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Top 5 Best Knee Braces for Pain: Review the Top-Rated Brands

Knee pain is common, but the causes and nature vary. You may have an ache that is localized, or it may diffuse throughout your knee. It may be some minor tenderness only felt with weight bearing or strain or it may be a continuous throbbing pain. Often, in order to determine the underlying cause, you will need to undergo an exam and possibly medical imaging. Of course, one way to ease some of the pain and discomfort is by wearing a knee brace. We will review the top 5 best knee brace for pain in this article. However, before we do that, we’re going to go over the 10 most common causes of knee pain.

10 Most Common Causes of Knee Pain

Below, we’ll explain the 10 most common causes of knee pain. If you are experiencing pain, we would encourage you to go see your doctor so that you can find out what is causing your pain and what can be done to rectify the situation.

Bursitis

Bursae are small fluid-filled sacs that cushion joints and reduce friction. There are 11 bursae on each of your knees. If any of those bursae become irritated, it is a condition known as bursitis. When this happens to the sacs over the patella, or kneecap, you may experience an ache. In some cases, the ache can restrict mobility.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Iliotibial band syndrome, or ITBS, is damage to the knee caused by overuse of tissues of the knees and outer thighs. This condition is often seen in weightlifters, runners, and hikers.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament Damage

The ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, is one of the four ligaments that unite the shin bone to the thigh bone. Damage to the ACL could result in excruciating knee pain. In most cases, the damage is due to some level of over-stretching of the ligament. Things such as abruptly changing course when playing sports or going for a stroll can be enough to cause the damage. Sometimes, you may hear a “popping” sound and then the knee will begin to swell over the next few hours.

Poor Ankle Mobility

In some situations, knee pain is the result of poor ankle mobility. Restricted ankle dorsiflexion can cause the knees to transfer inward at an unnatural angle. Activity that requires the ankle to flex a lot typically causes knee pain. Over time, this condition could cause significant damage to the knees.

Osteoarthritis

Another potential trigger for knee pain is osteoarthritis. This is a degenerative condition that typically affects individuals over the age of 60. The cartilage within the knee shrinks in those individuals with this condition. This results in the bones rubbing together, which causes ache, lack of mobility, bulging, and possibly bone spurs.

Meniscus Tear

The meniscus is a piece of cartilage that acts as a cushion between the tibia and the femur. When torn, the meniscus can cause knee pain. Workouts requiring rigorous twisting or turning of the knee can cause the meniscus to be torn. In some cases, simply standing up quickly from a squat position can cause a meniscus tear.

Patellar Tendinitis

Patellar tendinitis is a common condition that affects both children and adults. This damage affects the tendon that connects the shin bone and the kneecap. Things like intense workouts, repetitive leaping and bending of the knee can cause irritation and/or degeneration of the knee. If tendon injury is left unchecked or continues to happen, it is referred to as tendinopathy.

Popliteal Cyst

A popliteal cyst, also known as a bakers cyst, is a fluid-filled cyst behind the knee. This typically develops due to gout or arthritis of the knee. Signs of a popliteal cyst are tightness and stiffness behind the knee, ache in the upper calf, swelling, and sometimes the knee may make a popping/clicking sound or even lock up. The cyst may rupture and fluid drain down the leg, which can cause the swelling to go down.

Osteochondritis Dissecans

Osteochondritis dissecans, or OD, is a dysfunction of the joint that usually affects children and teens. Cracks occur within the articular cartilage, which causes pain and swelling. Though this condition can happen within any joint, it’s common in the knee. There’s no clear explanation to why this happens, but medical professionals consider it a result of repeated trauma to the joint.

Patellofemoral Ache Syndrome

Patellofemoral ache syndrome, or PFPS, is a common explanation for knee pain. This is also referred to as runner’s knee and happens due to an imbalance of flexion and extension. Wearing inappropriate footwear, a sudden change in movement, and muscle imbalances can cause it to become worse.

Now that you know some of the most common causes of knee pain, we’re going to review the top 5 best knee braces for pain.

