How Knee Braces Really Work – The Complete 2020 Updated Guide

I guarantee you’ll never question which is the best knee brace for you ever again! After reading this blog you’ll easily be able to choose the perfect brace that will help the most with reducing your knee joint pain. 

I’ve made it a point to make this the best knee brace support guide you’ll ever want!

If you have bad knee joints you’ll likely have pain because of it at some level for the rest of your life. That means you need the best knee brace to reduce as much of your joint pain as possible.

Make no mistake, it matters which knee brace you choose and I’m here to help you find that perfect fit.

One of the questions that come up often is “how good do knee braces work to help with arthritis in the knees and knee pain in general?”

The short answer is knee braces work really good for knee pain relief. The better answer is that the new, more advanced, knee braces that are coming to the market work even better.

Let me explain why knee braces are now better suited to help with arthritis knee joint pain.

Because of advance knee brace designs  you can now choose a brace that targets a specific area of pain in your knee. This is different from knee brace designs from several years ago that were basically designed as a one style fits all approach.

Some knee brace designs still work this way and although they aren’t as pain targeted they are still beneficial in one specific way that I’ll cover a little later on. So if you’re looking to upgrade to a newer model but still have an older style brace laying around, don’t throw it out just yet, let me explain how it can still be an effective way to help ease your knee joint pain.

I personally needed to use knee braces for many years and they always helped reduce my knee pain and allowed me to move around more freely. However not all of them were comfortable and I ended up having to buy multiple braces until I found one that gave me support plus was comfortable to wear.

From experience with knee pain and braces I knew they helped with torn knee ligaments and ligament damage in general, because that’s was my issue. So when it cam to arthritis pain, although it seemed logical that braces should help pain in knee joints caused by arthritis too, I couldn’t assume that was the case so I investigated the matter.

As it turns out every study I’ve read all report knee braces are a good option to help reduce arthritis pain in your knees. In fact they are a great option for almost instant relief from most other joint painful conditions that might be caused by arthritis. 

Here is a quick list of knee braces that can be used to help with the pain associated with arthritis. 

  • Hinged knee brace
  • Unloader knee brace
  • Drop-lock hinged knee brace
  • Plus various types of knee compression sleeves

A more detailed review of these braces is covered further down into this article so keep reading.

Patients suffering from arthritis are capable of living an active lifestyle and can get a noticeable reduction in knee pain with the aid of the right type of knee brace. According to NCBI, a knee braces is known to be the non-invasive treatment procedure to help reduce knee pain. Non-invasive basically means it’s a none surgical option.

How do knee braces work? Knee braces work to reduce arthritis pain in your knees because they function by shifting the weight from the unhealthy parts of your knee towards the healthier areas. As they help provided better range of activity and mobility they also play a vital role in reducing the stiffness present in the joint. Since they are light in weight, when they are worn braces do not add to your weight load which is also an important factor in reducing knee joint pain.



If you’re wondering about more ways knee braces can be used to help with knee joint pain I recommended you taking the time to go through the complete write-up below.

How are knee braces useful for people suffering from arthritis?

The answer might surprise you.

The knee offers the right stability to perform various activities such as jumping, running, standing up and climbing. In the due course of time, the joints of knees might suffer from these same activities to a point where it may result in arthritis.

Unsteadiness and joint pain are considered to be the most common symptoms of arthritis. Opting for knee braces are considered to be a great option during such conditions as they help you in walking and standing comfortably while eliminating the knee pain effectively and efficiently.Though knee braces are considered to be the first-line treatment for osteoarthritis, they can also play a vital role in offering ongoing relief from the symptoms of osteoarthritis. 

With the latest advancements in the knee bracing technology, they offer the prerequisite opportunities to patients suffering from arthritis to get quick relief from their pain. Here are some ways in which knee braces can be useful for people suffering from osteoarthritis:

Reducing inflammation and pain

Knee braces are regarded as the perfect option to reduce the pain and aiding you in leading a normal lifestyle. This is done in different ways and it depends on the type of knee brace, you are planning to choose as to exactly how it will help.

Like knee braces, knee sleeves are commonly used for mild arthritis and they play a vital role in keeping the joints of your knees warm and flexible. This is the reason why, even if you decide to get a brace that more closely targets your specific pain areas, that you can still use your old brace in certain situations to help keep the area around your knee warm and more flexible.

