can follow the same path to keep the hike-halting leg injuries away from you all season.
Another useful way is to keep a durable knee brace on. Read on to know how can it make your hikes more enjoyable.
How A Knee Brace Helps in Hiker’s Knee
The knee braces are designed in a way to keep the kneecap in the minimal stress position. Most of the knee braces share a few common features irrespective of the intent they are designed for. The braces are then specialized for specific purposes after the basic structure in place.
The hiker’s knee reduces your ability to walk or run on tough terrains without further damage. There may or may not be damaged ligaments in extreme cases. Whatever the situation may be, the stability rendered by the external straps of the knee brace will help you use your feet more efficiently. They offer extra support via the straps that keep you firm and stable on the ground.
A knee brace for hiker’s knee will offer better compression features. This facilitates faster healing of the inflammation. As a result, you will be able to move around without feeling that biting pain. Combine it with ice packs and you will fit as a fiddle in no time. Proper inflammation management and support structure make the knee braces an ideal remedy in the hiker’s knee cases.
The knee braces come in two main kinds of supports. The soft and rigid support. In case of not too severe cases of hiker’s knee, we use soft support. A soft support brace uses the compression feature to provide support and the right posture for minimal pain.
The knee braces with soft support usually come in the form of neoprene sleeves that you can easily slip into. It is very important to get properly diagnosed first. No matter how big or small the issue is. A correct diagnosis will help you be completely clear about your condition. That way you can invest in the right kind of knee brace with full confidence.
A knee brace with rigid support can be worn to both prevent and heal from injuries. These types of braces are made out of lightweight and strong material such as carbon fiber. They provide a tough cast to keep your knee completely protected at all times. These braces are designed to withstand the impact of damage without compromising mobility.
On rough and uneven terrains, you might slip your leg and fall down. People who are not that used to trekking across the rocky areas can benefit a lot from the rigid support knee brace. Depending upon how steep the slope is, this type of knee brace can be a lifesaver. As long as you have it on, you can keep on marching forward without any worry.
This was a basic overview of an average knee brace design. They are designed in this manner to offer maximum defense against hiker’s knee and other mobility inhibitor syndromes.
Different Knee Brace Materials And their Purpose
The type of material used majorly defines the properties of that knee brace. Following are a few of the main materials that are used in the creation of different kinds of knee braces.
The right fit is a very important factor in case of the knee braces. A knee brace with the wrong fit will have zero to a negative effect on your condition. So the braces with velcro straps have the upper hand in that department. They make sure that the knee brace stays in place even when you move.
But, you will have to replace them sooner than other kinds because the velcro wears easily. And without a properly working strap, the knee brace is of no use. So either invests in a really high-quality knee brace of this kind or stay away from them altogether.
The benefits of the copper-lined knee brace are many. They improve circulation, heal you faster and prevent further injury. The only problem is that there are not many scientific data to back these benefits yet. Their steep prices further make them out of reach for the majority of knee brace users.
These type of knee braces do offer next-level protection against impact damage. But, they don’t move well with your leg. This makes it quite tough to successfully implement them in the hiking activity. They also tend to add extra weight to the whole structure.
This synthetic rubber might seem too good to be true considering its benefits. It does not stretch out, moves with your legs and maintains its shape. Also known as polychloroprene, it is highly durable and strong. The water resistance makes it all the more useful in trying hiking conditions.
The cold and hot weather extremes do not faze it either. Its abrasion resistance will give you better protection in case you fall down and scrap the knee pad. But, some users complain that it has an odd odor to it. Also, you need something more sturdy than this if you have just got knee surgery.
If you are not a fan of the neoprene braces, try the fabric ones. They are available in both organic and synthetic blends with their share of pros and cons. A cotton knee brace will offer uncomparable softness and breathability. It prevents sweat accumulation and skin irritation. But, it might not hold its shape upon prolonged usage.
The polyester braces are durable, affordable and stay looking new for longer. They have been known to offer next-level durability that can come pretty handy while hiking across shaky paths. The fabric offers excellent resistance to water and wrinkles. But it lacks the breathability and the softness of natural cotton threads.
Also known as the lycra or spandex, it has been a hit in the women’s apparel for quite some time. The elasticity that it offers maintains the desirable posture for the user. It keeps its shape while moving with your movement. The elastane knee braces, knee pads, and sleeves serve well for daily use.
