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Best knee support 2022: Prevent injuries and aid recovery with the best knee braces from £8

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Protect your knee with this roundup of the best knee supports available and advice on how to pick the right one for you

Knee pain is one of the most common health problems people suffer in the UK, and given the load that knees bear – especially if you’re a sporty type that regularly runs or lifts weights – it’s not all that surprising.

Knee problems can range from mild niggles to full-blown injuries that require an operation to fix, so if you’re experiencing knee pain the first thing to do is go and see a doctor or a physiotherapist to find out the cause.

Once you’ve identified the problem, a knee support is likely to be high on your shopping list. Below, you’ll find a buyer’s guide that will help you identify what kind of knee support you need, plus the best braces to buy right now.

Best knee support: At a glance

How to buy the best knee support for you

Why do I need a knee support?

Knee supports are generally used for three reasons, and which of the three you use it for will determine the kind of brace you need. The first is as a preventative measure to try and manage minor injuries or avoid those injuries reoccurring during exercise. So, a runner might have a history with patellar tendinopathy (runner’s knee) and wear a sleeve or knee strap to try to prevent the injury reoccurring. These knee supports will offer only a low level of support with the aim of maximising flexibility so you can still move as normal.

Another common use for knee braces is to rehabilitate the knee after a serious injury or surgery. If you’re recovering from an ACL injury, for example, then you’ll need a sturdier brace than those who are wearing one in the hope of nursing injuries through activities, because braces for rehab will be designed to limit the knee’s movement to protect it.

The third reason people might use a knee brace is to manage chronic conditions like arthritis, by helping to reduce pain and inflammation. These braces need to be comfortable to wear for long periods and also flexible enough to not unduly restrict movement, while being more supportive than a basic sleeve support.

What type of knee support should I buy?

Knee supports have three main uses, and the one that best applies to you will determine the kind of support you need.

The first is to prevent and manage minor injuries, and stop them reoccurring during exercise. For instance if you have a history of patellar tendinopathy (runner's knee), you could wear a supportive knee sleeve to stop it flaring up. This kind of knee support will offer a low level of support while maximising flexibility, so you can still move as normal. This type of brace will be made from a bandage-style material or elastic yarn.

Another common use for knee braces is to rehabilitate the knee after a serious injury or surgery. If you’re recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, for example, then you’ll need a relatively sturdy brace that protects the knee by limiting its movement. These more supportive types of brace may have foam, plastic and metal sections to keep the knee in place.

The third reason people might use a knee brace is to manage chronic conditions like arthritis, by helping to reduce pain and inflammation. These braces need to be comfortable to wear for long periods and also flexible enough to not unduly restrict movement, while being more supportive than a basic sleeve support.

If in doubt about the type of knee brace that's right for you, or whether you should wear one at all, then chat to a health professional such as your GP, physio or pharmacist. A compression sleeve is unlikely to do much harm, but it's always worth getting professional advice, especially if the injury was caused by twisting the knee or an impact to it. If there's swelling in your knee, you can't fully straighten your leg, or the pain gets worse during exercise, definitely consult an expert. At worst, a brace could mask a problem that could be fixed through other exercises.

What else should I consider when choosing a knee support?

The material a knee brace is made from needs to be lightweight and comfortable to wear for long periods without getting hot or sweaty. The fabric should also be compressive and easy to clean if you’re going to wear it for long periods.

It’s also important to get the right size of knee brace. Most will have a sizing guide, so grab a tape measure and make sure you get a snug, but not uncomfortable, fit. If your foot goes numb, it’s too snug. Some knee supports have adjustable velcro straps, but compression sleeves tend not to be adjustable.

You can also choose between open and closed knee supports. Open designs, which don't cover the kneecap, are more common as they can be more comfortable to wear, but a closed brace offers more support to the kneecap area.

How much should I spend on a knee support?

Basic knee supports can be very affordable, with higher levels of support costing more. Bandage-style supports or straps are available for less than £10, wraparound supports cost between £10 and £20, and if you buy your own hinged brace it will be around £30 to £50. If you're recovering from a serious injury, a proper knee brace can be very expensive, so don't buy without getting professional medical advice.

Do I need a knee brace?

While slipping on a simple compression sleeve to support your knee is unlikely to do any harm, it’s always worth checking with a health professional if you’re concerned enough about an injury to consider buying a support. That’s especially true if the injury has arisen from an impact to the knee, or from twisting it.

