As the largest, strongest joints in our bodies, our knees have major bearing on mobility. Conditions like knee osteoarthritis, arthritis of the knee joint, can cause pain and a loss of function.
Luckily, a knee brace for arthritis helps support your joint so that you can continue to enjoy everyday tasks, exercise and keep moving.
When a patient asks where to buy knee support, I’ll often refer him or her to my picks for top knee braces for arthritis available on Amazon. These quick links also make it easier for you to find the best knee brace for bone on bone support and comfort.
What Is Knee Osteoarthritis?
The knee is made up of three parts- the lower end of your femur, your patella (knee cap), and the upper end of your tibia. The joint is cushioned by smooth, slippery cartilage.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis of the knee. Known as a “wear and tear” type of arthritis, it occurs when the protective cartilage of the knee joint slowly wears away over time. This leaves vulnerable openings where bone can rub on bone.
Knee arthritis causes pain, stiffness, swelling, and loss of mobility, which makes it hard for you to take part in everyday activities. You might notice that symptoms are worse in the morning, after resting, or after vigorous activity like running or biking.
Patients with severe cases of knee arthritis may find benefits in surgery and joint replacement. However, I believe in more holistic treatments to address arthritis symptoms when possible. This includes weight loss, physical therapy, and the use of arthritis knee braces.
What Does A Knee Brace Do?
For knee arthritis, braces relieve pain by taking pressure off of the parts of the bones that are most damaged. They provide stability that allows you to walk farther comfortably, stand, and move around more confidently. They can also help to decrease swelling around the knee joint.
Knee braces support joints but will not prevent you from getting injured. Rather, they are there to lend cushioning and support to your knee area while you are active. Remember to focus on stretching and leg strength while making any necessary changes to your daily exercise plan or lifestyle.
Types Of Knee Braces
While knee supports do not prevent injury, they can be used to limit motion during rehabilitation or aid in mobility when you already have an injury or condition like arthritis. Commonly made from metal, plastic, silicone, and elastic, these come in many styles.
Here are some of the best knee brace styles for arthritis:
- Unloader knee braces are designed to shift the load from key areas to reduce pressure. Like immobilization braces, they do not allow the knee to move freely. Often by prescription, they can be bulky.
- Compression braces are the most commonly used. Like a stretchy sleeve that you pull over your knee, this simple arthritis knee brace helps to distribute pressure on the knee joint. It can also relieve pain through pressure and warmth.
- Wrap-around braces open on one side so that you can adjust them. Normally with a back or side of the knee opening for adjusting, they provide support for arthritis knee pain, weakness, and buckling.
- Hinged braces provide rigidity while still allowing for mobility. The knee is able to swing forward and back without risk of further damage. Helpful for both injuries and arthritis pain, these braces allow you to walk freely.
- Custom-made knee braces for arthritis can be expensive; fortunately you can purchase ready-made ones in various sizes.
Here is my list of the 5 Best Knee Support Braces
If you don’t want your arthritis knee support getting in the way while you’re being physically active, this knee brace may be what you’re looking for. The Bodyprox provides pressure while relieving stress on your knee joint.
- Universal fit for any size
- Provides both support and knee compression
- Padded, open patella design
- Includes adjustable Velcro patella support strap
- Absorbent and breathable material
This style brace for knee arthritis provides support for the weak points that cause you pain. It includes a movable strap for support around the knee joint and patella.
Great for athletes living with knee osteoarthritis, this sturdy reduces knee stress during heavy work or exercise while still allowing you the flexibility to move freely. The lightweight, breathable material absorbs sweat to reduce your chance of skin irritation. It’s an ideal knee support option for a sports enthusiast or someone who likes to run.
While providing knee support for arthritis, this gel-infused unloader knee brace is also effective for those healing from injuries who still want to stay active. The therapeutic compression will reduce inflammation, ease pain, and encourage healing.
- Easy to adjust size
- Does not slip
- Reduces arthritis pain during activity
- Comfortable yet supportive
- Will not fit plus sizes
- Too bulky under/over clothing
- Flimsy Velcro
- Straps cause chafing
The Cambivo compression brace is designed to provide extra support while you continue to be active. Many people enjoy the unrestricted movement of hassle-free knee braces for arthritis that you can simply slip-on. During and after exercise, you may find the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis is reduced.
- Comes in five sizes
- Manages arthritis pain and inflammation
- Comfortable anti-slip design
- Breathable fabric reduces skin irritation
- Evenly distributes pressure
- Set of 2 sleeves
These knee sleeves are often used by people who are recovering from knee injuries. However, they also provide the support required to relieve your osteoarthritis symptoms. Inflammation leads to stiffness that makes everyday movements hard. A lightweight knee sleeve may be all you need to make movement less painful.
Another benefit of this style is that it provides a comforting warm sensation that helps your knees to relax. Along with stretching and strengthening techniques, these can help you to achieve greater flexibility.
Make sure to measure your leg accurately before ordering.
- Fits like a second skin
- Affordable price
- Can comfortably wear it all day
- Greatly reduces knee pain
- Company will refund or replace
- Not enough compression for size
- Doesn’t always stay in place
- Some experience discomfort
- Does not provide enough support
- Not suitable for plus size people
Ideal for knee osteoarthritis, these adjustable knee stabilizers provide support for when you are physically active or in your everyday routine. Many find arthritis pain to be greatly decreased with use of the Mueller brace.