They are quick to dry hence you can wash them as often as you want. The sweat also evaporates as soon as it appears over it. Thus you are left with fresh smelling, dry and clean knee braces for use. You can use it for hiking or just at home if your hiker’s knee flares up.
The PU or PUR is known for being the foam in our beddings. It offers that much needed cushioning so that we can enjoy a relaxing sleep. It does to same to our kneepads and braces for comfortable movement. The PU kneepads are good for kids and new hikers who are still getting used to walking on bumpy paths.
These type of knee braces show high resilience, strength, and durability. They provide a good defense to your knees in case of a tumble. They cushion your knees and legs if you hit a rock by mistake. These paddings are gentle on your knees without compromising on your protection.
The leather knee braces available in the market are present in both real and natural leather variety. They were mainly used to improve the aesthetic appeal of the braces. But their toughness and durability have made them more than a showpiece in the knee brace industry.
The real leather knee braces require so much more maintenance. The breathability and cleaning might become an issue if you use it daily. You cannot just put it in the washing machine and call it a day. You might also need a polish or cream to fix any scratches that might appear eventually.
The compatibility of the human body with silicone has long been tested. So you don’t have to worry about how your body is going to react when in contact with silicone knee braces. These braces are known for their exceptional grip. The silicone is usually present on the lining to keep them in place.
Even the sweat or water fails against its strong grip on your skin. So your knee brace is going to stay in place when you are hiking on a sunny day. The eco-friendly nature of silicone further strengthens its spot as a useful and environmentally conscious purchase.
A blend of rubber with gel is used to make the rubbery substance that is used in gel knee braces. They are known for being highly elastic and pressure absorbing. You can use them while hiking on steep trails where your knee is going to be exerted more. They will equally distribute the force exerted on the knee upon kneeling on the rocky terrains.
Thus the excess pressure won’t be only on a portion of your knee. It will get evenly distributed to keep only a part of your knee from wearing out too soon. The elasticity and cushy coverage can be quite desirable during the hiking season when you are out for a hike week after week.
Go for a plastic knee brace if you are looking for variety, affordability, and durability. Since plastic can be molded in a variety of shapes and colors, you will have no shortage of options in this category. The manufacturers can even control the thickness and quality of the plastic being used.
But, they are not the most comfortable ones out there. They are not breathable or flexible. The grip and feel of them might not be as good as their counterparts. These knee braces won’t move with your knee and might leave a sore if worn consistently even after discomfort.
These are few of the many materials that are used in the knee brace industry today to offer a pair for every purpose.
Hiking With Bad Knees: How To Take Care
Don’t let your bad knees stop you from enjoying life to the fullest. Just follow a few key steps mentioned below to enjoy hiking as you used to before your knees started troubling you.
1. Pick smoother Route Downhill
With just a little bit of caution, we can easily escape many horrible injuries. People usually don’t pay much attention during the downhill process. It is during the descent that our knees suffer the most. We might not have to exert much pressure to climb down a hill or landscape.
But the combined impact of rough terrain and the gravity can seriously damage our knees over multiple occurrences. This is why is it is better to pick a smoother route downhill. Our knees will thank us later for this wise decision.
2. Leg Strengthening Exercises
Our brain gets sharper and our body gets stronger with constant use. A daily exercise with increasing difficulty level is what keeps our body in its best form. So if we have weak legs or bad knees then we can try some sort of exercise to make them stronger over time.
Unless we are seriously injured, we can always adopt some sort of exercise routine to keep our legs and knees in top condition. This will help us brave the difficult conditions without breaking down too soon under consistent pressure.
3. Trekking Poles and Knee Braces
Last but not least, the external support in the form of knee braces and trekking poles can be used to save our knees from overexertion. The stress of our tired body and the rough area will be distributed all over our body with the help of trekking poles. And the knee braces will absorb the shocks and jerks that our knee would otherwise have to bear as we hike far and wide.
The above list of precautions can help you get the most out of this hiking season even with bad knees.
Advantages of Wearing a Knee Brace
Today the knee braces have become the symbol of responsible hiking and exercising. Gone are the days when you will see it only on injured or old people. It has become an important accessory for people who adopt the beneficial active lifestyle.
