Types of Knee Braces

There are several different types of knee braces that range from simple compression sleeves to corrective braces. Based on the issues that you are having, your doctor or orthotist may suggest one of the following braces to be worn during certain activities or at all times.


  • Functional Knee Braces: This is a type of brace that provides support to a previously injured knee. Oftentimes athletes will wear them after an injury has healed in order to stabilize the knee, control motion, and prevent further injury.

  • Rehabilitative Braces: After surgery, this type of brace may be worn for several weeks to keep the knee stable but still allow some movement while the knee is healing.



  • Prophylactic Braces: These are designed to be used during specific activities, especially in contact sports such as football, to protect the knee from lateral or twisting forces.



How to Reduce Pain & Prevent Further Injury

When worn correctly, these braces have the ability to reduce pain and prevent further injury. However, there are a few common complaints that we receive with knee braces. Most of these issues have simple solutions.


  • “My brace keeps falling down when I walk.”
    • Since most people have a larger thigh and smaller calf, the conical shape of the leg itself allows the brace to migrate down the leg when you walk. You can try tightening the strap around your calf or try wearing something under the brace such as an ACE Some bandage or a sleeve such as Bracesox. Some braces also have adjustable metal uprights that your orthotist can contour to more intimately fit on your leg.


  • “The side of my knee is red after I take the brace off.”
    • Most often, we get this complaint from patients wearing an unloader style brace. This is because this style brace is providing correction to your leg and preventing it from going into the misaligned position it wants to be in. This is normal in this type of brace. Some redness is okay, but if it lasts more than 30-40 minutes or you begin to have skin breakdown caused by the brace, call your orthotist for an adjustment.


It is important to remember that while knee braces are an important part of recovery and prevention of injury, it is also important to maintain strength and flexibility in the muscles and tendons around your knee to reduce your risk of future injury.