woman wearing knee brace

Best Knee Braces Australia - Expert Review

Knee injuries can be extremely painful, not only in the moment but for months and years to come. Regardless of whether or not you're planning on taking part in sports and exercise, using a knee support brace might be a smart move. Utilizing a knee brace is also a fantastic preventative measure that can minimize your chances of injury.

It's a popular misconception that knee braces are only used by athletes or individuals with prior injuries, as often these kinds of supports are also prescribed for the elderly or people with joint problems. These support instruments are also commonly used for rehabilitation purposes, specifically ACL injuries. And just like all other sports equipment, getting the correct knee support brace will give you peace of mind when engaging in your preferred activities.

Searching for the correct knee support brace can oftentimes leave you at a crossroads, as there are hundreds of different choices available on the market. Fortunately for you, we've compiled this article to help you pick the best knee brace for your unique needs. You'll get a comprehensive buyers guide of what types of knee braces and brands are available on the Australian market in 2021, and the particular features to look out for.

How To Choose The Right Knee Brace

Before trying to choose the perfect brace, it's important to know what kind of injury you have. If you're uncertain of your injury type then it's important to speak to your physical therapist. Purchasing a knee brace that's not specifically designed to support your type of injury can, in fact, be dangerous and leave you exposed to further complications.

Once your physical therapist has given you a concrete diagnosis then your search for the perfect knee brace will be narrowed down to those that fit within the criteria of your specific injury. As an example, there are several alternative types of knee support braces designed for causes such as:

  • Arthritis Braces
  • Post-Surgery Braces  
  • ACL Braces  

All of the above-mentioned examples come with differing fitting and features that support specific areas and relieve pressure in other locations around the knee.

Planned Activity And Level of Support

Another thing that needs to be taken into consideration when deciding on a knee brace is your planned level of activity. For example, an athlete with a modest knee injury might opt for a brace that offers low-level support, pressure, and pain relief while also allowing them to continue exercising without restricting their mobility. Equivalently, a rehabilitation patient may require a rest period with minimal knee mobility and interference. In this case, they'd want a brace with better support to guarantee that the injured area is truly immobilized.

Furthermore, during the process of injury recovery, you might have to change from one brace to another. For instance, you might be required to start with a brace that offers ultimate support when the injury is fresh and as the healing process ensues moves down and minimizes the levels of the fitting, support, and pressure.

What To Consider When Purchasing A Knee Brace

Different people will ultimately require distinct knee braces depending on their physical complications and overall activity. The following are the main features to consider before purchasing a knee brace.

physiotherapy knee brace
  • Flexibility: A key indicator of how well a knee brace can improve your condition and enhance performance is flexibility. For example, if you're a frequent runner or cyclist, you'll want a more moderate knee brace for sports with high flexibility otherwise you may restrict too much movement. Whereas, if your daily activities involve hard performance sports or lifting then you'll want a tighter fitted brace with minimal flexibility and enhanced support.
  • Durability: Even though many knee braces are made from similar materials, the variable will depend on the manufacturing quality and standards. A great indicator of quality is the product's stitching and the shape of the brace. It's important to note that any product that's intended use is for physical activity will most likely experience wear and have a limited lifespan, yet by opting for higher-quality the product will last longer. Trustworthy knee support brace companies will offer return and replacement services, which are commonly indicated on their websites. Therefore, before purchasing any knee brace find out if they offer a refund policy in the case of unexpected wear and tear, or factory defected products.
  • Warmth: Improved circulation is a key benefit of wearing knee braces, which helps to improve recovery and performance. Depending on your unique situation you will have different recovery priorities. Some individuals prefer extra warmth, while others don't, meaning that this feature is oftentimes based on personal preferences and temperature sensitivity. Thicker knee braces will be warmer than thinner options which are often cooler. You may even want to consider a heated knee brace.
  • Material: The manufacturing material of the knee support brace depends greatly on the type and usage. A neoprene brace requires more than just an elasticated fabric to perform its intended purpose correctly. Therefore, your reason for wearing a knee brace will help you better understand the material you'd require. 
  • Comfort: – This feature is a very personal factor when deciding on a knee brace. Ultimately, depending on the individual there will be varied viewpoints when it comes to comfort. Nevertheless, the ergonomics of your knee brace plays a crucial role in whether or not you feel happy wearing it, which can oftentimes be ignored. Your level of comfort plays a big role in recovery time and overall performance. 
  • Support and compression: The best way to figure out the level of compression and support needed is to understand the specifications you require for your health condition or activities. Higher levels of support and compression will most likely require better manufacturing and materials. You may have noticed how cheaper braces are often utilized for light recovery and exercise, whereas higher-quality braces are commonly used for more in-depth rehabilitation, lifting, and harder workouts like CrossFit.
  • Sizing: You'll find that different manufacturers and brands offer varying size guides. If you're uncertain about what size knee brace would work best for you it can be advisable to contact your physical therapist as they would be able to guide you. Purchasing a loosely fitted or extremely tight knee brace can ultimately affect your recovery time, and in the worst case complicate your condition further should you opt for the incorrect size.