Top 5 Best Knee Brace for Pain Highlights

Product Highlights
Exo Sleeve
  • 3 sizes: 3mm (light), 5 mm (medium), 7 mm (heavy
  • Variety of colors and designs
  • Improves blood flow
  • Reduces strain/swelling
  • Contoured fit
  • Sold in pairs
  • PentagonFit Knee Sleeve
  • Improves blood flow
  • Supports the knee
  • Reduces pain and inflammation
  • Improves recovery time
  • Money Back guarantee
  • Knee Force
  • Ideal for use in all activities
  • Relieves pain
  • Soothes joint
  • One of the most comfortable sleeves on the market
  • VitaKnee
  • Budget friendly
  • 30-day guarantee
  • Quick relief of knee pain
  • Ergonomic fit
  • Quality product at a discount price
  • Caresole Circa Knee Compression Sleeve
  • Prevents injury
  • Keeps joints warm and lubricated
  • Ideal for daily use
  • Contoured fit
  • Top 5 Best Knee Brace for Pain Reviews

    When it comes to knee braces for pain, the top 5 are as follows:

    • Exo Sleeve
    • PentagonFit Knee Sleeve
    • Knee Force
    • VitaKnee
    • Caresole Circa Knee Compression Sleeve

    We will be reviewing each one of these below.

    Exo Sleeve

    image
    Name Exo Sleeve
    Highlights
  • 3 sizes: 3mm (light), 5 mm (medium), 7 mm (heavy
  • Variety of colors and designs
  • Improves blood flow
  • Reduces strain/swelling
  • Contoured fit
  • Sold in pairs
  • Material Antimicrobial neoprene
    Cost $29

    Official Website

    When it comes to knee sleeve braces, Exo Sleeve is one of the most well-known brands on the market. They have a stellar reputation for manufacturing some of the best knee sleeves available to meet every type of knee pain.

    In fact, they have found so much success with their knee sleeves, they also produce other types of fitness equipment, including weight belts, sandbags, resistance bands, and so much more.

    The Exo Sleeve comes in three sizes:

    • Light: 3 mm
    • Medium: 5 mm
    • Heavy: 7 mm

    If you participate in fitness activities such as powerlifting, bodybuilding, or CrossFit, the medium or heavy sleeves will be best for you. On the other hand, if agility workouts are your focus, you will want to use the light sleeve instead. This way, you can give your knee the support it needs without interfering with your mobility.

    Finally, with Exo Sleeve, you’re not stuck with the boring black or white- they offer a wide array of colors and designs. This knee brace starts at $29 and goes up from there. It’s important to note that while many brands offer 1 knee sleeve in a package, these are sold in pairs.

    PentagonFit Knee Sleeve

    image
    Name PentagonFit Knee Sleeve
    Highlights
  • Improves blood flow
  • Supports the knee
  • Reduces pain and inflammation
  • Improves recovery time
  • Money Back guarantee
  • Material Spandex, Nylon
    Cost $39.95

    Official Website

    PentagonFit Knee Sleeve is a medical grade sleeve that offers instant stability, protection, and support for your knee. According to their website, this sleeve supports a quick recovery while relieving pain and preventing injury. This sleeve also offers additional benefits that are not seen in some of the other products on the market.

    For example, this knee sleeve increases stability, improves blood flow, and offers support for the knee. In addition, pain and inflammation are reduced and range of motion is increased- all while protecting the knee from further injury.

    This knee sleeve costs $39.95 and is the perfect solution for those who have arthritis, tendinitis in the knee, ligament tears, and arthritis in the knee, as well as other knee issues. PentagonFit does offer a money back guarantee as well. If you’re not satisfied, return it and you will get your money back.

    Priced at $39.95, this knee sleeve is ideal for those who are experiencing knee arthritis, muscle sprains, knee tendonitis, and ligament tears, among other issues. Importantly, it comes with a money back guarantee.

    Knee Force

    image
    Name Knee Force
    Highlights
  • Ideal for use in all activities
  • Relieves pain
  • Soothes joint
  • One of the most comfortable sleeves on the market
  • Material Breathable mesh
    Cost $39.98

    Official Website

    Knee Force is a knee brace that is made to strengthen knees, provide pain relief, and soothe the joint. This sleeve is much more comfortable than many of the other sleeves on the market, due to the breathable material it is made from. Additionally, the quality of the material makes it perfect for daily use- whether working out at the gym or not.

