The Right Sized Knee Brace Is Critical – Here’s Why – 2020 Update

choose the right knee brace

This article is about how to choose right knee brace. It’s a multi step process if your goal is to get the best knee support along with great comfort.

How well your knee brace fits determine how well it will protect and support your knee. Having the right size makes all the difference and there are three important reasons why.

The first reason you need a knee brace to be the right size is so that you do not cause more harm than good to your knee joints. This is a real risk if you choose a knee brace that is too small, which means it will fit too tightly to your leg.

Yet, if the knee brace is too large it means it will not provide the extra support your knee needs to avoid further injury or aggravating your already painful knee condition.

The best way to find out what size knee brace you need is to measure specific areas  of your leg above and below your knee. The tricky part is that there is not a universal sizing scale that you can rely on. Each company can have their own measuring scale as to what are large, medium or small sizes. This article will help you determine what size is right for your specific needs based on the brand and style you need.

That means just because you wore a medium with your last knee brace you wore, that doesn’t mean you wear a medium with every other brand. So, you need to measure your leg areas and then compare your measurements to where they fall in with the specific brand and knee brace you are purchasing.

Further into this article I provide a step by step description on how to measure you’re for a properly fitting knee brace.

How to choose right knee brace?

choose right knee braceSomething I did not anticipate when I purchased one of my first knee braces was dealing with chafing. The knee brace I used was too large and constantly slipped down my leg when I exercised and got sweaty. The more the material, the brace was made from, stretched the worse the chafing got.

From that experience I learned that one of the most important things when it comes to using a knee brace is to make sure you get one that fits your knee properly. One size fits all doesn’t always fit!

A good brace has to do two important things to qualify as being the right knee brace for you. It has to both fit snug to your knee to provide the support your knee joint needs but also it cannot be so constrictive that your joint is not flexible and blood circulation is hindered.

The true purpose of a brace is to allow your knee to be functional while limiting the risk of further damage and at the same time.

When a knee brace is to small it goes beyond supporting your knee to compressing the joint so tightly that it causes a lot of irritation and discomfort. Wearing a brace that is too small I found actually caused my knee to become even more inflamed and painful over time.

This is often caused because the brace retains too much heat in the knee are and it can also block lymphatic and venous blood flow.

The odd thing about a knee brace that is too small, and constricting is that initially you feel that sense of support and stability and at first your knee feels better. It’s only after you’ve worn the brace for a short while that you feel the effects of it being so tight.

When a knee brace is too large it doesn’t always mean that the brace slides down your leg. When it does it is obvious that the brace is too large. Not sure why anyone would purchase a knee brace that isn’t at a minimum compressed enough to stay in place on their knee.

When I say a knee brace is too large I’m talking about a brace that you pull up or attach to your knee that provides some support but not enough.

That means as you are wearing a brace that with any little odd type of movement causes pain or discomfort. That shouldn’t happen unless you have a major knee injury you’re dealing with. If this is happening it also could mean you need a different type of brace altogether. One that supplies more compression and protection to a specific area of your knee.

hinged knee braceFor example, if your knees seem to buckle or feel like they slide out of alignment that requires a hinged knee brace.  This heavy-duty brace is used to keep your knee in the proper alignment when you walk and move around.

Doctors will often have you wear a hinged brace after knee surgery to insure you get the highest level of protection from re-injury while also proving support for knee movement.

On the other hand, if you are looking for more support and comfort in a brace that allow your knee joint to move more freely and with less pain  then you should be using a knee sleeve that provides relief from swelling and pain using the compression method.  A knee sleeve pulls up over your knee very much in the same way you put on socks.

Regardless of which type of knee brace you need it still must fit properly to get the best results.

After doing some extensive research I found that many people complain that their knees still hurt when wearing their knee brace. After reading user comments from many websites I’m convinced the majority of people who complained about their braces being uncomfortable were wearing knee braces that were too small.

What they described was grinding and inflammation that got worse the longer they wore the brace. These are clear signs that the knee braces they were wearing were too constrictive and they needed to go at least one size larger to get a better fit and proper support.

So How Do You Go About Finding The Right Size Knee Brace?

knee brace questionMost brands of knee braces offer familiar size options but the leg measurements to fit into these size scales can be different between each brand.

XS Knee Braces, Small Knee Braces, Medium Knee Braces, Large Knee Braces, XL Knee Braces, XXL Knee Braces

However, by looking at the charts provided by 3 different brands you’ll notice that not only are the sizes different but even the area of your leg you need to measure can differ from one company to another.

Example #1 this company’s size ranges may differ from other brands. Meaning the exact same measurement could be labeled as medium with this company but in a different company that same measurement would be labeled as a small size.

Example #2 – Notice same measurements as the first example but they are labeled on a different size scale.


Example #3 This brand requires you to measure a different area of your leg.

A Step by Step Chart on How To Properly Measure Your Knee:

  1. So, the first step is to find the measurement chart your brand uses to know what areas you will need to measure
  2. To finding the right size brace extend your leg straight out. Luckily you can accomplish this task with a soft and flexible measuring tape. This can be done from a standing or a sitting position with your knee straight and you heal touching the floor.
  3. You will be measuring the circumference of your thigh about 6 to 7 inches above the knee cap. So from the center of your knee measure up 6 inches and make mark and measure the circumference around your knee at that point.
  4. Then measure the thickest portion of your calf area 6 inches below your knee cap and repeat the process.
  5. If you don’t have a flexible tape measure you can improvise and use a piece of string or thin rope to wrap around the upper area of your leg and your calf areas. Then stretch that string across a measuring stick or other measuring device to get the lengths.
  6. If you are buying a brace that uses your size of your knee itself then take a measurement from the center of your knee all the way around. Again, your leg needs to be straight out for this type of measurement.

For more exact measurements get a partner to help with these measurements. This is important if you are having difficulty getting the measurements yourself because the difference between one size to another can be as little as a half inch. Being inaccurate in your measurements can make a big difference in the amount of support and comfort you experience with your knee brace.


Great Video That Walks You Though The Process


Important Information to Remember:

  • Size charts are not universal. Make sure you are looking at the size chart for the specific brace you want to order.
  • For products like a knee sleeve or brace, there needs to be enough compression, so the support doesn’t slide down and stays in place. Take this into account when choosing a size – think smaller, not bigger… But, not too small.
  • Most knee braces can be worn on either knee unless there is a left/right option to choose from on the product page.
  • Be mindful about how the brace is applied to your knee. Some braces require you to slide it up over your foot and calf while others might open fully to be secured around your knee.
  • Comfort is one of the three big reasons you need the right size knee brace. It should be a brace that is sized so that doesn’t get uncomfortable throughout the day but still provides the support and stability it is designed for.

In conclusion, you’ve now learned how important it is for a knee brace to fit properly to help maximize the level of pain relief it can provide. Along the way you may have learned a few surprising details about how different knee braces work to relieve knee joint pain.  Picking the right size brace is big key to how well it will perform for you. Feel free to read back through the article one more time to pick up on some of the specific and little-known details I you may have missed.


share this pageIf you found this information helpful, please link back to this site! Statistics show that 80% of people have some type of unhealthy joint condition and bad knee joints is right at the top. Don’t let this information go to waste. Help me help others. Thanks in advance!




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