Types of knee braces for runners

Written by karen hellesvig-gaskell
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Types of knee braces for runners
Knee braces can help runners recover from injuries. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Runners are among the athletes who sometimes wear knee braces during workouts, marathons and other races. In some cases, athletic knee braces are worn following an injury or surgery. Since these devices control movement, they shield the knee from compounding the wound or slowing the healing process. Runners who suffer from knee problems may be able to travel longer distances with less discomfort with the aid of a knee brace. Different knee problems call for different types of knee braces. Your doctor can help you choose a brace and get the correct size. In general they don’t appear to offer any preventative benefits.

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Sleeves and Supports

Pharmacies, medical supply stores and sporting-goods stores usually carry knee sleeves or support. They are generally less expensive than the custom-fitted supports that are ordered through your doctor. Sleeves and supports offer stability and compression around the knee joint. They are commonly used by runners as well as walkers and tennis players. Knee pain that occurs due to bursitis and arthritis may be lessened by wearing a stabilised knee support brace.

Functional and Rehabilitative Braces

The functional knee brace is designed to provide support to a previously injured knee. Rehabilitative braces restrict potentially injurious knee movement while a knee is recuperating following surgery or an injury. The American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons endorses rehabilitative and functional knee braces as effective in a number of treatment programs.

Unloader/Offloader Braces

Unloader/offloader braces are intended to ease the stiffness and discomfort associated with arthritis in the knees. According to the AAOS, osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of knee arthritis. OA is a degenerative disease in which the joint cartilage slowly wears away. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition that usually affects both knees. Post-traumatic arthritis may occur follow a knee injury such as a fracture.


All types of of knee braces are usually made from materials such as plastic, metal, foam, elastics, and straps. They vary in size, colours, design, and shapes.

The price of knee brace can vary. Sleeves are typically less expensive, while stabilisers are more costly. Knee braces may not work well for all runners.

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