For some, running is a form of meditation as well as a way to stay in shape. For all the benefits of running, the repetitive pressure on your joints, especially your knees, can thin the cartilage and make you prone to injury. Sore knees can hinder or eliminate your ability to hit your stride, so preventing these kinds of issues from affecting your workout routine is important if you want to stay active. In fact, finding the best men’s running shoes is another way of safeguarding yourself from potential injuries.
Nearly every knee irritation or injury requires that you take a break from running. Whether you develop runner’s knee, IT Band Syndrome, or even tendonitis, you’re going to want to let it heal and then support it well as you rebuild your runner’s chops. Most treatments nearly always include a bracing device. Knee protection for runners comes in several protection levels, from compression sleeves to post-surgery hinged models. To save you some research, we put together a list of the most effective knee sleeves and knee braces to help you get off the sofa, stay off the sofa, and get back to your run.
Compression Knee Sleeves
Best Overall: Cambivo Knee Compression Sleeve
This highly rated and popular knee compression sleeve effectively manages knee pain from any exercise that puts pressure on your knees. Well suited for running, this sleeve both helps prevent injury and supports your knee after injury. Cambivo designed this sleeve with anti-slip silicone, premium 3D elastic weaving that breathes and warms, and a distributed weave with patella support. It’s available in five sizes from Small to XXL and comes in 10 different colors, with two to a package.
Most Comfortable: Physix Gear Compression Knee Sleeve
These lightweight knee compression sleeves deliver an excellent range of motion along with an anti-slip lining. Designed to be worn for extended use, these are excellent for healing and preventing knee injuries. The company offers these in five sizes from S to XXL, and in three colors. Physixgear also provides a money-back guarantee.
Best for Arthritis: Jiufentian Copper Knee Brace
With its unique weave of copper, nylon, and spandex, this ergonomic knee sleeve offers knee protection and pain relief. It improves circulation and relieves pressure, and delivers breathability and durability for the wearer. The manufacturer suggests careful size selection and offers a 100% money-back guarantee. This sleeve is available in seven sizes from S to 4X and is sold as a single pack.
Best Medical Grade: Neenca Professional Knee Brace
This knee sleeve sports a contoured patella gel pad and metal spring stabilizers that conform to your knee joint. They are excellent for meniscus and ACL injury recovery, as they disperse pressure and add warmth to the knee. The 3-D elastic weave fabric wicks away moisture for comfort and breathability, and the anti-slip strips on the top prevent it from riding around on your leg. This brace is available in six colors and six sizes from S to 3X.
Patellar Knee Straps
Best Overall: Ipow Patella Stabilizer Strap
If you have cartilage damage or kneecap pain, a patellar strap can help relieve that pain and allow you to stay active. These shock-absorbing knee straps adjust to the curve of your patella and keep everything in place while you run. Available in packs of two, they deliver comfort and stability with an adjustable strap, soft-touch materials, and ease of use. These straps have a snap-on closure and come in four colors. One size fits most knees.
Best Value: Cambivo Patella Knee Strap
Like their knee sleeve counterparts, these knee straps are popular with athletes looking for the best value for their money. These neoprene/polyester/spandex straps feature a hook-and-loop closure system for proper fit, and a moisture-absorbing fabric for extended comfort. These one-size-fits-all straps are easy to clean, durable, and come in 11 colors, including two that are reflective.
Best Dual Patellar Strap: Bodyprox Dual Patellar Support Strap
This strap offers targeted compression on the sides of the knee, and support for above and below the kneecap. The silicon tubes positively affect quadriceps misalignment and adapt to the shape of your knee. Excellent for prior knee injuries, these lightweight and breathable straps allow for full mobility and support. They are available in small/medium and large sizes.
Hybrid Compression Knee Braces
Best for Injuries: Mueller Self-Adjusting Knee Stabilizer
A combination knee compression sleeve and Patellar strap, this knee stabilizer works well for sprains, strains, and arthritis. The neoprene blend retains body heat for increased circulation, and the hook-and-loop closure ensures a great fit. Mueller designed this brace with flexible steel springs to enhance lateral support, and criss-cross straps adjust to your range of motion. One size fits 14-inch to 20-inch.
Best for Sports: BERTER Patella Stabilizing Knee Brace
This brace has an open patella design with a patellar gel pad for protection. The side spring strings allow for unrestricted flexibility, and interior wavy silicone prevents slippage and rolling while you’re active. Athletes enjoy the breathable and sturdy neoprene construction, and the adjustable Velcro closures assure a perfect fit. For chronic pain sufferers or injury prevention, wearing this brace gives you some of the best knee protection for runners available. One size fits 11-inch to 18-inch.
Most Comfortable: EXOUS Bodygear 4-Way Knee Brace
Exous has designed this full-function brace with four straps to deliver unmatched comfort, a full range of motion, and 360-degree knee support that doesn’t move or slide. For injury recovery, chronic pain, or injury prevention, this brace is also lined with jacquard Lycra that keeps itchy neoprene away from your skin. Finally, a half-inch comfort gap behind the knee prevents bunching so your knee can bend freely and without restriction. This brace fits up to 21-inch, and the company offers a 30-day no-hassle guarantee.
How to Wear a Knee Brace for Running
All of these products provide instructions and training videos, but you’ll see from the runner’s comments that the key to getting the most out of your knee brace is an accurate fit. You should accurately measure your knee’s circumference at three inches above your knee, at the kneecap, and then three inches below your knee. Once you have that information, you can make an informed purchase that will help you stay on your feet and enjoy your run.
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