    The main characteristics of Knee Force knee brace are similar to those of other brands on the market. However, what sets it apart is the color combination of green and black.

    When you check the reviews, you see that most people give it 5 stars due to its functionality and the fact that it’s easy to find in stores.

    VitaKnee

    image
    Name VitaKnee
    Highlights
  • Budget friendly
  • 30-day guarantee
  • Quick relief of knee pain
  • Ergonomic fit
  • Quality product at a discount price
  • Material Breathable mesh and elastic
    Cost $39.99

    Official Website

    VitaKnee is a knee brace that deserves consideration. This is an ergonomic knee brace that offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee. This brace promises to provide quick relief from knee pain- whether due to a chronic condition or an injury. However, they are not as well-known as many of the other brands on our list.

    That being said, VitaKnee has created a place for themselves in the budget knee sleeve classification by offering a quality product at a discount price. These sleeves are only $39.99 each and are perfect for anyone that wants a knee brace that can protect, support, and strengthen their knee.

    Caresole Circa Knee Compression Sleeve

    image
    Name Caresole Circa Knee Compression Sleeve
    Highlights
  • Prevents injury
  • Keeps joints warm and lubricated
  • Ideal for daily use
  • Contoured fit
  • Material Neoprene
    Cost $42

    Official Website

    The Circa Knee Compression Sleeve by Caresole is one of the best knee braces on the market today. It has a higher price than many of the others on our list, but we believe that it is worth it. It is made of breathable neoprene, so it helps keep your knees warm, your joints lubricated, and prevents injury. Many of the knee braces on the market are targeted to bodybuilders, but this one is for anyone that needs extra support.

    Additionally, those who walk on hard surfaces and wish to avoid slipping will find this to be the best knee brace. It offers the best in stabilization and has a contoured fit that ensures maximum comfort. Users who wear this sleeve have full range of motion and increased agility compared to other options on the list.

    This knee brace costs $42 each and works for both men and women- anyone with knee pain that wishes to move or walk easily. Though it is one of the higher priced options on the list, we believe that you will find that it’s worth the extra money.

    How We Chose Best Knee Brace for Pain

    When you start shopping for a knee brace for pain, you will find that every one of them promises to eliminate pain, increase comfort, and provide protection for the knee. They don’t always fulfill on these promises though- but you can be sure the ones we chose do meet these promises and more. Below, we’ll explain the criteria we used to create our list of best knee braces for pain:

    Material

    Manufacturers of knee braces use a variety of materials. Some of them use elastic that stores energy, making it easier to participate in bodybuilding activities. Others use neoprene. As you can see, we did not discriminate- we have a variety of materials on our list.

    Customization

    You can find knee braces in a variety of thicknesses, which makes it easier to find a product that meets your needs. In fact, Exo Sleeve offers three different thicknesses, so you can choose the one that works best for the activity you plan on doing.

    Fit/Comfort

    One of the most important things is that your knee sleeve fits properly. It should not be too tight, but it should not be baggy either. It should fit snugly enough to offer the best support. There are some knee braces that are uncomfortable no matter what. We avoided those and only chose sleeves that are proven to be comfortable.

    Doctor Support

    There are some knee braces that have doctors, physical therapists, and other professionals behind them. Then, there are others that are made by marketers to make money. The knee braces on our list have the support of the medical community behind them.

    Advertised Benefits

    Just like any other product on the market, there are some companies that will exaggerate their benefits to make a sale. Some promise that they can get rid of your pain immediately, while others promise to improve your athletic performance. We made sure that claims of the manufacturers we chose were verified.

    Manufacturer Reputation/History

    There are some companies that have been in business for a long time and are known for their high-quality products. On the other hand, some of the other manufacturers are known for producing low quality products. That being said, the knee braces we chose are from companies that have a good reputation.

    Value for Money

    There are some customers that are willing to spend $200+ for a knee brace, while others don’t want to spend more than $20. We made sure that the sleeves we chose offer good value for the price. For example, if you pay a premium price, you deserve a premium product. That being said, those who pay a budget price still deserve a quality product.