Examples Of Medical Conditions That Require Knee Braces

These are the most common medical condition that can affect the knee region which may require the use of knee braces:

Heat Knee Braces to prevent tears

1. Osteoarthritis:

Osteoarthritis is a medical condition that affects the whole knee joint. It’s a very common type of arthritis that affects older people and is generally referred to as wear-and-tear arthritis. Oftentimes, it can be more severe in one knee, creating misalignment between both knees. Patients with this knee disease often appear to have a knocked-knee. It can start as a minimal bother yet worsens over time.

 The use of a knee brace for arthritis won't cure the disease, rather it releases pressure on the affected knee and assists in reducing pain. A knee brace can also help with regaining a certain balance while you manage the disease. It's important to remember that utilizing a knee brace is not a cure, but rather a means to mitigate pains.


2. Meniscus tears:

Meniscus is a cartilage in the knee that sustains the joint. Its main duty is to protect the bones in the knee joint from wear. This type of injury normally occurs when twisting the knee leading to a rupture of the cartilage. Although extremely common, a meniscus tear can be quite painful and requires medical attention and prolonged use of knee braces to correct.

3. ACL tears:

The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is one of the two ligaments in the knee area that spans over the center. It unites your shinbone and thigh bone, providing balance to your joint. An ACL injury refers to a tear or sprain of the ligament. Commonly with this type of injury the knee would become extremely inflamed. It can be quite painful and is an injury that many seek to avoid. A knee support brace for ACL can be great tools to help prevent, as well as treat the injury.

Key Benefits Of Using A Knee Brace

The health benefits of knee braces for stability rests in the characteristics of the type of braces involved. But on a broader scale, these are the key benefits of using knee braces:

  • Alignment Correction: As we saw above, one of the results of osteoarthritis can be knee misalignment. Knee braces produce alignment by decreasing the tension placed on the afflicted knee. They can also help to diminish the pain and inflammation around the affected area by restricting movement.
  • Injury Prevention:  Athletes who have undergone knee injuries in the past can also utilize braces to prevent a recurrence. They can be used throughout the healing process and after. The knee brace can keep the affected knee in a steady position, inhibiting it from twisting sideways. This support can help prevent the rupture of cartilage or accidental movements that can lead to ligament tears.
  • Muscle Load Reduction: Knee braces are famous for taking the pressure off affected muscles and guaranteeing smother knee movements. Moreover, the same principles apply when it comes to healing and treating fractures.
  • Compression: Knee support braces can help generate a level of comfort by tightening the tissues that surround the knee. This further helps to secure correct blood circulation and ensures that injured tendons, ligaments, and cartilages gain the necessary support they need to heal. 
Knee Brace-benefits

Best Knee Support Braces in Australia 2021 Reviewed

Knee braces come in a wide variety to cater to different issues and needs. Hence, it becomes difficult to pin down universal basic features that make for a good knee brace. The choice of knee brace depends on your needs and the qualities you are looking for. However, for your convenience, We’ve created a list of the best knee braces available in the Australian market this year. We hope that this review will help you make the right choice.

TOP CHOICE

Mueller Self-Adjusting Knee Stabilizer
  • Soft Neoprene Blend
  • Increased Breathability
  • Flexible Steel Springs for Lateral Support

This Mueller knee brace is great for people who are active in sports and other physical activities. This brace is self-adjusting and provides maximum lateral and medial support. The elastic straps positioned above and below the knee area provide self-adjusting support.