If you have swelling in your knee, are unable to fully straighten your leg, or find that pain in the area doesn’t go away or even gets worse during exercise, you should definitely consult an expert. Even if your pain is mild and you find that using a support alleviates it, you should avoid using a brace for long periods, because you could be masking a problem in your body that could be fixed through other exercises so that you don’t have to rely on a brace.

READ NEXT: The best running shoes

The best knee supports to buy

1. Actesso Elastic Knee Support: Best basic knee support sleeve

Price: £9 | Buy now from Amazon

This basic bandage-style support will make you more aware of your knee while moving, which can be all that’s required to make sure you don’t put any undue pressure on the joint when you’re nursing a niggle. It compresses the knee slightly to help with recovery, but it’s comfortable to wear and won’t get too hot during sporting activities due to the breathable fabric used. It’s available in three sizes and you can also pick between beige and black fabric.

Key specs – Type: Pull-up; Level of support: Low; Open/closed kneecap: Closed; Sizes: Medium (36-39cm), Large (39-42cm)


2. Bracoo Knee Support: Best wraparound knee support

Price: £14 | Buy now from Amazon

The three velcro straps on this support can be attached almost anywhere on the outside of the brace, so you can adjust them to support the exact areas of your knee that you’re concerned about. The straps also mean it will fit all sizes without any concerns about it being too tight or slipping. The open design avoids putting undue pressure on the kneecap, while a reinforced ring around the kneecap means that the area is still supported. The Bracoo support doesn’t restrict movement too much so it can be worn during sports, with the fabric being breathable and easy to wipe clean of sweat.

Key specs – Type: Wrap-around; Level of support: Mid; Open/closed kneecap: Open; Sizes: Adjustable


3. Pure Support Compression Knee Sleeve: Best knee support for runners

Price: £8 | Buy now from Amazon

If you want a basic compression support to use while running or playing other sports that load the knee, there’s no need to look beyond this excellent knee sleeve from Pure Support. It has no-slip sections at the top and bottom of the support to keep it in place, and offers graduated compression to support the knee without feeling uncomfortably tight as you run. The fabric is breathable and sweat-wicking to avoid the support getting itchy during your exercise.

Key specs – Type: Pull-up; Level of support: Low; Open/closed kneecap: Closed; Sizes: Small (37-43cm), Medium (43-48cm), Large (48-56cm), X-Large (51-59.68cm), XX-Large (59.7-66cm)


4. Ultimate Performance Patella Knee Support Band: Best knee strap

Price: From £7.52 | Buy now from Amazon

A knee strap is the least intrusive support of all, applying a small amount of pressure to the patellar tendon when it’s affixed beneath the knee. This can help with common complaints like runner’s knee without you needing to wear a full brace. The strap also helps to make you aware of your knee, which is a useful step towards not damaging it through complacency when exercising. The Ultimate Performance strap has an adjustable velcro fastening and is made from lightweight neoprene so it won’t get too clammy underneath the strap during a workout or run.

Key specs – Type: Strap; Level of support: Low; Open/closed kneecap: N/A; Sizes: Adjustable


5. PhysioRoom Advanced Hinged Knee Brace: Best hinged knee support

Price: £38 | Buy now from Amazon

Hinges on the side of this brace, and the cushion around the kneecap, help it to offer support all around the knee. Although it’s not as immobilising and supportive as a post-surgery brace that you might get through a physio or doctor, it will offer a higher level of protection for those looking to recover from more serious injuries than a basic sleeve or wraparound brace. There’s a good range of five different sizes to choose from, so you can get one that fits you perfectly. The fabric is also lightweight enough that you can wear the brace for extended periods and even during light exercise without it becoming uncomfortable.

Key specs – Type: Hinged; Level of support: High; Open/closed kneecap: Open; Sizes: Small (29-33cm), Medium (33-37cm), Large (37-41cm), X-Large (41-45cm), XX-Large (45-49cm)


6. Neo G Knee Support: Best knee support for arthritis

Price: £20 | Buy now from Argos

This wraparound brace will help to stabilise and support arthritic knees over long periods, spreading any pressure put on the knee evenly throughout the joint. The adjustable fit means it will fit most users and you can set up the straps to offer as much or as little compression as you want from the brace. The neoprene fabric helps to warm the knee slightly to ease joint pain, but the support is still breathable enough to wear while walking around or exercising.

Key specs – Type: Wraparound; Level of support: Mid; Open/closed kneecap: Open; Sizes: Adjustable