The Best Knee Braces For Runners
What are the best knee braces for runners? At some point in their running career, most runners are likely to experience some form of knee injury or pain.
Knee braces help in alleviating such pain in addition to providing the necessary structural support following an injury. Its’ essential to choose an appropriate brace based on the injury suffered. Below, we take a look at the best knee braces for runners as follows:
Neoprene Knee Braces
Neoprene is a stretchy material that is renowned for its ability to insulate joints. Neoprene braces come in various sizes and serve multiple purposes. For instance, there are those that are simply sleeves that retain heat and provide compression, while others incorporate patellar stabilizers or hinges. Determining which neoprene brace is best for you is dictated by the specific injury that you are treating.
Patellar Stabilizing Knee Braces
Patellar tracking pain or injuries arise when the patella (commonly referred to as the kneecap) does not track properly in the femur’s groove, or thigh bone, resulting in friction and pain. A patellar stabilizing device is, therefore, vital in providing optimal patellar tracking. Typically, patellar stabilizing braces comprise a block, or strap that holds the patella in place while the knee moves through its range of motion.
When a runner begins to develop pain in the region immediately below the kneecap -also known as the patellar tendon-, sometimes a simple knee band will suffice to relieve the pain. Knee bands are simple straps that go around the knee’s circumference and help in relieving stress and strain on tendons thereby potentially decreasing the pain. They are commonly used in the management and treatment of Osgood Schlatter’s disease, runner’s knee, and tendonitis.
Arthritic Knee Braces and Unloaders
When runners’ joints are afflicted by arthritis, the joint space becomes compromised or diminishes due to degeneration. This diminished space is what subsequently leads to bone-on-bone contact that can be extremely painful. Unloader knee braces are specially designed with hinges to curb this bone friction and ultimately reduce pain.
Hinged Knee Braces
Hinged knee braces are typically bigger and provide greater support than neoprene braces. Additionally, they are more rigid and stable and may be customized to fit an individual. You are most likely to wear such braces following knee surgery. While some hinged braces are standard and adjustable, others are designed to limit the range of motion at different degrees depending on the movements made.
While knee braces may help in decreasing pain and providing support, they cannot be a substitute for rehabilitation of injuries and proper strengthening. Rather, they should be viewed as an aid and not the only solution to knee injuries. A qualified professional should potentially prescribe or recommend appropriate knee braces based on the type of injury suffered.
Regardless of the type of runners knee brace you need, The Brace Shop can help. In ordering your brace the size will depend on the brace chosen. Each should tell you what measurements are necessary for a proper fit as some may require measurement around the knee, others a thigh and calf measurement, and still others three inches below/above the knee. Regardless, these measurements can be compared to a knee brace sizing chart in order to establish the proper size. If you find yourself between sizes, it is always advisable to choose the larger of the two.