ACL Knee Brace Guide

Written By: Chloe Wilson, BSc(Hons) Physiotherapy
Reviewed by: KPE Medical Review Board

ACL Knee Brace Guide: Find the best brace following ACL injuries or surgery

An ACL knee brace is a high level support brace used following ACL tears and ruptures.

They may be used instead of surgery, whilst awaiting surgery, or once recovering from surgery. 

ACL braces are a great way to provide extra stability to the knee, give it time to heal and prevent further injury. 

You may only need one for a short time while you are strengthening your knee or recovering from surgery, or they may become the long term solution, giving you back your freedom.

They can make all the difference, allowing you to safely return to sports and other activities.

There are a huge variety of braces out there, so here I share with you the most effective and popular ones.  We will look at why you might benefit from an ACL knee brace, how to choose the right brace for you to get the right level of stability and the correct size and you can read user reviews.

Reasons For Choosing ACL Braces

There are three main reasons why you may want an ACL knee brace:

1. Instability Following An Injury

ACL injuries can cause knee instability.  An ACL knee brace can help improve instability, reduce pain and protect from further injury.

The ACL is the main stabiliser of the knee. When it is damaged, the stability of the knee is reduced and can lead to the knee giving way during normal daily activities or when playing sport.

If the knee is repeatedly giving way, it can cause more damage to the knee, especially the cartilage.

Some people can overcome the problem through strengthening and stability exercises, but many benefit from an ACL knee brace.

2. Following Surgery

Many surgeons will recommend that you wear a knee brace for a few weeks following ACL surgery. The reasons for this are:

  • The ligament needs time to heal: it is at its weakest point from approximately 6-12 weeks after surgery
  • Caution: Helps provide a reminder to you and those around you that you’ve just had surgery.
  • Peace of Mind: For you and the surgeon!

3. To Prevent Injuries

Lots of sports people are starting to wear knee braces to reduce their risk of injury. Approximately 80% of ACL injuries are non-contact and are due to too much stress and force going through the ACL. By changing the way the forces go through the ligament you can reduce the risk of injury.

Now we will look at a range of ACL knee braces and how they work, ranging from top of the range to the best budget options.

Top of The Range ACL Braces

Donjoy and Breg are two of the leading manufacturers of ACL knee braces and they are the best at providing support and protection. These ACL knee braces are specially designed to reduce that force and strain on the ACL. They are expensive, but they work really well for everything from everyday use to professional athletes.

Donjoy ACL Knee Guarantee

The magic behind a Donjoy ACL brace is the combination of the special FourcePoint hinge and 4-points of leverage system – to find out more visit the Donjoy knee brace page.

Donjoy also offer a knee protection guarantee, so confident are they that you won’t damage your ACL when wearing one of their braces!

Breg ACL knee braces allow you to control the amount of flexion and extension at the knee with adjustable hinges that allow you to block movements and reduce the strain on the ACL.

Donjoy Performance Bionic Knee Brace

Donjoy Knee Braces: Bionic Performance Stability Brace

Overview: The Donjoy Performance Bionic Knee Brace is a mild-moderate support ACL knee brace. It has bilateral polycentric hinges to provide sideways stability supporting the collateral ligaments. It also features a hyperextension stop which helps support the cruciate ligaments and stop the knee from bending back too far. 

The wraparound design and top and bottom stretch webbing closure ensures a personalised fit and the anti-migration technology helps prevent any slippage.

It is made of perforated neoprene for maximum breathability and has reflective spots for enhanced visibility in low light. There is also a camo colored version.

Our Verdict: The Donjoy Performance Bionic ACL Knee Brace provides great protection in all directions and supports the patella well. It is easy to get on and off and even has a small compartment to hold keys and cards! It is comfy to wear, stays in place well and receives great user reviews. Average user rating 4.3/5

Read: User Reviews   Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $80/£99/€90)

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Donjoy FullStop Knee Brace

Donjoy Knee Braces: FullStop Knee Brace

Overview: The Donjoy FullStop Knee Brace provides moderate to maximum stability making it perfect for ACL ruptures or following surgery. The combination of the FullStop hinge and four-point leverage system trains users to stay out of the "at-risk" position through a dampening cycle.

It is designed for use in high-risk sports such as skiing/snowboarding, football, soccer, basketball and volleyball, with ligament tears or after ligament reconstruction surgery.

Adjustable straps ensure secure fit, and it is also reflective.

Our Verdict: The Donjoy FullStop Knee Brace is perfect for people with moderate to severe knee instability from ACL tears, allowing people to safely partake in high-risk sports. It's not cheap but it offers excellent protection. Average user rating 4.2/5

Read: User Reviews   Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $200/£300)

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STAR BUY: Breg T Scope Premier Post-Op Knee Brace

Breg T Scope Hinged Knee Brace - one of the best elite knee braces on the market

Overview: The Breg T Scope Knee Brace offers precise range-of-motion control both for preventing and when recovering from ACL injuries. The dial hinge allows you to limit the range of knee motion with simple flexion and extension stops, to prevent you overstretching your knee, reducing the tension through the ACL.

The brace length can be adjusted thanks to telescopic thigh and calf sleeves to fit almost anyone from 5ft to 6ft4". Good padding and a light-weight design make it extremely comfortable and it can be adjusted to fit either leg.

