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How to Choose a Knee Brace

By Charlie Gaston ; Updated July 27, 2017

You can purchase a knee brace at a large retailer like Target, Wal-Mart and Rite Aid. Your physician and local pharmacy may also offer a variety of knee braces. When shopping for a knee brace, your first consideration must be the type of injury or inflammation you will be treating. While self-diagnosis can help with an initial selection, a licensed physician can tell you exactly what type of knee brace to choose for your condition.

Use a knee sleeve if you have been diagnosed with arthritis of the knee. Mild compression is needed to dull inflammation of the articular cartilage and reduce swelling.

Use a knee support if you experience chondromalacia patella, or runner’s knee as it is commonly called. Reduce pain under and around the kneecap, which results from the cartilage on the undersurface of the patella softening, with a mild compression knee support. A patellar cutout in the knee brace provides stability and support.

Choose a wraparound elastic knee support or hinged knee support for ligament sprains and tears. Choose a wraparound elastic knee support for a mild knee injury requiring minimal support and a brace with metal hinges for a severe knee injury requiring maximum support.

Use a patella strap or wraparound knee support for patellar subluxation, which can result from underdeveloped or weak quadricep muscles. Lateral patellar stability is required to increase support and assist the patella, which in many cases has moved out of the trochlear groove during the dislocation process.

Use the patella strap for inflammation. The patella strap can also be used to treat inflammation of the patellar tendon.


Clean the knee brace as directed.


Seek medical attention from a licensed physician or knee specialist before using a knee brace.

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