Mueller knee braces help prevent and treat common injuries such as patellar lateralization, jumper's knee, ruptured ligament, ACL injuries, and instability of various degrees.

This specific brace offers all-day comfort and pain relief. The Mueller knee brace delivers a full range of motion and supports full knee bends as well. It has an intelligent design that enables heat to escape at the rear of the knee for all-day comfort. Moreover, it’s made out of antimicrobial materials and thus eliminates or controls odor, and its open back reduces bunching. It comes in a universal size that would fit most individuals.

Pros

  • Self-adjustable brace
  • Antimicrobial
  • Universal sizing

Cons

  • Contains rubber latex 
Hinged Shock Doctor Knee Brace
  • Prevents & Protects
  • Moisture & Odor Prevention
  •  Lifts & Compresses

The Shock Doctor Knee Brace helps to prevent and heal lateral and medial instability, secondary patella instability, ACL injuries, ligament sprains, arthritis, and other knee-related ailments. This hinged knee brace is antimicrobial and outfitted with an airflow venting design, which helps decrease bacteria, odor, and moisture, making for a pleasant experience.

The sturdy two-sided dual hinges produce support, and the four-way stretch spandex mesh delivers elasticity for ample movement. This knee brace is made from latex-free high-end material. The construction combines flexible surface stabilizers and easy-grip tabs for proper fitting.

It implements compression to the knee's soft tissues and helps with joint alignment and relief. The Shock Doctor knee brace encourages therapeutic heat for enhanced blood flow, which assists in the healing process of muscles and tendons. This product is meant to be tight-fitting for complete protection, so it may feel small at first.

Pros

  •  Antimicrobial
  • Latex-Free
  • Enhances Blood Flow

Cons

  • Sizing can be misleading
Mcdavid Knee Brace
  • Reinforced Support with Steel Springs
  • Latex-Free Neoprene
  • Durable

This dual disc hinged knee brace highlights two wider and more stable hinges than regular braces. The latex-free neoprene produces superior stretch, heat insulation, and long-lasting support.

The open 360 ̊ padded buttress serves to support the patella. It gives controlled lateral and medial support for increased stability. This brace is best suited for moderate instabilities, injury prevention, and post-surgery joint security.

The constrained edges limit skin irritation, while the perforated back panel presents moisture and heat control for ultimate comfort. Plus, the outer layer of nylon material improves durability. During our research we found that the McDavid knee brace was most likely the best hinged knee brace available to the Australian market.

Pros

  • Outstanding Close Fit
  •  Padded Buttress Supports The Patella
  • Bound Edges Limit Skin Sensitivity

Cons

  • Sizing issues

The Thermoskin arthritis wrap-around style knee brace is easy to use. It has velcro straps permitting you to toggle and control the level of support and compression it provides. This can be particularly helpful if your knee vacillates in size due to swelling and inflammation associated with arthritis. It also has a small hole at the front to lessen the pressure going through the kneecap and to let the area breathe.

The Thermoskin arthritis knee brace has a uniquely designed 3-dimensional trioxin lining that raises the temperature below the skin, enhancing blood flow to the knee area. Improved circulation brings with it increased oxygen and nutrients to support the healing process. It also features a knee shield which can act as a knee stabiliser and protection to the patella.

The Thermoskin arthritis knee brace additionally provides light but steady compression, which categorizes it within the knee support class. It's available in 6 sizes and comes in a few different colors.

Pros

  • Offers good compression
  • Optimized design supports the ligaments

Cons

  • Sizing can be misleading

DonJoy Performance Bionic Knee Brace
  • Performance Bionic Knee Brace
  • Bilateral Polycentric Hinges
  • Maximum Breathability

The DonJoy performance knee brace comes with hinge technology and a 4 point leverage system that helps train users about how to refrain from "at-risk" positions. This brace offers compression and thermal heat regulation which prevents you from overheating. It further comes with adjustable straps that facilitate individualized customization. This enables adequate fitting for maximum safety and security. Furthermore, this brace has reflective properties that make it more visible at night.

When it comes to knee injuries, this brace is specifically designed to protect and treat ACL and meniscus injuries. It can further help to mitigate moderate ligament and tendon sprains, joint instabilities, and offers high-grade patella support.

