What Does a Knee Brace Actually Do?

What Does a Knee Brace Actually Do?

A knee brace is a tool that can be used to manage knee pain. Some wear them to prevent knee injuries in sports, whereas others wear it while walking to reduce pain. It works by shifting weight off of the injured part of the knee to reduce pain, improving your knee function.

Common conditions that benefit from knee bracing include:

  • ACL Injuries
  • MCL Injuries
  • Osteoarthritis 
  • Cartilage conditions and injuries
  • Osteochondritis Dissecans

How Does Knee Bracing Help Osteoarthritis?

While there is no cure for osteoarthritis, bracing can help reduce your symptoms. Osteoarthritis knee braces can help reduce strain on the arthritic part of the knee helping you get around better.

In fact, a research study involving people with knee arthritis showed that the majority of participants experienced significant reduction in pain after wearing a knee brace for 8 weeks. (Source:  Ref: Barnes CL et al. American Journal of Orthopaedics 2002 Jul; 31(7): 396-401) 

Knee brace courtesy of PhysioPlus Health Group (Read the caption):

The 4 Types Of Knee Braces and When To Wear Them

There are different types of knee braces that are used for different situations.

You have:

Functional Braces 

Athletes wear this type of brace to prevent injury or after an injury occurs. It works by providing a stabilization force to the knee during rotational motions to reduce likelihood of another injury. This is useful during treatment and rehabilitation of ligamentous and meniscal knee injuries.  

Rehabilitative Braces

These braces are typically worn right after surgery or major injury. It allows protected and controlled motions while the knee is healing after injury.

Prophylactic Knee Braces

This type of knee brace is used in sports like soccer or football to prevent or reduce knee injuries. It gives added support to ligaments during rotational stress.

Patellofemoral Braces

A patellofemoral brace is used to help prevent and reduce pain from runners’ knee. It does this by helping the kneecap move smoothly over your knee joint.

Here are some of the benefits of Custom Bracing (Read the caption) of courtesy of ADM Ottawa Physiotherapy:

Do Knee Braces Actually Work?

Long story short is the evidence is not clear if they actually do.

Generally rehabilitative and functional braces are though to be most effective at reducing injury. The other side is some believe that wearing a knee brace makes you more susceptible to other knee injuries. The reason is the muscles that help stabilize your knee can reduce in their function because they don’t have to work as hard with a brace on thus increasing the chances of injury when not wearing the brace.

It’s best to talk to your doctor or Physiotherapist to determine if a brace is right for you or not.

Now, even if you have a knee brace on, there is something more important and effective at preventing knee injuries. You need an exercise program that focuses on strengthening the muscles that support the knee. This is the most important key to preventing or recovering from knee injuries. 

Still Have Bracing Questions?

Finding the best knee brace for your condition is a big decision. Use the search box below to find a Bracing Physiotherapist near you. They can tell you what’s the most beneficial brace for your condition and also give you custom knee bracing options.

Check out this post from Full Function Rehab & Wellness:


This appointment is your opportunity to tell us what hurts and discover whether physiotherapy or chiropractic care is a good fit for you! During this session, you will talk with a physiotherapist or chiropractor on a phone call (or online) and create the right care plan specifically for your pain. There is no obligation on this session is to find out whether physiotherapy or chiropractic care can help you getting back to doing the things you love in life.

Frequently Asked Questions

You should workout based on an exercise plan created by your Physiotherapy or doctor. 

It’s important to know when and how long to wear a knee. If your Physiotherapists or doctor recommends it then you can do it. However,  constant braces use can actually weaken your muscles so it’s best to wear only when you have too.

If you have knee pain or want to protect your knee from injury, then you might consider a knee brace. Consulting with a physiotherapist is the best way to determine your appropriateness.

Medical Disclaimer:

The information presented in this blog post is for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, treatment or a diagnosis, consult with a medical professional such as one suggested on this website. The Clinic Accelerator Inc. and the author of this page are not liable for the associated risks of using or acting upon the information contained in this article.

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