    Satisfaction Guarantee

    A reputable knee brace manufacturer produces quality products and proudly stands behind them. As you can see, the products that we chose do offer a satisfaction guarantee without the fine print.

    FAQs For Top Knee Brace for Pain

    If you’re like most people, you probably have some questions about wearing a knee brace for pain. Below, we’ll take a look at some of the most commonly asked questions about knee braces for pain.

    Does a knee brace really help?

    When it comes to knee braces, there are lots of options on the market. Depending on the injury or condition you are dealing with, it may work, or it may not. There are lots of variables at play. That being said, most knee braces don’t cost a lot, so you might find that it’s worth it to try out a few until you find one that works. That being said, the thing that usually helps the most is compression.

    Why does compression help?

    There are 3 types of compression:

    • Gradient: each layer squeezes deeper than the next, which gives your muscles and bones extra support
    • Hydrostatic: restricts blood flow but not fluids
    • Tourniquet: restricts blood flow

    When you wear a knee brace, compression is applied, which increases blood flow to the area. This allows blood and nutrients to get to the area to reduce recovery time and decrease swelling/inflammation in the knee.

    How much compression is ideal?

    It’s important to note that not all knee braces/sleeves are created equal. There are some that offer more compression than others. Typically, if you choose a sleeve that offers 20 to 30 mm of compression, you will get the best of both worlds: comfort and support.

    However, pressure isn’t universal- you may need more compression than someone else, depending on your activity. Therefore, it’s important to test out a few different ones until you find one that provides you with the support you need. The good thing is, a lot of the knee braces on the market have adjustable straps so you can get the fit that you need without having to invest in several different braces.

    What else should you consider?

    Finding the right knee brace means you must consider your injury/condition and what it is that you need. Be sure to speak with your medical provider, a physical therapist, or a trainer before you choose a knee brace. You want to make sure that you choose one that corrects your movements and trains your body for better overall mechanics.

    In addition to support, you want to make sure that the fabric is breathable and allows moisture to wick away. Neoprene is one of the best options for breathability and natural support.

    Conclusion

    Knee pain is a common condition- but that doesn’t mean you have to sit back and watch as life passes you by. You can use knee braces to help relieve the pain so that you can continue to enjoy your daily activities. In this article, we’ve explained what we feel are the top 5 knee braces for pain. We hope that we have helped you to find a product that can help you get back to enjoying your life.

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    Citations

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    Baker’s cyst – Symptoms and causes. (2018). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bakers-cyst/symptoms-causes/syc-20369950

    Bone spurs – Symptoms and causes. (2019). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bone-spurs/symptoms-causes/syc-20370212

    Brouhard, R. (2021, November 16). The Anatomy of the Femur. Verywell Health. https://www.verywellhealth.com/femur-anatomy-4587598

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    Mayo Clinic. (2019a). ACL injury – Symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/acl-injury/symptoms-causes/syc-20350738

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    Millett, A. (2016, October 5). 10 Exercises To Instantly Improve Ankle Mobility | DrJohnRusin.com. Dr. John Rusin – Exercise Science & Injury Prevention. https://drjohnrusin.com/10-exercises-to-instantly-improve-ankle-mobility/

    Osteochondritis dissecans | Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD) – an NCATS Program. (n.d.). Rarediseases.info.nih.gov. https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/12703/osteochondritis-dissecans

    Patellofemoral pain syndrome – Symptoms and causes. (2018). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/patellofemoral-pain-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20350792

    Physiopedia. (2019). Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). Physiopedia. https://www.physio-pedia.com/Anterior_Cruciate_Ligament_(ACL)

    Tendinopathy – Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment | BMJ Best Practice US. (n.d.). Bestpractice.bmj.com. Retrieved February 8, 2022, from https://bestpractice.bmj.com/topics/en-us/582

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    Torn meniscus – Symptoms and causes. (2018). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/torn-meniscus/symptoms-causes/syc-20354818

    What is A Meniscus? (n.d.). Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute. https://www.joionline.net/trending/content/what-meniscus

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