1. Posture Improvement
A bad posture is both the cause and the result of knee pain. Ideally, your head should be at the center of the shoulders with them stretched out straight. The abdomen and pelvis should be in a straight line with the shoulders over them. But, the knee pain can ruin this entire alignment.
A good quality knee brace can help you realign your body in an ideal posture. This will help you take care of the current and future injuries. It will also help in lessening the pain as the knee brace will provide stable support. Your bad posture won’t be able to propagate the pain to your back and other parts of the body this way.
2. Help With Structural Knee Problems
There are cases where only one side of the knee is suffering from a specific ailment. The causes can be arthritis and several other similar pestering knee problems. In this scenario, you can take the help of the unloader or the offloader knee brace.
These braces are designed to provide added relief to the affected area. You might want to consult your doctor first. If you are new to the unloader knee braces then you might want to ask for a demo too. Make sure that they are snug and stay at the right place at all times.
3. Ligaments and Leg Muscle Safety
It is often the leg muscles or the ligaments that have to suffer the brunt of the wrong fit. Whether it is the wrong fit or worn-out shoe, the torn ligaments and bruised leg muscles are usually the end result. So make sure you fix that first. And after that get a suitable knee brace for you.
If you are a professional athlete or just like to stay active, invest early in a durable knee brace. It will save you from causing the totally avoidable damage to your legs. They will also help you maintain an active routine with a total absence of injuries as hindrances.
4. Better Warm-Up
An injury-free exercise should always be preceded by a quick warm-up session. You are supposed to stretch and make your body muscles limber in this process. This way your body is not stiff and prone to injury during the actual workout.
The knee brace gives you extra protection during the warm-up process. Most of these warm-up routines are of low impact. But they might put more stress on your knees and joints as you try to maintain the balance at all times. Wear a knee brace during such activities to shield your knees from all possible troubles.
5. Kneecap Pain Relief
The right knee brace can help you with all kinds of knee pain. For the kneecap pain, you might want to try the neoprene sleeve with the cutout. The pain is caused by the weak or injured cartilage under the kneecap.
In this case, you need to give sufficient rest to the kneecap. And, get those quadriceps stronger in the meantime. The knee brace will help you in both these situations. You can get a reliable medical consultation and then browse on the internet a bit. Thus, you will be able to get a perfect knee brace suitable for your requirement.
6. Safer Walking
You need to alternate well between the rest and the physical activity phase in case of the knee pain. You cannot just be resting all the time and hoping that your leg muscles will get stronger and better overnight. This is why walking as an exercise is prescribed the most to the knee pain patients.
But, you should not be putting any kind of load on the area of pain while walking either. All these concerns are addressed well with a knee brace. Keep it on at all times so that your daily activities do not sneak in any injuries in the process. Consult your doctor and get a suitable low-impact exercise routine chalked out for you. And follow it religiously with a knee brace on.
7. The Placebo Effect
Now, we are not saying that you just need to believe and the knee pain will go away. But, the power of the placebo effect cannot be denied. A lot of doctors believe that there might be a psychological angle to the knee braces too. And that is why the patients don’t might keeping it on after some time.
The knee brace gives a supportive and comfortable feel to the wearer. It is also a very visible reminder that they need to move carefully to prevent any further injury. So the second they put it on they get into a more careful mindset. This helps them heal doubly faster and prevent any further mishaps.
8. Proper Ligament Healing
It is not just the hiking but even the medical procedures show better end results with knee braces. The ACL (Anterior collateral ligament) injuries often require proper surgical procedures. And the recovery process after the surgery needs to be carefully monitored. A drop lock hinged brace is often prescribed in this situation by your therapist or the doctor.
This brace will help to enable assisted movement whenever required. Or, you can immobilize the knee during the wound dressing process and other processes. The hinged knee brace is the preferred choice in case of the MCL (medial collateral ligament) tears.
9. Prevents Dislocation
Dislocated knees need to be handled with care. This means that you need to take certain precautions to prevent it from popping out again. It requires a knee brace that is specialized for this purpose. This will help in keeping the kneecap structure in place.