If you’re suffering from severe pain, the unloader style knee braces are considered to be the best choice.

As I mentioned above they redistribute the weight, present on the knee joint perfectly. This is useful in relieving pressure from a specific area and spread the pressure of your body weight across other areas of your knee.


Motivation for more exercise – This is a verified medical secret that might surprise you.


You might think that you should stay off your knee joints but the surprising fact is that medical experts say you should do the exact opposite and get more exercise, not less. Knee braces allow you to do that even with painful knee joints.

With the use of a good knee brace there is less pain in your knees which gives you the ability to be more active. Being more active means you get more exercise. Daily exercise of your knee joints is one of the healthy things doctors prescribe to treat osteoarthritis pain.

Braces offers consistent joint support

In addition to offering relief from pain, these products offer the ultimate peace of mind to patients, suffering from osteoarthritis. In case you are living an active and healthy life, they are useful in cushioning the knee and offering joint support at the same time. This means it protects you from accidentally causing more damage while you are wearing it.

Different types of knee braces support your knee differently. What some people label as a brace but is actually considered a sleeve, which we will get into later on in this article, actually is one of the best ways to provide consistent, be it light, support to the entire area of the knee that it touches. They really help to keep your knee flexible.

Avoiding Surgery

Some people might have the wrong notion that surgery is always the best option. People think that once they had surgery that their knee joint will work like brand new again.

However, you need to keep in mind that surgery is an invasive procedure and offers a bunch of complications. Far too often, even after surgery you will still live with mild, moderate and even sever knee joint pain for the rest of your life. Surgery often is a choice taken to make your joint usable, not necessarily painless. 

If you are suffering from moderate or severe pain, knee braces can be useful in delaying surgery or avoiding it altogether. From my own personal experience with knee surgery my pain never went away  but after my knee ligament was removed the 90% joint was functional again.  

Still, I went into surgery needing a knee brace for support and I came out of surgery still needing a knee brace for joint support and to help with my on going pain and swelling.

That was over 3 decades ago but still, as of today, knee braces are considered to be the most non-invasive option and can be combined with different treatment options to speed up and increase the success recovery rate.

Physical therapy, glucosamine supplementation, weight loss, and exercise are considered to be a few of the other crucial components which can help in managing the pain caused by osteoarthritis of the knees.

Promote the healing of ligaments

If you are suffering from MCL or medial collateral ligament injuries, knee braces are considered to be a great choice as they bestow support for healing. In case you have ACL or Anterior collateral ligament tears, there is a good chances that you might need surgery to repair that level of damage. The knee braces are considered to be the best choice in this regard as they help in bending the knee during the healing after surgery.

Besides this, knee braces are known to be a perfect choice to prevent swelling. Moreover, you can stay physically active and continue with your life with far less pain by wearing the right knee brace.

What types of knee braces are available in stores?

A wide array of knee braces are available in the market which plays a vital role in providing relief from the symptoms of arthritis. They offer enhanced lateral stability which brings an improvement in the balance. Increased friction causes the loss of cartilage and bone on bone pressure is recognized to be the long term result, which is a major causes joint pain.

Types of knee braces

As promised here is more detailed information on how some knee brace work and how they help with pain. As arthritis is considered to be one of the most prominent kinds of joint pain, different types of braces are available to get rid of this condition.

Here are some of the most common knee braces that are available in the market:


Unloader knee brace

This types of true knee braces come in different shapes and models. You can use it to supply stability, support, and discomfort relief for those who have knee pain caused from osteoarthrities or injury that is affecting primarily just one side of the knee joint. This sort of knee brace is made to transfer pressure inside the knee, “unloading” pressure from one side of the joint to the other side.

Quite simply, an unloader knee brace does precisely what its name suggests in that it shifts stress, in the affected side from the joint towards the healthier side away from the unhealthy joint.These kinds of knee braces are often composed of foam padding and molded plastic. They can feature steel struts that ensure that your knee does not wobble.

They are recognized to be customized knee braces which can be adjusted for the reduction of pressure on the outer or inner part of your knee. 

These braces will cost you approximately $500 to $2000, as a generally price range but this does depend on the design and material being used to construct it. They are normally recommended by a doctor but they’re cost is not always paid by medical insurance, which means you should consult your health care plan provider before making the purchase.

