Did you recently suffer from a menisci tear? Are you looking to get back to your usual activity, job, football, tennis, basketball, hiking, or just simple walking? Are you looking to do this with minimal pain and discomfort?
If, you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, then you need to read on, because here, we will give you our list of the best knee brace for meniscus tears. But before that let’s have some background on the knee and meniscus.
What are menisci?
The knee joint is the largest joint in the body. It is also one of the strongest and most complex joints in the body and has the very important function of bearing most of your body weight. It’s one of the major joints involved in keeping you upright, stable and mobile. There are four major bones around the knee joint: the femur (thigh bone), the tibia (the larger leg bone), fibula (the smaller leg bone), and the patella (the roundish bone in front of the knee). These bones are held in place by many ligaments.
The two menisci (medial meniscus and lateral meniscus) are right in the middle of the joint. They are rubbery and C-shaped. They’re useful in spreading your body weight across the knee. They help to lubricate the joint, act as shock absorbers, and also help to keep the articular surfaces well aligned.
When all is well with your knee joint, you are able to perform flexion (bending at the knee), and extension (stretching at the knee) movements. As the two menisci are attached to the tibia (the larger leg bone), these flexion and extension movements occur just above the menisci. Flexion and extension movements will enable you to squat, sit, stand, walk, jog, run, dance, and a whole lot more. In short, life without a functioning knee joint can be quite tough.
The rotatory movements around the knee are very minimal, and are mainly useful in terms of locking and unlocking the knee. When the knee is locked, you are able to remain in full knee extension (stretching out of the knee) position, in the standing position, without using too much muscular effort.
Injury to the Menisci
The menisci are usually injured when a twisting force is applied to a knee which is in the partially or fully flexed position. This is therefore a common sports injury (e.g. kicking a football, tennis, basketball), and also occurs in people who work while squatting (like heavy lifting). Menisci tears may also occur in older people in whom the menisci have become weak, thin, brittle and easily damaged by minor forces like getting up too quickly from a squatting position. Note that some people refer to menisci tears as “torn knee cartilage”.
Usually, you will remember the initial twisting injury with a fall and subsequent pain, as well as difficulty continuing with whatever activity they were doing. You may find that you are unable to straighten the knee which becomes more swollen over the next 1 -2 days. You may experience a popping or locking sensation, as well as stiffness, and this is usually due to the loose and mobile cartilage in the knee joint. Rest, an ice pack, elastic compression bandage and leg elevation will reduce swelling and improve function of the knee (able to straighten the knee) especially in minor cases, but there is a risk of recurrence. Note: This is known as the RICE protocol for sports injuries i.e. Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Painkillers are also a useful adjunct in pain relief.
Due to anatomical factors, the medial meniscus is more frequently injured than the lateral meniscus. Additionally, when a lateral meniscus tear occurs, the clinical features are less well pronounced than that of the medical meniscus tear.
X-rays of the knee are usually normal in menisci tears, because the main use of x-rays is to make diagnosis on bone and not on tissue (like menisci). Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) will however be diagnostic.
The tear can be minor, moderate or severe. While minor menisci tears may resolve in about 2 -3 weeks, severe menisci tears will usually not resolve spontaneously. Once your doctor makes the diagnosis, surgery is usually needed to either repair the meniscus, or excise the displaced meniscus fragment, or excise the entire meniscus.
Rehabilitation after surgery involves use of a knee brace or knee cast, with or without use of crutches to keep weight off your knee and give it time to heal. Physiotherapy also has a role in the post-operative rehabilitation in order to restore your knees’ strength and mobility.
Knee brace for meniscus injury
So, now that you have an overview about meniscus injuries, it’s time to look at some of the best knee brace for meniscus tears. However, note that it is important to have sought medical advice to come up with an accurate diagnosis and management plan for your condition.
1) Winzone Knee Brace
This knee brace is made of 100% neoprene, a synthetic rubber that maintains flexibility over a wide range of temperatures and doesn’t get hot. It has an open patella design.
