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5 Best Knee Braces for Torn ACL

by Amanda Ghosh April 06, 2017

Knee brace

Trying to find the best knee brace for torn ACL? It's an extremely common injury that is particularly painful and frustrating, as I'm sure you may know. It can take up to 9 months for this injury to heal, and often times requires surgery. Utilizing a brace can go a long way toward preventing further injury, minimizing abnormal movements of your knee, and giving the support you need. An ideal brace guards against too much flexion and extension while reducing damaging movements, but the best knee brace for your torn ACL needs to meet your specific needs. Not all braces are created equal, nor are they all designed for the same purpose. We’ve rounded up the top 5 knee braces for torn ACL injuries so that you can choose the one for you.

1. Winzone Knee Brace

Winzone Knee Brace

Amazon

The Winzone Knee Brace is our first pick. Although it is specifically designed for post ACL injuries, it also helps with arthritis and meniscus tears. This is the ideal support brace for activities like running and basketball, but it is also suitable for use during less vigorous activities like walking and gardening. Winzone is a great choice because it offers a ton of support without overly restricting your movement. We find it's a good option for the athletic to the recreational user. Plus, it has dual side stabilizers that offer even more support when you’re on the move. This brace packs a punch with both support and stabilization features.

Pros:
  • Good in hot climates
  • Doesn’t slide up and down your leg
  • Adjustable fit
  • Offers a lot of support without overly restricting movement
Cons:
  • Tends to get hot behind the knee
  • Only fits specified range

Tip:
Fits 12.4”-21.7” knee circumferences so if you have really small or really big knees you want to measure them before buying this brace. It is adjustable to a degree, but it's really designed for knees within the noted circumference range.

2. Shock Doctor 875 Ultra Knee Brace with Bilateral Hinges

Shock Doctor 875 Ultra Knee Brace with Bilateral Hinges

Amazon

Our runner up is another brace that we find to be a terrific option and value. This one is widely popular, just like our top pick. It offers a great deal of support, but only medium stability. This brace is ideal for those needing lots of support and moderate stability. We like this brace because it is still extremely supportive, but gives those who have good control and balance only the needed assistance. Its finger tabs make it easy to pull on, and adjustable straps that hold it in place. 

Pros:
  • Moisture wicking and odor reducing material
  • Adjustable Velcro customizes tightness
Cons:
  • May feel scratchy
  • Runs small

Tip:
The brace tends to fit tightly and runs smaller

3. Hinged Knee Brace By Vive

  Hinged Knee Brace By Vive

The Hinged Knee Brace by Vive deals directly with ACL injuries and also helps to guard against hyperextension which is important in a knee brace. We particularly like that this brace can be worn on the right or left knee. And with moisture wicking and high quality latch material, this one size fits most brace is an all-around solid choice. This brace also offers compression which we like a lot because compression helps to increase circulation which will promote healing. The compression also affords stabilization for the knee.

Pros:
  • Compression helps to promote healing and stabilize muscles
  • Fits well under clothes
  • Attachment material keeps brace in place, no sliding or moving around
Cons:
  • May fit tight if your knee is very swollen

Tip:
Sizing fits most. If your knee is very swollen consider icing to reduce swelling before bracing. If your knee is larger than average, measure carefully and order a slightly bigger size than you think you need. Consider speaking to your doctor if your knee is really swollen or the swelling doesn't go down.

4. PURE SUPPORT Compression Knee Sleeve

  PURE SUPPORT Compression Knee Sleeve

Amazon

The PURE SUPPORT Compression Knee Sleeve is another great option. It’s perfect for those who might have other knee injuries like a meniscus tear in addition to an ACL tear. This is a wrap brace, but it stays in place well. This brace scores a lot of points for being hypoallergenic, as a brace for sensitive skin can be rare. We know how irritating skin sensitivity can be, so definitely check this brace out if you are prone to rashes or other skin conditions. Plus, this brace is made from durable material and will last awhile. Plus, its compression features help protect against blood clots.