Hinged knee brace

Hinged knee braceThis type of knee brace is noted for regularly having a metal hing plate on either side or both sides of the knees. Hinged knee braces commonly comes with a hole for the kneecap to allow the bending motion.

The can come with adjustable straps. The straps are wrapped and attached below and at the upper part of the knee to ensure side to side stability of the kneecap. 

This design is made to support walking and movement. These products are considered to be a great option to ensure the knee stability because the hinge does not bend to allow over extension of knee tendons and joints.  

It must be mentioned that not all hinged knee braces are manufactured equally. You need to choose one which is long and wide enough to allow for the support of the whole knee.


Basic knee sleeves

Sleeves play a vital role in providing compression to the knees and warmth. Compression helps limit the movement of the knee cap and helps your central nervous system feel the joint’s position. This helps to avoid further injury. Neoprene is the material that is popularly used for sleeve because they do in fact to help keep in body heat. By helping to keep your joints warm it assists in better blood circulation and flexibility. Because of this they are able to help reduce arthritis pain and swelling at the same time.

If you are suffering from mild pain due to arthritis and need added support for walking, jogging or biking then they are certainly the perfect choice for you.

If you have ligament damage that requires additional support specifically for the inner or outer areas of your knee, then a sleeve may not provide enough support to protect your knee joint efficiently when performing more extreme activities. 

There are many variations of knee sleeves and you can purchase these simple knee support sleeves in different drug stores or more conveniently online such as through

One of the top reasons why users prefer to buy this specific knee support product is because they do provide noticeable support, are simple to use and are affordable. Moreover, they’re easy to maintain and you can wear them while performing almost any normal daily activity.

 Advanced Support braces

KNEE BRACE WITH STRAPSThis specific type of knee braces is considered to be the most ideal choice for supporting damaged ligaments.

They are beneficial in reducing the weight present in the knee joint. Also, they help get rid of moderate pain.

It is possible to customize these support braces easily because their main feature is being equipped with large straps.

The straps ensure a more comfortable and snuggle fit to balance out comfort and protection. You can opt to use the basic advance support braces if you are suffering from moderate or mild arthritis pain.

Immobilizing drop-lock hinged brace

lockedhingedkneebraceThis is an example of an advanced support brace and such types of knee braces are used on an extensive scale after surgery or injury as they commonly come with the adjustable hinge. They generally lock into place and ensure that your knee does not flex or extend excessively. This is the brace used for major injuries because it keeps your leg stable to promote healing but as importantly to prevent injury to an already very weak joint. 

There is normally a time table associated with how long a doctor would prescribe that you wear a brace that basically immobilizes your knee.


Custom-fit knee braces and sleeves –

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In case you are going to wear the knee brace for a long time, you might consider opting for the custom fit brace. Here, the physician will be prescribing the knee brace after which you will be referred to the orthodontist. These professionals are going to take measurements of the movement patterns, joint and more for creating a custom fit brace.

They are recognized to be the most effective and comfortable braces, available as they are tailored to your needs. However, such types of braces might take a long time to create and they are expensive.

You might get overwhelmed with a wide array of knee braces available in the market. If you are planning to purchase them, you need to consider a few factors such as the size, the material used for the manufacturing of the knee braces, etc.

In conclusion, you’ve learned how and why braces can help relieve knee pain. Along the way you  may have learned a few surprising details about how different knee braces are.  Picking the right brace for your specific area of knee pain is key to insuring your knee pain is greatly reduced. If you missed anything feel free to go through the article one more time and pick up on some of the specific and little known details I provided.



Updates to this article that are coming soon:
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Copper Fit Knee Braces and Sleeves:

How are they different? Are they better than traditional sleeves?

Best Knee Brace for Walking Long Distances:

Do you need a different type of brace for long distance walking?

Best Knee Brace for Jogging:

What type of knee brace best supports jogging?

Best Knee Brace for Running:

Is there a different brace made specifically for running?

Best Knee Brace for riding a Bike:

Is a knee brace necessary if you are riding a bicycle?

Best Knee Brace for Hiking:

What type of brace offers the most protection and support for hikers?

Resources: science directNCBI.Gov | Knee Brace Manual|Supplements For Knee Health | Right Knee Brace Size

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