• Offers a great combination of secure support and comfort.
• It’s great in restricting mobility, which is a plus if you have a serious injury or are post-surgery.
• The Velcro straps are easier to use and adjust than the “pull-up” type of knee braces, especially for those older patients who may have limited strength.
• Soft and comfortable material. Great packaging
• Great customer support.
• Though it’s described as one-size-fits-all, note that if you are plus-sized you just may have difficulty fitting into this knee brace. The Velcro straps may not be long enough.
• The Velcro fastener may not be durable enough for regular and intense use.
• If your injury was minor, and you want to be able to be mobile, and have lots of active movement, then the restriction in mobility may be bothersome to you.
2) Shock doctor 875 Ultra knee support with bilateral hinges.
This performance level 3 knee brace from Shock Doctor overs stability, support, compression, alignment and healing.
• It comes in 7 different sizes, along with a chart to determine your correct size based on your measurements. This along with “How to measure” instructions, diagram and video ensure that you get the exact size that is appropriate for you.
• It has bilateral hinges for additional support, as well as hyper-extension stops.
• This knee brace offers moisture wicking as well as therapeutic warmth.
• It is designed with the anatomical curve of the knee in mind, for a comfortable and perfect fit.
• It is a sleeve but has straps that you can adjust for that snug fit.
• Offers patella support.
• The instructions say to measure 2” below your knee to get your size. You need to do this right or else you will end up with a brace that doesn’t fit. It’s quite possible that the sizing chart may have in-built challenges as it is based on the knee circumference. Two people may have the same knee circumference but very different calf circumference and thigh circumferences which may cause it not to fit in one person while it fits perfectly on another.
• The knee brace offers great stability, therefore don’t expect too much mobility when wearing it.
• Those with poor strength may have a hard time pulling up the sleeve of this knee brace.
3) Exous EX-701 Performance Stabilizing Knee Brace
This is knee braces offers a cozy non-slip fit.
• It offers not only 4-way strapping giving all round compression that stays in place even with intense exercising. It also offers lateral stabilization/support and patella support.
• It is very light (<6oz) and comfortable.
• It has a gap behind the knee which enables ventilation. It also helps to avoid the uncomfortable feeling of the brace material scrunching up behind the knee and irritating your skin.
• It has thick Velcro for firm grip.
• It is line with Lycra which not only durable and elastic, but also comfortable and therefore less skin irritation compared to other materials.
• The fitting guide includes 3 measurements for a perfect fit: your upper leg 3” above your knee, your knee cap and lower leg (calf muscle). This wholistic measurements ensure for a perfect fit.
• It has stabilizers built in to give additional stability to the knee ligaments.
You will not fit into this knee brace if your:
•Upper thigh circumference is more than 20”
•Knee circumference is less than 13”
•Calf circumference is more than 16.5”
4) EzyFit Knee Brace
This knee brace is made of neoprene and comes in 3 sizes: Medium, Large and Extra Large (XL).
• It has two stabilizers on the side for extra support.
• The patella is open so that you can enjoy the full range of motion at the knee, while wearing the brace.
• The edges are curved and double stitched to avoid irritating your skin.
• It contains silicone gel lines which are non-slip to prevent the brace from moving out of place.
• It had adjustable straps so that you can easily adjust the fit of the brace as the knee swelling goes down.
• The size is determined by measurement around the knee cap only. It does not consider calf and thigh sizes, which can greatly vary even in people with the same knee cap size.
5) Compressions Knee Brace Support
Not only is this ergonomically designed knee brace suitable for meniscus tears, but it also is effective for arthritis, support while playing various sports and for recovery following knee injury or knee surgery.
• You can get a firm grip by adjusting the Velcro straps to a tension that you’re comfortable with. It also has silicon anti-slip strips so that it doesn’t move out of place.
• It supports that patella so that you comfortable enjoy a full range of motion around your knee.
