Best Knee Pads for Running & Buying Guide

Running is widely known for its cardiovascular and mortality benefits. In fact, more than 20 million people run on a daily basis in the United States. But achy or sore pain in the knee can be a daunting experience for runners.

Usually, the knee pain stops people from running. As per the analysis of data from several resources, it is estimated that almost 60 to 70% of runners experience some kind of knee injury which is significant enough to stop them running temporarily. [01]

The use of prophylactic braces is common in several outdoor sports and runners. When we analyzed data from several scientific studies, we found that the use of prophylactic knee brace can prevent knee pain to a certain extent while running and does not alter the biomechanics gait. [02] [03]

In most of the cases, having a supportive device around your knee is very beneficial. However, you must consult your therapist first what is the exact cause of the pain, what kind of knee injuries you might have, and how you might treat it.

Important Tip Knee braces do not treat or heal your knee injuries. Their basic role of the knee braces is to support your knee joints and the surrounding muscles and ligaments.

There are many types of braces, tapes, straps, and knee pads you might find. Each of them works differently for each specific condition than the other types.

In this article, we will discuss the 10 best knee brace for running that are helpful for positive knee support.

10. Muller Jumper’s Knee Strap

Knee band (strap) is the perfect fit if you try to prophylactically prevent the chance of your knee to have injuries again, or to decrease the pain and the ache in the patellar tendon, and consequently, decrease the tendonitis of the kneecap.

Muller Jumper’s Knee strap comes in seven different colors to change the views about the strap to be always black. So with Muller Jumper’s knee strap, you can choose the color of your choice.

There are many sizes of the Mueller jumper’s knee strap to fit all the needs of all customers. However, the most common ones are the small straps; Those ones are small, very light in weight, and easy to wear. These characteristics make them a perfect fit for all runners and athletes.

Those straps are very adjustable according to your needs; they help to improve patellar motion, compress the patellar tendon below the patella, and help to minimize knee pain and ache. Those knee straps are a perfect fit to alleviate the knee pain in the cases who are suffering from Chondromalacia, Osgood-Schlatter’s Disease, after orthopedic/knee injuries, and Patellar Tendonitis.

This knee strap, in particular, provides so much support for your knee joint, however, it does not provide the same amount of compression that an athlete might need. That’s why that type helps to decrease the knee pain which is mild to prevent any further complication and strains on the knee joint.

They are the perfect fit for runners and avid athletes to decrease their risk to have knee injuries because of their lightweight and comfort level, which gives them the whole range of knee motion.

If you have severe pain, arthritis, or severe patellar injury, This one might not be the perfect choice for you. If you have that chronic runner’s knee, a more supported knee brace would be better to give you the highest level of comfort.

As mentioned earlier, when we run, we put so much force on the knee five times as much as our weight. This extra weight might lead to knee injuries and complications in the future. For any runner or athlete, wearing knee support is necessary. It helps to decrease knee pain, swelling, soreness, and ache while running.

Moreover, it helps to prevent more injuries and further complications. If you have a mild injury and suffer from knee pain and soreness while running, this knee strap would be a perfect choice for you.
Pros:

– It provides good support to the knee.
– Minimize pain & help to reduce swelling.
– Durable & Comfortable.
– Made in the USA & available in multiple colors.

Cons:

– Small width reduces the coverage area.
– Compress very little

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9. Neo G Medical Grades VCS advanced

For all avid runners who need great support and stabilization for their knee joint, Neo G advanced hinged brace would be a great choice for them. They are designed especially for the athletes who need knee support.

This is a perfect fit for all who suffer from knee arthritis and runner’s knee. This hinged brace of the knee helps the wide range of motion and reduce the risk of ligament tears and arthritis complications.

This brace is also made of neoprene material to warm up the knee joint, which provides great comfort for the achy joints. It is considered one of the best braces to be worn while running.