The knee brace puts a bit of pressure on the ligaments and muscles of the area. It will maintain the entire dislocated knee in a good shape. You can move around without worrying anymore about your knee. There will be no further dislocation with the right knee brace’s support.
10. Offers Adjustable Comfort
Your legs might experience swelling after certain hikes. The knee brace should be able to accommodate that swelling with the help of adjustable straps. Thus, you won’t have to buy a ton of knee braces to use in every different phase of your activities.
The adjustable strap will also help you when you need extra support on those steep trails. You can tighten them up and move forward without deteriorating your kneecaps in the process. A fine knee brace will let you explore the wild without paying its price the entire following month.
A high-quality knee brace is a must-have for everyone who wants to lead an active and healthy lifestyle. Enjoy all the above-mentioned benefits by investing in one today.
Main Knee Brace Structural Models
The reasons to get a knee brace are numerous. It can be post-surgery recovery, pain reduction, daily activities or sports. The main knee brace models present in the market at present are as follows:
These lightweight sportswear solutions help the athletes focus and perform better at their game. They serve a number of purposes including pain control, dislocation prevention and curbing patellar instability. One can use them to deal with mild to moderate levels of knee-related issues.
You can adjust them according to your comfort level. Their lightweight makes them easy on the athletes who might have to wear them all day during the practice session. It is quite easy to put them on and off thus making them useful for all ages. You can manage the knee protection and comfort level for yourself by calibrating their strapping system.
They are the sleekest of all the knee braces out there. Their structure just comprises of a circular strap that can be put on with utmost ease. You can even wear them under your clothing and no one would know. They provide relief from the jumper’s knee, acute knee pain, runner’s knee, and other such syndromes.
They can be used for sports and daily activities for outstanding results. The knee brace puts a comfortable level of focused pressure on the knee area to get rid of the pain faster. You can try them on if you are tired of those bulky and very visible knee braces.
Just as their name suggests, they can be worn like a sleeve on your knee. They are discrete, comfortable, snug and quite easy to handle. Such braces are designed specifically to provide relief from arthritis and varying levels of chronic knee pain.
You will find them quite effective for sports training, daily movements and hiking purposes. They essentially redistribute the excess load exerted on the knee during different levels of physical activities. Wear them easily underneath your clothing or keep them on all day without noticing them much.
Open Vs. Closed Patella
Then there is the knee brace with either open or closed patella. Both versions have their own applications. You will use the open patella knee brace when you want to relieve the excess pressure from the kneecap/patella.
The closed patella knee brace will offer support and compression to the kneecap. This will be effective in case of a dislocated or injured knee situation. The brace will help maintain the correct posture and prevent any further damage.
The hinged knee brace comes in two main settings – the soft and the rigid hinge. The soft hinge is for moderate levels of support. For a strong support knee brace, you might want to try the rigid hinge support. The latter is used mainly in case of post-surgery or high impact sporting activities.
The stabilization post-surgery is mainly provided with the help of these hinged knee braces. These surgeries include the ACL, MCL or PCL tears. Poor ankle alignment, wrong landing, and ankle-twisting are the common causes of sports-related injuries. They can also be used by fit athletes who don’t want to be weighed down and lose speed during the match.
Open Vs. Closed Popliteal
The two main settings on this brace are open and closed. The popliteal is present right at the back of the knee brace. The open structure helps with airing the area out. Thus the knee region stays cool. This setting can be quite helpful in those hot and humid days.
The closed popliteal is used to keep the knee area warm in the cold regions. This can also be done to protect the recently injured knee from interacting with the environmental allergens. The closed popliteal offers better protection against minor jerks during the movement.
The custom knee braces can be used by everyone. Basically, your knee measurements and preferences will be noted down. And the final product may include features from two or more of the above-mentioned knee braces.
You can emphasize more upon the characteristics that you want to include and remove the ones you don’t particularly care about. You can get a breathable, low-maintenance and easy to use knee brace built to fit you just right.
These are the main types of knee brace structural models present in the market today.
Popular Styles of Hiking Knee Braces
After a certain amount of time, you should be able to build a tolerance to the trying hiking trails. Getting a well-fitting knee brace will help you in getting better with each hike. And, stay away from the various knee-related injuries that you might get afflicted with without it. Make the right decision by keeping your knee health and the nature of the trail in mind.