- Provides support and compression
- Self-adjusting straps to control compression
- Increases circulation to relieve pain
- Wrap-around design easy to put on/take off
- One size
This type of lightweight stabilizer knee brace provides more support than a knee sleeve, but range of motion when you bend and flex is more restricted. It has a slim design that may be easier to wear under clothing and an open back to eliminate bunching behind the knee.
Heat helps with circulation, which in turn helps with pain relief and healing. The neoprene construction of this brace helps to retain heat while being breathable.
With this self-adjusting brace you control the amount of compression with the adjustable knee strap. Flexible steel springs provide lateral support while still allowing for some movement.
- Noticeable decrease in knee pain
- Not bulky, can be worn under clothes
- Comfortable design
- Help keep knees aligned
- Velcro can irritate skin
- Brace might wear down quickly
- Not enough lateral support for some
If you need maximum support while exercising, this hinged brace may be the right one for you. It provides fully stabilized compression while restricting lateral movement. That means you’ll feel more confident when you move around. No fear of twisting your tweaking your knee.
- Protects from lateral movement
- Antimicrobial, breathable design
- Adjustable straps
- Integrated side stabilizers reduce shifting
Like a compression sleeve, this brace slips on from the bottom, then you adjust the straps to your comfort. Bilateral hinges and aluminum stays provide security for injured or weak knees while offering you increased range of motion.
This heavy-duty knee bracing design provides a comfortable shock absorber, even though it is bulkier than some other styles. While you won’t be able to conceal it under your pants, it provides the stabilized compression to support your leg, keep your knee joint aligned, and improve circulation through therapeutic heat (meaning less pain).
Since it is so restrictive, the Shock Doctor brace is not meant to be worn for many hours at a time.
- No pinching or squeezing
- No skin irritation
- Increased stability
- Increased confidence when active
- Doesn’t stay secure for some
- Not durable enough
- Cannot wear for long periods of time
These light support knee braces for arthritis are great for runner’s knee and other folks who like to stay active. Designed to provide moderate patellar support, they also reduce pain from knee arthritis by keeping the knee joint in alignment. It slips on over your leg and can be adjusted to fit securely. It provides pain-relieving compression while still allowing full range of motion.
- Superior patella support
- Removable plastic hinges
- Made from hypoallergenic, breathable fabric
- Various sizes
For a lightweight brace, the Donjoy offers extra medial/lateral stability with removable plastic hinge inserts. Depending on your level of activity you may find that you do not need the hinges. An open knee design relieves pressure on the kneecap while still functioning to realign the joint.
Made from a lightweight, breathable fabric, the low-profile Donjoy brace is not prone to cause any skin irritation. It wicks away moisture for added comfort while you exercise. Like the other selections above, this knee support comes in various sizes so measure carefully before ordering.
- Reduces pain and inflammation
- Keeps kneecap in place
- Fits comfortably for most
- Does not slip
- Improper fit
- Uncomfortable on skin
- Velcro straps don’t last
- Not enough patellar support
Plus Size Knee Braces For Arthritis
Many plus-size patients who suffer from knee arthritis worry that standard knee support products will not fit comfortably. But there are over-the-counter varieties that are exclusively made to fit large sizes and provide the support that you need.
One of my top recommendations is the Vie Vibrante Plus Size Knee Brace Exclusive..
Specially designed to fit larger legs, this brace features:
- Front side closing that’s easier to put on
- No-slip design
- Wrap around, open back design that won’t cut into your knee
- Stretchable straps for increased comfort
- Removable hinges for custom stability
- Available in sizes up to 33”
How To Find The Best Knee Brace for Arthritis and Other FAQ’s
How Long Should I Wear A Knee Brace?
Depending on the severity of your knee arthritis you may need to wear a brace everyday. If you are on your feet a lot or engaged in strenuous activity often, a brace will provide the support you need to keep your osteoarthritis in check. Make sure you find time in the day to remove it to prevent skin irritation or soreness.
Are There Any Risks Of Wearing A Knee Brace?
Many people who discontinue use of a knee brace do so because they find them bulky, heavy, and restricting. They may also have complications with chafing, swelling, and skin irritation.
Don’t wear your brace excessively. It is important to strengthen and stretch to avoid further knee injury. In addition to properly sized knee support, boots, shoes and other footwear should be correctly fitted to reduce discomfort and joint degeneration.
Will A Knee Brace Really Help?
While they won’t cure OA, research shows evidence that knee braces may help treat the symptoms of knee arthritis. A good knee brace for arthritis will help you feel less pain so that you can move more comfortably, and offset the pressure on your joints to prevent further damage. Plus, it will give you the confidence to be active again.
Lingering Knee Arthritis Pain? Talk To Your Physican
Our knees support everyday mobility. Painful knee arthritis symptoms can seem debilitating, but they don’t have to be. When it comes to arthritis, patience and perseverance are essential. With diet, effective exercises, and the right knee support arthritis can be manageable.
Arthritis can be a big knee problem if left unchecked. Talk to a physician about your knee pain to get advice on the best osteoarthritis knee brace options for you. Consider working with a great physical therapist before considering knee surgery. As always, start with your family medicine provider.