Moreover, this brace is designed to provide high degree support against patellar tracking or gap. This brace is best for the following conditions: knee arthritis, sprain, strain, arthritic knee, weak or injured knees, after physical therapy, and post injuries in sports or work.

They are very comfortable to wear and have only one size to fit all the body shapes, types, and ages. It helps to enhance the blood circulation around the knee and fully adjustable to any level of compression you might desire.

One size will fit any knee; right or left to the optimum level of comfort. This brace is designed in a perfect way to ensure the highest level of comfort and durability by increasing the blood flow of the knee and heats up the muscles and joints around the knee.

This brace is made by specialized orthopedic manufacturers who are using specific medical materials to ensure the quality and its therapeutic benefits.

The Neo G hinged knee support has a special system, which supports a two-point hinge system to allow a wide range of knee movement during flexion and extension and decrease knee instability and pain.

This is considered the best brace for active athletes who need relief and comfort for pain, arthritis, and they want to be supplied by a good heating system.

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8. McDavid Reversible Neoprene Knee support

McDavid braces are very adjustable, easy to use, and slides smoothly over your knee joint to ensure a wide range of motion.

Those braces are made to provide stability for your knee joint, promote the blood supply around the knee, and provide extra support for your knee when you are in pain.

It is best to relieve the pain of arthritis, stiffness, and aches of the knee. This McDavid Neoprene Support Brace is very durable and made of latex-free neoprene material which provides some thermal benefits and compressive capabilities.

This is composed of 100% neoprene, which includes one compression sleeve and fits all the sizes; right and left knee. This brace is designed, especially in the back of your knee to add some anatomical comfort for your knee.

This brace is the best for the following conditions: arthritis, tendonitis, knee bursitis, and many other minor knee injuries. They enhance knee healing.

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7. Flexufit Knee Brace

Those sleeves serve as compression sleeves which help to enhance the blood flow around your knee and help your knee joints and muscles recover quickly.

Moreover, they have the 4-way stretch qualities which help them to provide stability for your knee. Many athletes reviewed it positively and mentioned that it helps to decrease the inflammation and swelling of the knee.

This brace is also supplied with an extra layer of silicone, which protects the brace against slipping down the knee joint. Those braces also help to dry the skin of your knees and make you avoid the moisture.

This brace is very flexible and supports the injuries of the patella to ensure patella stability. Moreover, it is provided with latex-free materials, which makes them the perfect choice for sensitive skin to prevent allergies.

There are many different sizes for flexufit braces, which make them available not only for avid runners, but also for many other athletes such as weightlifters, jumpers, and many others.

Overall, they help to relieve the knee pain, provide knee stability, and guard against knee injuries.

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6. UFlex Athletics Knee Compression Sleeve Support

These braces are not too thick or too thin, which means that they are strong enough to give you the stability and a better compression that you might desire.

This brace is made of a mixture of nylon and Lycra, which makes them very suitable to be worn all the time without discomfort. This brace is also supplied with a double silicone anti-slip wave so that it does not slip down while running.

There are 3 available sizes for that kind of knee braces. Moreover, because of its firm grip over the knee, it doesn’t need any adjustment while running.

UFlex will be the best option for any athlete who needs to improve muscle strength, recover faster, and heal better. This product is made in the USA.

The manufacturer ensures 30 days hassle-free refund in case you did not find the comfort you want.

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5. Techware Pro Knee brace support

This one is designed, in particular, with an open patella to allow a wide range of motion. This knee brace is made of neoprene, which makes it very breathable and guards against heat or moisture retention while running. This brace will support your knee and will allow you to run for an extended period of time without any discomfort.

It is very light in weight, easy to use and available in two sizes, which fit all the sizes, regardless of the body weight. Moreover, this brace helps to decrease knee inflammation, pain, and give you a wide range of motion.

Furthermore, it is supported by a special system, which absorbs the sweat. It also contains a velcro strap, which gives your knee the freedom for a wide range of knee movement.