Pros:
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Durable
  • Compression features guard against blood clots
  • Stays in place well for a slip brace
Cons:
  • Elasticity looses strength and stretches with wear

Tip:
Size up if you find that you're between two sizes. Be sure you are measuring 4in above the knee cap.

5. TechWare Pro Knee Brace

  TechWare Pro Knee Brace

Amazon

The TechWare Pro Knee brace gives added knee support with 4 flexible spring stabilizers. It’s great for offering bi-directional knee support. In addition to supporting ACL tears, this brace helps those with tendonitis, which we think is a sweet bonus. Alternating Velcro straps provide even support to both sides of the knee, and this feature is something this brace is known for. The product is flexible enough to wear to yoga. We love that this can get you back to all those yoga twists you’ve perfected, just be cautious!

Pros:
  • Bi-directional straps even out knee support
  • Flexible enough to wear to yoga
Cons:
  • Bunches behind the knee

Tip:
For best fit, measure at the knee cap.

What is a Torn ACL?

Your ACL (aka anterior cruciate ligament) is one of the 4 ligaments that support your knee. Quick, sudden movements like locking your knee and changing directions can result in a tear to your ACL. A torn ACL mainly affects people by causing pain, restricting mobility, and reducing stabilization. You might not be able to participate in certain activities like walking, jogging, gardening like you used to without side effects such as a worsening of your injury, pain, or a lack of stability. Sometimes, an injury is bad enough that surgery is required.

2 Major Signs You May Have Torn Your ACL 

  • You hear a pop and feel pain in the knee
  • Your knee swells up

Make sure to always consult with your doctor at first sign of pain. Don't risk worsening a tear.

Picture of the anterior cruciate ligament

Image Reference

Benefits of Wearing a Knee Brace for Torn ACL

After tearing your ACL. a knee brace is a great way to provide extra support and stability while protecting, your now vulnerable knee, against reinjury. A torn ACL will decrease your overall stability and mobility. A brace is a nice way to feel more supported and stabilized, especially during strenuous activity!

    Tips for Wearing a Knee Brace

    • Braces, like anything, can take some time to break in. Don’t freak out if your brace feels tight at first. It needs to be tight enough to provide compression and support without moving around and falling down your leg. Give it some time to mold to you before exchanging for a different size if you're concerned it may be tight. Of course, if it's really tight (cuts off circulation tight) then it's obviously too small, and get a larger size.
    • Knee braces can be irritating if you wear them for a long time. This is why it is important to get a comfortable brace like the ones we’ve picked out. A hypoallergenic one like the PURE Support is even better if you have allergies.
    • Get your doctor's opinion before committing to a brace.
    • It’s always good to make sure a brace is free of latex if you’re sensitive.

    Interesting Facts about Torn ACLs

    • Women are more likely to tear their ACL than men. This is due to differences in their body structure.
    • Most ACL injuries happen during sports, particularly agility sports (tennis, basketball, etc.).
    • ACL injuries rack up a crazy half million dollars in medical costs each year!

    Making the Right Choice

    A knee brace is a great way to support and protect a torn ACL as well as other knee injuries. But, it’s good to make an informed decision. Don't be too eager, always consult with your doctor, and research your options. These 5 braces offer their own unique features and it's tough to go wrong, but ultimately the decision is up to you!

    Sources:

    http://www.mdedge.com/jfponline/article/65485/preventive-care/does-knee-brace-decrease-recurrent-acl-injuries

    http://healthresearchfunding.org/acl-injury-statistics/

    https://www.nata.org/sites/def...

    Pros:
    Amanda Ghosh
    Amanda Ghosh

    Amanda has a Masters of Science in Nutrition from Syracuse University which equipped her with courses applied to licensure as a dietitian. She also worked as a Program Director for the Wellness and Fitness Department for the YMCA. She is well versed in physical fitness, with a certificate from the National Academy of Sports Medicine in physical fitness training. She has taught numerous fitness classes, including college courses in the Athletic Department, as an adjunct instructor, at the SUNY University at Buffalo. She currently resides with her husband in the NYC area, and loves to put her knowledge of anatomy and physiology to use by being active. Both her and her husband are self-declared "foodies."


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