Written by Kris Ceniza (PT) on March 1, 2022 — Medically Reviewed By: Mich Torres (PT)
Finding the best knee brace for osteoarthritis can be a challenging because of the sheer amount of options available to you. Worry not because our team of physical therapists decided to make things a little easier.
We tested dozens of the market’s knee braces and knee sleeves and wrote our own reviews for what we think are the best of the best. Of course, we took into account their value for money, comfort, and how effective they can be at managing the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Oh, and we included a short buyer’s guide at the end, too! So, without further ado…
Our Top Picks:
Best Overall:Cocoon Knee Flex Pro Hot & Cold Compression Sleeve
This is hands-down the best knee sleeve for osteoarthritis because it combines weighted compression and thermotherapy – all while being the most comfortable knee brace in the market.
Best Compression Sleeve:ArmaJoint Compression Sleeve
360 degrees of compression for pain and swelling relief, as well as improved circulation. Given its practical price, this compression sleeve is your safest bet for everyday use.
Best For Plus-Sized OA sufferers:Braceability Patella Stabilizing Knee Brace
This brace goes all the way up from S to 4XL, so you’ll definitely find one that fits! Not to mention, it offers reinforced support while optimizing your knee cap’s movements.
IN THIS ARTICLE
- Top Picks
- Best Knee Braces
The 7 Best Knee Braces for Osteoarthritis
- Hot and cold therapy with all the benefits of a compression sleeve
- Superbly comfortable
- Lycra, double-stitching, and leakproof hydrogels ensure durability
- Multiple size options (w/ the option to use them on other parts)
- Limited color option
Wearing a Cocoon is as close as you’ll get to a portable physio.
This sleeve is filled with hydrogel, a material that retains temperatures. Meaning your knee joint will have 360° of hot or cold, whatever soothes your symptoms the best.
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The material is also antimicrobial and way more durable than other braces. This makes for the ideal and hassle-free home treatment for knee osteoarthritis.
- Material: Lycra, hydrogel.
- Size: S, M, L.
- Color options: Blue.
Learn more: Our complete review of the Cocoon Knee Flex Pro.
- Uniform compression.
- Breathable and thin.
- Doesn’t restrict movement.
- Stays in place.
- Doesn’t bunch up.
- Few color options.
- No other features.
The ArmaJoint sleeve is all you need for the daily management of knee OA symptoms.
See, it works by compressing the knee joint. This in turn boosts blood flow and helps with pain and swelling.
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But unlike neoprene sleeves, this one is breathable and thin – the best combination for daily wear. Also, it fits under pants without a problem. You’ll forget you have it on.
- Material: 80% nylon, 20% spandex.
- Size: S-XL.
- Color options: Black, green.
Learn more: Here’s our experience with the ArmaJoint Knee Sleeve.
- Compression like a sleeve.
- Side stays for extra stability.
- Open kneecap for pain management.
- Velcro straps for customization.
- Neoprene and latex-free.
- Takes a while to put on.
With a size range that goes from S to 4XL, the Braceability Patella Stabilizing Knee Brace is a godsend for plus-sized people.
There’s no argument that it’s harder to find clothing that fits larger people but it’s even harder to find the knee brace. Enter: Braceability’s Patella Stabilizing Knee Brace.
Going from S-4XL, it doesn’t just fit the petite, average, and slightly heavier than average persons, it fits those of us that are really heavy.
But, beyond just the size range, this is a hybrid that provides the compression of a knee sleeve while also giving your knees a level of support that’s closer to hinged knee braces for arthritis.
It is, however, quite bulky and cumbersome to put on.
- Material: Neoprene alternative, velcro, aluminum spiral stays.
- Material: Neoprene alternative, velcro, aluminum spiral stays.
- Size: S-4XL.
- Color options: Black.
- Stainless-steel hinges
- High-performance design
- The frame is lined with silicone coated neoprene
- Available in 23 different sizes
- Straps aren’t sturdy
The Braceit K2 ComfortLine Knee Brace is as close as you can get to custom-fit
Knee braces for arthritis, particularly those that require a tremendous amount of stability for pain relief, work best when they’re custom-built. But they’re crazy expensive. This is a more affordable alternative that offers sizes that are nearly custom.
The BraceIt ComfortLine Knee Brace comes in 23 (yes, 23) different size options that cater to varying thigh and calf sizes – just as a custom-made knee brace would. It’s also lightweight and supportive, so it’s great for moderate to severe OA and you want to walk around more.
It is, however, not the most durable and definitely not discreet.
- Material: Plastic, neoprene
- Size: S1-S23
- Color options: Black neoprene with orange frame
- Made of lightweight and breathable neoprene
- Comes in 4 sizes
- Flexible and easy to move around in
- Slides down the knee
This knee brace from TechWare Pro comes with a unique bidirectional support and is made of breathable neoprene.
It comes with improvements like the ability to adapt to your knee frame and it really supports your knee with its unloading feature.
It’s also very lightweight and has a low-profile design that feels comfortable. Also, it’s super easy to put it on and take it off with its 4 flexible spring stabilizers that offer protection and stability to your knee cap
Not only that, but this brace won’t show or bunch up when you wear it underneath your clothes and it’s really ergonomic as well.
- Suitable for women and men
- Made from Kraton-coated aluminum
- Low profile and lightweight
- Works for osteoarthritis and severe ACL cases alike
- On the expensive end
This knee brace might be pricey but it’s high quality and support is well worth it. It offers an array of beneficial features that really impress.