All of those characteristics in only one product. You will miss a lot if you did not try Techware pro knee brace support.

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4. Power Lix Knee Sleeves

This knee brace is tight enough not to slip down your knee to give you a firm compression, improve the blood circulation around your knee and your sore muscles.

It is also made of materials, which absorb sweat. This characteristic feature is very special because you will never smell any unpleasant odors when you run and you can use it for hours without any problems related to the sweat smell. This product is designated to have a double layer of two silicone gel strips.

Those silicone gel strips help to keep the knee braces in place no matter how strenuous your exercise. These braces are also provided with materials to absorb any sweat or undesired moisture.

The manufacturer company also provides the customer with a refund guarantee to ensure customer satisfaction. Moreover, there are four sizes available to fit all the sizes and shapes.

Besides being comfortable, they look very youthful and stylish. It also helps to protect against injuries. A great choice for knee support, stability, and recovery. Very easy to use, easy to wash, and very light in weight.

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3. Seagull Knee Support

This high-quality neoprene is breathable and provides a high level of support and stability around your knee.

Moreover, it is very light in weight, so you will not feel like you are wearing anything around your knee. It also distributes the weight and pressure on your knee.

It gives you both support and flexibility. This is made of non-slip design, which is great for any runner that might suffer from allergies and have sensitive skin. The flexibility it gives you does not restrict your knee motion.

Very easy to use, durable, and very easy to clean and wash. You will never regret using it!. Highly recommended.

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2. Bracoo Knee Support

This brace type is provided with an open-hole patella design, which helps to prevent the heat retention and absorb the sweat and moisture. Furthermore, it improves the blood flow around the knee to accelerate the healing process.

It is also made of thick compression sleeves, which are made only of neoprene that is known for its thermal therapeutic benefits. Bracoo knee support brace is also supplied with Velcro straps, which is known for being stretchy and adapting according to the tightness level.

It is very easy to use, light in weight, very special to keep your knee in position, and very reasonable in cost.

Shop Open Patella Arthritis Brace on Amazon

1. SB sox Knee Compression Knee Brace

SB sox knee compression knee brace should be on the top of your list if you want your running exercise more regularly. Any athlete would like a brace that provides him with protection, stability, and comfort.

As an avid runner, you might feel depressed if you cannot practice your favorite sport anymore because of knee instability or injury. However, you might find the solution in that product as they provide great support for the knee without affecting your running performance.

They are very breathable, which guards against heat retention, and made of breathable material. Moreover, it absorbs moisture, very affordable, and improves the blood circulation around your knee.

Furthermore, it is also provided with a double grip system for extra protection from any injuries that might affect your knees.

Shop SB Sox Knee Brace on Amazon

Why running knee support?

As you run, your body puts so much force and pressure on your knees five times more than the usual weight. This extra pressure might lead to cartilage damage, ligament tears, knee problems, and finally, knee injuries and pain.

Surprisingly, with the assistive help of the knee braces, you can continue your running activities with less pain and ache in your pain, while decreases the risk of knee injuries at the same time.

There are many advantages to wear a knee brace while running, especially for avid runners and athletes. Many braces are very easy to wear and very light in weight to minimize the discomfort feeling, decrease the pain, and help to support the knee joint and the surrounding ligaments.

Advantages of Knee Support:

Knee braces help to support the knee joint by preventing knee injuries, ligament tears, and knee twisting. All of that will help to stabilize the knee joint in a place.

Knee braces help to increase the blood supply to the knee joint and decrease the pain and soreness in the knee joint.
Knee braces will help you to decrease the knee swelling during the strenuous level of exercise.

Knee braces will decrease the risk of knee injuries by stabilizing your knee joint and reduce your chance to do physical therapy after knee injuries.

For all runners who suffer from the dislocation of the kneecap (patella), a knee brace will help to stabilize your patella and decrease your risk of knee injuries.