Our Verdict: The Breg T Scope Brace is an excellent ACL knee brace as you can control how much the knee is allowed to bend and straighten which helps to protect the ACL. It receives excellent user reviews both for comfort and stability. Average user rating 4.4/5.

Read: User Reviews   Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $120/£170)

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Moderate/Severe Instability Braces

If you are looking for something simpler and cheaper than a Donjoy or Breg  ACL brace, there are some great mid-range ACL knee braces that provide good support and are suitable for moderate to severe instability and pain.

They work by using a combination of splints and hinges to provide support and prevent further injury.

STAR BUY: McDavid Pro Stabiliser

McDavid Knee Braces: Pro Stabiliser

Overview: The McDavid Pro Stabiliser knee brace is designed for moderate to severe knee instability and pain after knee injuries e.g. ligament and cartilage tears. It has two side hinges that prevent hyperextension (knee bending too far back), and rigid uprights providing additional sideways support whilst allowing freedom of movement.

This McDavid knee brace is made of lightweight materials including aircraft grade aluminium gears that accommodate the natural gliding action of the knee. Neoprene sleeve provides therapeutic warmth and has a seamless, breathable back panel for improved comfort. Patellar support buttress helps improve patellar tracking. Fully adjustable Velcro straps ensure a perfect fit for your knee.

My Verdict: The McDavid Pro Stabiliser knee brace offers great protection at a reasonable price. Users consistently give it top ratings because it is easy to apply, comfortable and effective. It doesn't provide quite as much support as the Donjoy and Breg braces but is extremely effective. Average user rating 4.3/5.

Read: User Reviews    Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $75/£80/€92)

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Mueller Hg80 Hinged Knee Brace

Elite Mueller Knee Braces: Hg80 Hinged Knee Brace for ultimate protection

Overview: The Mueller Hg80 Hinged Knee Brace provides excellent support. The triaxial hinge and flexible steel springs provide maximum protection without limiting knee movement.

This Mueller knee brace is made from Hydracinn fabric (latex and neoprene free) which provides good durability and heat management to prevent excessive sweating. The contoured inner sleeve and adjustable strap at the top ensures correct fit and the unique antimicrobial layer protects from bacteria and other micro-organisms, reducing odors. Comes in four sizes. 

Our Verdict: The Mueller Hg80 Knee Brace is a great brace for skiers and active sports people and receives excellent reviews. I like that it is made from special material to prevent it getting smelly! Average user rating 4.4/5.

Read: User Reviews    Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $50/£75/€99)

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Mild/Moderate Instability Braces

These ACL knee braces provide advanced protection and are suitable for mild to moderate ACL instabilities. They have adjustable straps and in-built supports to provide support where it is needed. They also retain heat which increases circulation to the knee which can promote healing.

Star Buy: McDavid Patella Knee Support

McDavid Knee Braces: Patella Knee Support

Overview: The McDavid Patella Knee Support is one of the most popular McDavid knee braces for ligament & cartilage injuries.

These McDavid knee braces have special supportive steel springs that strengthen the brace on either side of the knee joint to improve stability and support the knee ligaments. The Neoprene material provides soothing heat and compression which relieves knee pain and swelling and promotes healing.

Our Verdict: The McDavid Patella Knee Brace is one our favourite mild-moderate support ACL knee braces - it's a classic design and is rated highly by users. It is fully adjustable so you don't have to worry about buying the right size. Average user rating 4.5/5.

Read: User Reviews   Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $45/£50/€50)

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Neo G Hinged Open Knee Brace

neog hinged 280 opt nov 23

Overview: The Neo G Hinged Open Knee Brace has an exclusive two point geared hinge system to control flexion and extension movements preventing hyperextension (knee bending too far back). It also reduces sideways instability making it a really useful ACL knee brace.

Featuring three adjustable straps, this knee brace provides excellent joint protection and stability. The open patellar area helps reduce patellar tracking problems and pain.

Our Verdict: With the Neo G Hinged Knee Brace, the hinge actually makes it easier to bend and straighten the knee whilst providing the necessary support. Simple to use and comfortable. Average user rating 4.3/5.

Read: User Reviews    Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $50/£35/€55)

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Other ACL Knee Brace Options

These are just some of the best ACL knee braces on the market. If you want to see some more options, have a look at the Donjoy and Elite brace sections for more options if you need moderate to maximum support, or the advanced knee braces section for mild-moderate ligament support.

Sizing Guide

It is really important to get the right sized ACL knee brace to ensure maximum support and protection. Use the guide below to find the right size ACL knee brace for you.

McDavid Knee Sleeve Sizing Guide
Mueller Knee Sleeve Sizing Guide
Donjoy knee brace size guide

What Else Can Help?

Wearing an ACL knee brace can make a huge difference but they are only one aspect in the rehab process after ACL injuries. Effective rehab is what makes the difference long term, whether you need surgery or not. 

An ACL knee brace is not intended as a substitute for rehab, it is to be used alongside your rehab programme, the aim being to build up enough strength and stability that you can eventually stop wearing your brace without any risk of further injury. 

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Page Last Updated: 09/01/24
Next Review Due: 09/01/26

*Prices correct as of June 2024.  All prices are subject to change.  Please note we do not stock products directly and therefore have no control over price changes.  See advertising policy for more information.