Need a quick recommendation? My choice for the best knee brace for torn meniscus and ACL is the McDavid 429X Knee Brace.
Knee braces provide the maximum possible support for your knee. There are various forms of knee braces. From assisting with recovery post operation to providing stability and support, it is not easy to navigate through all the options. How do you make a decision and what are the things that you need to consider?
In this article, I’ll be reviewing the following best knee braces for meniscus tear and for torn ACL:
- Shock Doctor 875 Maximum Support Knee Brace
- McDavid 429X Knee Brace
- Vive Hinged Knee Brace
- EzyFit Knee Brace
- TechWare Pro Knee Brace Support
Before Anything Else
This review is meant to provide you with information on over-the-counter options for knee braces that you can buy online. It is not meant as a substitute for medical advice.
A tear in your ACL and meniscus is not something to be taken lightly. Work with a medical professional to determine the best solution. Not every case of torn ACL or meniscus will require surgery. Take their advice on what types of support apparatus you should use.
You should also be very careful on the types of activities that you engage in if you have a torn ACL or a meniscus tear. Basketball players are prone to ACL injuries due to the fast-paced running and jumping motions required by the sport. The likelihood of a player landing at an awkward angle after a jump is quite high and this is the usual cause of an ACL tear. You may need to take a break from playing basketball depending on the severity of the injury that you have sustained. Let’s watch this video to get a better understanding of meniscus tears and what doctors advice with regards to long term health.
Types Of Knee Braces
Knowing the types of knee braces will narrow down the products that you need to consider.
- Prophylactic braces – protects knees from injuries during contact sports such as basketball
- Functional braces – provides stability to prevent reinjury and control motion. These are usually prescribed after a previous injury has healed.
- Rehabilitative braces – used after injury/surgery. These braces allow only limited movements during the healing process. Use only if prescribed by a doctor.
- Unloader braces – relieve pain in people who have arthritis in their knees. These move the load/weight from the damaged area (knee) to a stronger area.
The options presented in this review are primarily prophylactic braces which can also provide support for ligament injuries (torn ACL, MCL, meniscus, etc).
Are Prophylactic Knee Braces Effective?
A look into studies on the effectiveness of knee braces for injury prevention and impact on athlete’s performance shows some interesting outcomes.
The results of studies on the effectiveness of prophylactic knee braces for injury prevention have been inconclusive. Pietrosimone, Brian G et al., in a 2008 work, had done an extensive review of seven studies on knee injuries among collegiate football players. The data from these studies were inconsistent and not enough to recommend or discourage the use of prophylactic braces.
In terms of performance, a study by Mortaza, Niyousha et al. in 2012 studied the effects of neoprene sleeves and prophylactic knee brace on the performance of uninjured athletes. The results showed that both had no significant negative impact on the athlete’s performance. The prophylactic knee brace used in the study is similar to the ones in this review.
Hinged vs Non-Hinged Knee Braces: What’s The Difference?
Hinged braces have metal hinges on the sides of the knee to ensure proper alignment when it bends. This is in addition to the straps and padding around the knee. A non-hinged knee brace will not have any metal component.
Hinged braces provide a higher level of support and stability for your knee and will be more restrictive than a non-hinged brace.
My Top 5 Recommendations
The top 5 best knee braces selected in this article are all sold as a single piece and have no distinction between right or left knee.
Now that we have a better understanding of the different criteria, let’s go and decide which one to buy.
This knee brace with bilateral hinges from Shock Doctor provides the maximum support (level three) and protection out of their range of knee support products. The bilateral hinges made of tempered aluminum provide additional stability for your knees to help prevent ligament sprains and injuries. It enforces proper movement for your joints to help during the healing of a torn ACL and meniscus. Impact absorbing pads add further protection. The metal stays securely in place thanks to the Hypalon sleeves.
Comfort-wise, this knee brace has an enhanced fit design that curves along with your knee. The stretch spandex at the back of your knee does not interfere with your normal movements. It uses N-Tex, a moisture-wicking neoprene material that allows air flow to keep you cool and dry.
It is easy to put on. Just grip the finger tab to pull the knee brace up your leg. Adjust the X-Fit straps at the top and bottom of the brace to get a secure fit. Readjust as needed.
The Shock Doctor 875 Maximum Support Knee Brace comes in six sizes. To find your size, measure your leg two inches below the center of your knee. This knee brace runs small so if your measurement is at the higher range of the size category then you should size up.
- Solid design. Bilateral hinges reinforce correct positioning of your knee for greater support.
- Comfortable material used. Moisture-wicking and allows good airflow.
- Does not impede movement
- The sizing and fit can be difficult to get right for some.