Dual Action Knee Strap
These types of knee braces are used most widely for hiking purposes. This is because they have numerous applications. Essentially, they provide full support at the top and bottom portion of the knee. The knee stays free for the full range of motion.
You can use them if you have been in surgery recently. They provide relief from the knee pain in cold weather conditions. Their grip helps in keeping your knee strong even on long-distance hikes. They suit the challenges of the uneven terrains. The weak knee and muscles without any exercise can gain the required assisted strength from these braces.
The rough terrains can’t mess up your knee if you remember to bring the knee caps along. They have been designed specifically to deal with the unpredictable terrains. If you are not familiar to the route you can put them on or just bring them along in your backpack. They are lightweight and hardly occupy much space.
They are good to be put over your outerwear too. This way the knee area of your bottom wear will also stay protected while you are crawling your way up the impossible paths. They offer full movement and offer better control while hiking across loose gravel areas.
These strapped knee braces are known for their customization properties. They come with soft padding, proper velcro straps, and heavy-duty material. You might want to combine them with the fleece knee warmer in the colder regions.
They are good for long-distance hikes. You can find them in a number of sizes and shapes. You can select the one that suits your upcoming hiking terrain and your present knee situation the best. This way you can have one dedicated knee strap for every kind of hiking situation.
The above-mentioned knee braces are the most popular styles for hiking at the moment.
Few Limitations of Wearing a Knee Brace
Nothing is perfect. And, that is why you need to know about the handful of limitations that knee braces have. This way you will be able to make a more informed purchase.
Sports Activity Related Limitations
Some of the braces of having a tough material with a metal lining. It might cause injury to other players in case of accidental collision with them. They might limit the speed and movement if you don’t have the right fit on. You might start relying on them too much. And this will cause you to develop a false sense of security. The recently operated MCL and ACL might not always respond well to the selected knee brace.
Daily Movement Related Limitations
Sometimes, people prefer the basic stretching exercises over getting a knee brace. They find it easier to accommodate them into their daily routine. Also, not all people will experience noticeable levels of pain relief with the knee brace. Often you have to use them in combination with proper exercise and medication.
Hiking Related Limitations
The hiking trails are already challenging enough with all the knick-knack required for the journey. The knee braces become one more thing to keep track of and maintain for every single outing. On those never-ending trails, the braces with some extra body will start to feel gigantic to be carrying around along the way. Redness, irritation, and chaffing are few other side-effects of an ill-fitting brace. Some might experience swelling around the knee region too as an inconvenient by-product.
Make it a point to stick to a knee brace that has as little as possible of the above-mentioned limitations.
A Knee Brace Life Cycle – Responsible Usage and Replacement
You are supposed to replace a knee brace every so often. No matter how good or expensive the model is. So it makes sense to know a bit more about the life cycle of a knee brace, how to maintain it well and replace it on time. A worn-out knee brace is just another injury waiting to happen.
It is a good practice to wash them with a mild soap every couple of weeks during the hiking season. This will prevent the dust and sweat to accumulate and fester in the pits of the knee brace. You will be more protected against skin infections this way. The metal casing should be properly covered to prevent any accidental injury to another person upon impact.
This depends on a lot of factors. The material used, usage frequency, handling, and future applications. You might want to replace it if it is all stretched out and loose on the knees. If the shape and fit are compromised, it is of no use anymore. A good quality knee brace will last upto 3 years with proper use. And it might give up within 90 days too with reckless handling.
Make your knee brace stay in good shape throughout by taking care of these few points.
The knee brace industry has grown parallel to the gymming and sports culture. Today, people wear it for a lot of different reasons. The latest stylish braces do make a cool fitness accessory. This will help you in making it a regular in your hiking events. With a bit of research, you will have enough knowledge to use and maintain it well over the course of time. Make sure that you go with the right style and fit for your requirement. And get it custom-fitted to make it even more useful for you.
The MODVEL 2 Pack Knee Brace is a clear winner for us for the year 2022. You will really appreciate its snug compression and non-slip design.
This brings us to the end of this post. Did you have fun reading it? Was it helpful to you in any way? If yes then do forward it on your socials and share the information with your family and friends. Tell us your favorite pick in terms of knee braces in the comment section below.