Pros

  • Comfortable 
  • Thermal heat control

Cons

  •  More expensive than other models

Knee Brace Support Sleeve
  • Lifetime Unlimited Guarantee
  • Open Patella Design
  • Designed to Support & Protect 

The ComfyMed Winzone knee brace is a great product for athletes and pain relief alike. The unique 2 strap bevel makes this brace ideal for anyone suffering from MCL injuries and mild arthritis. Whether you're recovering from surgery, suffering from chronic knee pain, or you're just wanting to pre-empt future injuries, this product is worth considering.

The size allows it to fit knee circumferences of 12.4 to 21.7 and is simple to put on and remove. The brace is compact and slim-fitted, meaning that it can be worn underneath clothing. Moreover, its adjustable velcro straps ensure the perfect fit for any individual. On a final note, the open patella design can help to relieve pressure and aid natural recovery all while delivering full comfort.

Pros

  •  Ergonomic Design
  • Pain Relieving
  • Comfortable and Adjustable

Cons

  • Velcro Straps Wear and Tear

An honorable mention that we thought were worth noting in this article, although we haven't reviewed the product throughout this guide is the Ossur Knee Brace. This model offers comparable features to some of the brands we've highlighted above, yet unfortunately, this brace isn’t easily accessible to the Australian marketplace and the shipping could be significant.


Verdict

In this review, we looked at different knee braces suited for varying needs and scenarios. Our research found that if you're looking for a knee support brace table that offers great features but doesn't break the bank, your best choice would be the Mueller Self-Adjusting Knee Stabilizer (number 1 in our review and our top pick). The knee brace offers great features such as self-adjustable straps, antimicrobial materials, and universal sizing. The Mueller knee brace is a reasonably priced, breathable option to wear during physical activities for support and prevention, and can also be used for pain mitigation and arthritis relief.

Lastly, our close runner-up, the Thermoskin Arthritis Knee Wrap (number 2 in our review) was offered second position thanks to its optimized design to support the ligament area and outstanding compression. This specific brace is recommended for arthritis which can be located deep within the knee region. Furthermore, features such as the knee shield which can help with stabilization and protection are added bonuses that help ensure the product's safety and efficacy. Still, many verified reviewers commented on the difficulties they ran into with the size-guide, which isn't ideal.

Overall, it’s hard to go wrong with any of the knee support braces mentioned throughout this review. Just make sure that you pick the knee brace that's going to best suit your unique needs, lifestyle, and uses.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I wear a knee brace?

A knee support brace is a good purchase if you're someone who plays a lot of contact sports. Knee braces are mostly utilized as preventative measures for injuries, and rehabilitation. Individuals with arthritis can also wear a knee brace as it serves to decrease pain and inflammation. Your physical therapist or healthcare provider is the best person to guide you and determine whether you need one or not.

Can I microwave my foam roller for added heat?

Yes, if your purchased foam roller is intended for heated treatment, you can. Although you should be extremely careful if the foam roller you use is not primarily intended for heating, since the material could melt or be damaged. For these reasons you should always consult the manufacturer’s website or usage manual to be 100% sure.

How tight should the brace be?

Compression is something all of us will want to feel when wearing a knee brace. Nevertheless, if the knee brace is painfully tight, either relax the strap or opt for a size up. Ideally, the brace should feel comfortable and generate a level of support based on the unique needs of the user.

How will a knee brace help reduce my pain?

Whether it is a sprain, runner’s knee, ACL injury, arthritis, knee ache, or weakness, knee support braces will help regulate pain. The type of injury you have will ultimately determine the kind of brace best suited for your individualized needs. However, it's important to note that the primary function of a knee brace is to support the area and help with alignment.

There's a wide range of knee braces on the market that are specifically designed to render support for particular conditions. They also come with a multitude of features and health benefits that should be taken into consideration before making a purchase.

What's the best knee brace for me?

The ideal knee brace should take into consideration your unique purposes and needs. If you're unsure, consult with your healthcare provider as they will be able to best advise you. If you're looking for a knee brace for support we'd recommend choosing a lightweight brace, as normally heavier braces are normally used for injuries. Ultimately, this decision is based on the type of injury, and whether or not you're recovering from an injury. Plus, the level of movement restriction the knee should be getting.

What amount of time can I wear a knee brace for?

Knee braces can be worn all day. There's no recommended time limit.

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