The McDavid 429X is categorized as a level three maximum support knee brace. It comes with elastic crossing straps. These straps enhance rotational and collateral ligament support. It also allows a much better, customized fit compared to knee braces that only have horizontal straps across the top and bottom like the McDavid 429.
The bilateral hinges keep your knee in place and prevent excessive lateral movement to improve stability. The added stability reduces chances of knee casualty and assists in recovery from mild injuries.
The knee brace delivers warmth and compression to your knee area through the latex-free neoprene material. It has perforations in the back panel for moisture management so you should still feel dry in spite of the warming effect. All the edges of the knee brace are stitched and bound to prevent friction and irritation.
To measure, bend your knee to slightly less than a 45 degree angle then take the measurement of the circumference of your knee cap in this position. This knee brace is available in five sizes. It should feel snug and secure but not restrictive.
- Crossing straps provide added support and better fit
- Sturdy construction with metal hinges to keep the knee in proper position
- Warming effect can help with pain relief
- Does not restrict normal movement
- May take longer to put on due to the crossing straps that need to be adjusted
The Vive Hinged Knee Brace has removable aluminum hinges which allow you the flexibility to have either greater support (with hinges) or greater range of motion (without hinges). This knee brace is made of neoprene which means that you get the benefit of thermal compression similar to the earlier knee brace in this review. The neoprene is latex-free and is breathable and moisture-wicking.
The sizing on this knee brace is very straightforward. It is one size fits all. You do not need to pull it up your leg. This Vive knee brace wraps around your knee and is kept in place by four straps which are fastened in place by velcro. This one size fits all may work well for people with average sizes but may be a challenge for those who are not.
- Comes in three color options
- Removable hinges. Gives outstanding flexibility on level of support.
- Stabilizes your knee
- Great price point for a brace with metal hinges
- Only one size
The EzyFit Knee Brace is a non-hinged knee brace. If you require moderate support and do not not want to spend too much money then this is an excellent option. While this will not be as supportive as a hinged brace, it still provides adequate lateral and medial support through the bi-directional straps design and two side stabilizers on each side of the knee. The brace is mainly made of neoprene with nylon and polyester blend. Neoprene gives you that heating effect.
It comes in three sizes. Measure across your knee cap with your knee straight but relaxed. If you are in between sizes then I recommend choosing the smaller size for a more snug fit. The strong and fully adjustable velcro closures will allow you to adjust the knee brace so you get more flexibility on the fit. Non-slip silicone is an added feature that will keep it from slipping down as you engage in your day-to-day activities.
The knee brace is easy to put on and take off. It fully opens and does not need to be pulled up. It has double-stitched curved edges to reduce friction with your skin.
- The three velcro straps design allows for a very close and customized fit
- Absence of metal hinges mean more range of motion for the knee
- Provides adequate support
- Reasonable price
- No metal hinges. May not be suitable for those requiring stronger support.
- The length of the middle velcro strap is inconsistent. Sometimes too long or too short.
Very similar to the Ezyfit Knee Brace, the TechWare Pro Knee Brace Support is also a non-hinged brace that works with a wraparound bi-directional straps design. These straps which are secured by velcro provide the compression and support along with the four spring stabilizer coils on both sides of the knee. The brace provides decent support and stability to the knee which is ideal for keeping it in place during physical activity. It also helps with relief of minor pains and injuries.
It is very comfortable to use and allows an excellent range of motion. It uses a breathable moisture-wicking neoprene with silicone waves on the edges to prevent slippage.
It comes in four sizes. To measure, first take the circumference of the center of your knee. Afterwards, take the circumference of your thigh, about three inches above the center of your knee. These two numbers will determine the size. If one number gets you a medium and the other puts you in the large size, then take the large size for a better fit.
- Provides appropriate support and stability to the knee
- Less constricting due to absence of metal hinges
- Comes in four sizes
- Reasonable price
- No metal hinges. May not be suitable for those requiring stronger support.
- The length of the middle velcro strap is tricky. Sometimes too long or too short.
The Awesome Choice
The McDavid 429X Knee Brace is my choice for the best hinged knee brace for torn meniscus and ACL tear. With metal hinges and adjustable crossing straps, it provides the maximum level of support for your knee without fully limiting your movement. The crossing straps create an enhanced fit and overcomes the challenges in other similar knee braces which tend to slip off the knee. The warm compression generated from the latex-free neoprene brings relief to common knee concerns.
There has not been any conclusive scientific evidence on the positive or negative effects of knee braces. Exercise proper caution when selecting a knee brace and definitely go and visit your doctor to get an accurate assessment of the extent of your injury. You should always prioritize the healing of your ligaments. Take a break from playing basketball or running and follow the advice of your doctor on what activities you can continue doing.