• It will not fit you if your knee circumference is below 12” or above 18”.
• It’s not suitable for those known to be sensitive or allergic to rubber or neoprene.
• Some people may find its’ smell unpleasant (chemical-like odor), especially when new.
• This knee brace design doesn’t take into account the natural way in which the upper thigh circumference is wider than then knee circumference in some people. It should probably have a more tapered design for a snug fit.
6) Pure Support Compression Knee Sleeve.
This knee brace helps with relief of joint pain and limits patella movement.
• It has a size chart to determine which size (Small, Medium, Large) is appropriate for your based on your circumference measurement 4 inches above the kneecap.
• It has Graduated Compression which is able to provide the delicate balance of sufficient compression while at the same time improving blood circulation so that there is no risk of blood clots.
• The upper and inner part of the knee sleeve has non-slip grip to ensure that it stays in place throughout intense workouts.
• This knee sleeve does not restrict movement.
• The size chart is not comprehensive as it only considers the measurement 4 inches above the knee cap. It doesn’t consider the knee circumference and below knee circumference. This may have an impact on how well the sleeve will fit & stay in place, and how well the graduated compression will work.
• It’s not suitable for those allergic to neoprene.
• The support given by this knee sleeve may not be adequate enough for meniscus tears, especially the more severe ones which need a lot of support.
7) TechWare Pro Adjustable Knee Support
This knee brace support is made of neoprene.
• It has three Velcro closures with bidirectional support which enhances the joint stability, unlike other types of braces which have all their straps closing in one direction.
• It has built-in non-slip silicone strips which ensure that compression is evenly distributed, and that the brace doesn’t move out of place.
• It has four flexible spring stabilizers for even more support and stability.
• It only comes in two sizes: Large (knee circumference of 14” to 18”) and Extra Large (knee circumference of 18” to 21”). If your knee circumference is not within these ranges, then you will not fit in this knee brace.
• It doesn’t take into the account the above-knee and below-knee circumferences which are useful for a snug fit.
8) Mc David 429X Hinged Knee Brace with Cross Straps
McDavid products are divided into 3 support levels, with this product being at Protection Level III (Maximum) which gives you ultimate protection for moderate to major instabilities and pain as well as providing maximum level of support. It comes in 5 sizes: S, M, L, XL, and 2XL.
• It has hinges which improve medial and lateral stability of the knee joint, making you more comfortable and hastening the recovery process.
• It has elastic cross straps which give additional support and compression around the knee joint.
• It has straps at the top and bottom of the brace which can be adjusted to fit.
• The knee brace can fit on either the left knee or right knee.
• It’s quite pricey compared to other knee braces. However, you get value for your money.
• It’s a sleeve (with straps for adjustment). Therefore, if you think you may have difficulty pulling the sleeve up to your knee due to poor arm/fingers strength or knee joint instability, then this may not work for you.
9) Blitzu Flex Pro Knee Sleeve
The 4-D compression design and patella gel pad make it suitable for post-surgical recovery.
• Graduated compression results in improved blood flow, thus reducing the risk of developing blood clots.
• It has a gel pad that stabilizes the patella.
• It’s made of elastic and breathable material.
• It comes in 5 sizes (S, M, L, XL, XXL) whose sizes are determined by only the thigh circumference 4” above the kneecap.
• It needs to be avoided by those who are allergic to spandex or latex blend.
10) Bracoo Knee Support
This knee brace is suitable for acute injury as well as during the post-surgical rehabilitation period.
• It has Velcro adjustable straps.
• It can be comfortably worn underneath other clothing.
• The knee support can be worn on either leg.
• It comes in one size only that fits 12.5” to 18” knee circumference. Check if your knee circumference falls into that bracket.
• The package contains only 1 knee support. You therefore will need to buy two packages.
There you have it – our 10 best knee brace for meniscus tears. Remember before you make any purchase you need to see your doctor to plan your management.