For all runners who struggle with meniscus injuries, a knee brace will help to decrease pain, swelling, and keep the meniscus cartilages in position without further complications.

For all runners who suffer from knee arthritis, a good knee brace will help to compress your knee in the right position to decrease the pain and the weight distribution on our joints. Moreover, the knee brace will decrease the friction in the knee joint, and will subsequently decrease the pain from knee arthritis.

Many runners and athletes are suffering from ligament injuries such as MCL, ACL, and PCL. In such cases, a knee brace will support their knees, decrease the risk of knee injuries, and prevent any further complications that might affect the knee motion.

Overall, knee braces are very beneficial and effective to minimize the knee pain, decrease the knee swelling, and prevent any further complication that might affect the knee joint. That’s why all the trained runners and athletes should wear knee braces to protect their knees from injuries.

Types of Knee Braces

There are many different types of knee braces in the market, however, each one works differently and provides a different level of proper support to the knee during running.

The braces are usually used post orthopedic surgeries to prevent any sudden knee injuries and motion, while the runner is recovering from the surgery.

Moreover, they help to support the knee and prevent any knee discomfort. Sometimes, it is very challenging to choose the right knee braces for you.

There are some with holes, some without holes, hinged braces, compression sleeves, knee bands, and straps.

Compression Sleeves

Compression sleeves provide the needed support for the knee during sports such as running, squatting, weight lifting, hiking, wrestling, yoga, and strength training.

Those sleeves are wrapping your knee to decrease the pain, reduce the symptoms, and guard your knee against patellar dislocations, rheumatoid arthritis, and other problems that might cause any discomfort.

Furthermore, those sleeves are long enough to provide full knee support and prevent any knee joint dislocation by stabilizing the knee above or below the patella. Those sleeves are also very comfortable and do not inhibit any knee movement.

There are two types of knee compression sleeves- Knee sleeves without holes and the patella sleeves with a hole inside it. Those sleeves are working as a compressive sleeve to treat the knee swelling, enhance the blood sleepy and the nerve sensation around the knee.

On the other hand, the patella brace with a hole inside it is more made to support the patella and keep it in place. A compressive sleeve is perfectly used for diseases with mild swelling, arthritis, bruises, and runner’s knee.

However, the patella sleeve is best for chondromalacia, patellofemoral syndrome, hypermobility of the kneecap, or post orthopedic surgery.

Knee Bands (Straps)

Knee band helps to decrease the pain and pressure in case there is any patellar dislocation or pain.

The knee bands serve as a good option for those who have minor knee injuries. Knee band usually wraps around the circumference of your knee and forces some pressure on the tendon of the kneecap to decrease the knee pain, soreness, and ache.

Those knee bands sometimes are applied above or below the kneecap and support the knee-tendon and patella. When those straps are applied to a larger area of the knee to relieve any extra stress or soreness in the knee.

Those knee straps prevent knee injuries and prevent the injuries from reoccurring. They are a perfect fit for those who suffer from runner’s knee, patellofemoral syndrome, IT band syndrome, and knee tendonitis. This prevents any future strains or dislocation.

Hinged Brace

Hinged braces are a better option for severe injuries and ligament tears. They are more rigid and bigger to provide support to the knee joint and offer more stability.

Hinged braces are often used after orthopedic surgeries, severe knee trauma, ligament tears such as MCL, ACL, or PCL.

Unfortunately, some hinged braces decrease the range of knee motion, however, some can be adjusted to the size of your knee circumference.

It is always the best to get a lower level hinged knee brace. The latter tend to be larger, but less comfortable, especially during running.

That’s why you always must choose the right size for you to get the best support for your knee joint.

Knee Tape

Knee tape is a special form of the knee braces; They are the least invasive type among all the other types of knee braces. They are not very good when it comes to treating moderate and severe knee injuries.