This includes things like four-point technology for improved support, a low-profile design that’s lightweight and comfortable, as well as a seamless design that allows for free movement as you go about your daily activities.
With this knee brace, osteoarthritis won’t slow you down and you can continue to enjoy all of your favorite physical activities. It’s constructed from Kraton coated and durable aluminum which means it’s resistant to corrosion and rust.
Thanks to its specialized design, this knee brace bends easily at the knees and allows for ease of movement and flexibility. Plus, it has nylon, velcro and elastic straps to make sure it stays in place.
- Offers superior support
- Open patella design
- Comes with non-slip silicone strips
- Features a knee stabilizer
- Not suitable for plus size people
As an osteoarthritis sufferer, one of your main concerns is to find a knee brace that fully supports your knee but is also comfortable.
That way, you can enjoy all the physical activity and exercise you’re used to without worrying about displacing your tendons and muscles.
This particular knee brace from EzyFit fits the bill because it’s made of non-silicone strips and coil stabilizers to ensure a perfect fit.
It’s designed to provide lateral support because of the quadruple-size stabilizers featured on either side of the knee.
The high-quality neoprene material provides a 3.5mm stretch for even more flexibility of movement. Plus, it’s easy to maintain as all you have to do is clean it with a gentle mix of soap and water every now and then.
What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritisusually develops as a result of common wear and tear in the joints, due to old age.
The result is typically a misalignment in your knee which causes you to look bowlegged or evenknock-kneed.
Putting on a knee brace can help to relieve pressure and pain caused by osteoarthritis in the affected joint. It also eliminates that “buckling” sensation you get so that you can move around freely once again.
Keep reading: Our foolproof guide to knee osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is no fun. It affects your ability to walk properly and enjoy life to the fullest.
Sufferers often complain of debilitating pain, and not everyone likespopping pain pills.That’s why knee braces are such a convenient and effective solution.
Kris Ceniza (PT)
Kris is a physical therapist specializing in sporting injuries. Focusing on knee pain, Kris has seen it all when it comes to trauma knee injuries. Passionate about helping people return to the sport they love, Kris writes many of the sporting focused articles at Knee Force.
Unloader or offloader braces are the most common type used by people who have arthritis of the knee because they reduce pressure on key areas. The most common brace types used for OA are functional and unloader.Do knee braces work for osteoarthritis? ›
A knee brace can take pressure off the part of your joint most affected by osteoarthritis and help relieve pain. If your knee feels like it might buckle when you put weight on it, a knee brace can also help you stand and move around with more confidence.What is the best support for an arthritic knee? ›
“The most effective brace for arthritis is the unloader-style brace.” But, she says, they're expensive (insurance may cover part of the cost with preauthorization) and available only through a physician. In addition, Dr. Hogan says they work best on thinner people with arthritis on only one side of the knee.What can I do for osteoarthritis in my knees? ›
- Weight loss. ...
- Exercise. ...
- Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs. ...
- Injections of corticosteroids or hyaluronic acid into the knee. ...
- Alternative therapies. ...
- Using devices such as braces. ...
- Physical and occupational therapy. ...
End-stage arthritis is the progressive wearing down of the cartilage that is present between the bones of a joint causing the bones to come in contact with each other and painfully rub against each other during movement of the joint. This results in severe pain with loss of movement and function.Is walking good for osteoarthritis of the knee? ›
Walking is a fantastic option for many patients with knee arthritis because it is a low-impact activity that does not put undue stress on the joints. Furthermore, walking can increase the knee's range of motion and keep it from becoming overly stiff.Is it OK to wear a knee brace all day? ›
If your orthopedist recommends it, you can wear your brace all day. However, improper use of a knee brace can worsen your pain or cause further damage to the knee. If you are using a brace that immobilizes your knee, the joint can weaken.What should you not do with osteoarthritis of the knee? ›
- Running, especially on uneven surfaces.
- Tennis, basketball, and other activities where you change direction quickly.
- Step aerobics and other workouts that involve jumping.
Osteoarthritis is a so-called mechanical condition characterized by the gradual wearing down of cartilage in the joints. Aging is the most common risk factor for osteoarthritis. Arthritis, on the other hand, is not caused by the normal wear and tear of bones.When should you not wear a knee support? ›
Typically, a complex knee brace is worn for the first year. After that, a brace usually isn't needed for low-level activities. Keep in mind it can take up to two years to return to baseline stability. Once you're returned to full function, you can stop wearing a brace.
Additional knee supports, may offer additional support around the patella and knee joint to aid in the minimising pain for mild arthritis and meniscus injuries. Knee supports tend to be discrete and can comfortably be worn under clothes. Knee braces on the other hand tend to be more mechanical in nature.Is it OK to wear a knee brace all day? ›
If your orthopedist recommends it, you can wear your brace all day. However, improper use of a knee brace can worsen your pain or cause further damage to the knee. If you are using a brace that immobilizes your knee, the joint can weaken.Is compression good for osteoarthritis? ›
Compression socks may lessen the symptoms of arthritis by applying mild pressure to affected joints, which can help with inflammation and swelling.Why does my knee hurt more when I wear a brace? ›
If you feel pain, numbness, or tingling in your leg below your knee, your knee brace may be too tight. Loosen the straps and repeat the two-finger test. Wearing a knee brace after injury or surgery may be a necessary component of your knee rehabilitation protocol.