However, they are very efficient to prevent knee pain, soreness, and any further complications. They are the perfect fit for anyone who wants to prevent the injuries from occurring and they do not want to wear bulky braces like the hinged braces.

Knee tape helps to decrease the soreness of overactive muscles, stimulate the contraction of the underactive muscle, and enhance the knee sensation (proprioception).

This kind of knee braces is the best for certain orthopedic problems such as IT band friction syndrome, runner’s knee, and minor knee injuries.

Recently, there are many types of knee tapes. The most important type of them is the Kinesiotape (K-tape). K-tape is originated from Japan. K-tape is different from the traditional ones.

Those ones are created to provide the natural like elasticity allow a wide range of motion. K-tapes provide many therapeutic uses, especially for athletes as they enhance the motion of the knee, the blood flow around the knee joint, and helps to promote the function of the muscles around the knee and lymphatic supply.

K-tapes are also characterized by having different colors. For instance, in Japan, there are two popular colors for K-tapes; red and blue.

The red colors are used where heating effects are wanted and they are called the hot tapes. On the other hand, the blue tapes are called the cold ones and they are used when cooling benefits are wanted.

However, now in the market and commercial industry, colors do not mean anything and you can choose any color you desire.

Patella Stabilizing Brace

If you have a problem with your kneecap (patella), then using a patella stabilizing brace is very beneficial.

It helps to keep the patella in position while running, decreases the pain and swelling, and also prevent any further knee injury complications.

These braces also serve as compression sleeves to compress the tendon of the patella to decrease the pain, swelling and increase the blood flow to the knee.

Those braces are associated with a strap that keeps the patella in place to move with its normal range of motion.

Neoprene Brace

Neoprene brace works as an insulator to worm the inflamed knee joint and the achy sore muscles while running.

Neoprene brace helps to compress the knee, provide heat, decrease the pain, and the swelling. Those braces are made of stretchy material that puts some pressure on the knee.

Those braces are ideal if you have pain and bruising in your knee joint. Those braces improve the blood flow which decreases knee bruises. Some neoprene braces are supplied with hinges or kneecap stabilizers

Arthritic Knee Brace

This is also called “Arthritic Knee Unloader”. As the name says, it is made, in particular, for people with arthritis.

Arthritis causes knee joint degeneration over time and leads to increase the friction between the bones in the knee joint. These braces help to decrease the contract between the knee bones to minimize the pain while running.

Those braces act as a customized knee brace which compresses the knee and helps to reduce the pain, soreness, and knee aches associated with arthritis.

As you can see, there are many types of knee braces that might be supportive during running. You must consult a therapist to know the best type of knee brace for you.

However, you must apply appropriate rest, ice, heat, massage, strengthening exercises, and physical therapy to treat the knee pain. If all of those steps failed, having a knee brace will be necessary

How to choose the correct Knee Brace for Running?

Here are some of the criteria and categories that might help you to choose the best knee brace of your knee:

Knee braces by support level—The primary benefit of any knee brace is support. Those knee braces are divided into many categories, which are basic knee braces, advanced knee braces, elite ones, and simple knee braces/pads.

Knee braces according to specific knee conditions—here the categories depend on the type of knee injuries such as ACL, PCL, arthritis, and MCL.

Knee braces by their style—this divides the knee braces into neoprene, hinged braces, wrapped ones, knee straps, and arthritic braces.

Knee braces by their company and manufacturers—There are many types in the market such as McDavid, Ace, Mueller, and thermoskin.

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References:
[01] Lutter LD. Runner’s knee injuries. Ref: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6546108
[02] Yeung, E. W., & Yeung, S. S. (2001). A systematic review of interventions to prevent lower limb soft tissue running injuries. British journal of sports medicine, 35(6), 383–389. doi: 10.1136/bjsm.35.6.383
[03] Liggett, C. L., Tandy, R. D., & Young, J. C. (1995). The effects of prophylactic knee bracing on running gait. Journal of athletic training, 30(2), 159–161.

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