Arthritis Knee Brace Guide

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

Arthritis Knee Brace Guide: Find the best knee brace for you, whatever stage your arthritis is

Arthritis knee braces are designed to relieve the pain and swelling associated with arthritis

Arthritis is very common problem and affects around 50 million Americans, approximately 22% of the population. 

Arthritis braces work by reducing the pressure going through the arthritic parts of the knee and providing support and warmth.

Here we will look at how different styles of arthritis braces work, what evidence there is to their effectiveness, how to choose the best brace for you including how to get the right size, and what to expect from the brace.

Styles To Choose From

There are three different styles of arthritis knee brace:

  1. General Arthritis Knee Supports: These provide compression and warmth which help to reduce arthritis pain and swelling. They work best for mild arthritis affecting part or all of the joint

  2. Advanced Support Braces: These provide support for ligaments and help reduce the weight going through the knee joint to reduce arthritis knee pain. These work well for mild and moderate arthritis affecting part or all of the joint

  3. Unloader Arthritis Knee Braces: Unloader knee braces are specially designed to reduce the weight going through the parts of the knee affected by arthritis by changing the angle of the knee joint. Special hinges redistribute the weight to stronger parts of the joint. There are different unloader braces suitable for all severities of arthritis, mild, moderate and severe, but work best when only one side of the knee is affected.

We will start by looking at Unloader arthritis knee braces as they are the ones most specifically designed for arthritis.

1. Unloader Arthritis Knee Braces

Unloader arthritis knee braces work by reducing the weight going through the arthritic part of the knee joint and redistributing it to the healthy part of the knee.

As a result, unloader knee braces work best for people whose arthritis is confined to one side of the knee joint. Most commonly, arthritis affects the medial (inner) side of the knee, while the lateral (outer) side of the knee is often unaffected, but sometimes it works in reverse.

Unloader knee braces are more expensive than other types of arthritis knee brace, but that is because of their more complex design, which makes them much more effective.

Many people find they get great relief from their pain when wearing an unloader arthritis knee brace, and it can delay or even prevent the need for surgery

STAR BUY: Komzer OA Unloader Knee Brace

Komzer Unloader Arthritis Knee Brace

Overview: The Komzer Unloader Arthritis Knee Brace is a comfortable, lightweight, low-profile brace. It's unique varus/valgus angle adjuster and 3 points of leverage design means you can reduce the weight going through the medial (inner) side of the knee joint.

There are also options flexion/extension stops if you want to limit the amount of flexion/extension at the knee to reduce the risk of injury

The adjustable straps means it's one-size fits most and it has quick release buckles to make it quick and easy to get it on and off. The silicone gripped liners and strap pads ensure it stays in place. Simply choose from the right or left knee design. This Komzer arthritis knee brace also comes with a 6 month guarantee.

Our Verdict: The Komzer Arthritis Knee Brace is one of the most popular medial offloader arthritis knee braces on the market. We love that you can not only control the angle of the brace to reduce pressure through arthritis in the inner knee, but also that you can control how far the knee bends and straightens. Average User Rating 4.2/5

Read: User Reviews   Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $117/£160/€380)

Prices guide by country

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Orthomen Lateral Unloader Knee Brace

orthomen arth brace lat 310 opt dec 23

Overview: The Orthomen Lateral Unloader Knee Brace is designed for people with arthritis affecting that lateral (outer) side of their knee. It reduces the amount of pressure going through the outer part of the knee joint which reduces arthritis knee pain.

The three point leverage system allows you to adjust the line of force and increase joint space, reducing pressure and wear and tear on the arthritic knee. It has an adjustable dial for controlling knee range of motion and flexion/extension sliders that allow you full control over how much your knee can bend and straighten. It is made of lightweight breathable fabric and has quick release adjustable straps fitting a thigh circumference up to 32".

Not only does it redistribute the forces going through the knee, it also provides sideways stability, reducing the risk of knee injuries such as ligament sprains and cartilage tears.

Our Verdict: The Orthomen Lateral Arthritis Knee Brace is perfect if your arthritis is confined to the outer side of the knee. By reducing the pressure through the affected part of the knee, you will be able to get back the activities you love. Average user rating 4.1/5

Read: User Reviews   Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $122/£210/€410)

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2. Advanced Arthritis Knee Braces

These arthritis knee braces provide moderate support for the knee joint, as well as helping to reduce swelling. They are great if your knee is starting to feel weak or unstable due to your arthritis, whether it is with sporting activities like skiing, or everyday activities such as walking. People often feel more confident knowing that they have some extra support. However, these braces won't offload the arthritic parts of the knee as unloader braces do.

STAR BUY: Neo G Stabilized Open Knee Support

Neo-G Knee Braces: Stabilized Open Knee Support

Overview: The Neo G Stabilized Open Knee Support provides great support and compression, and has four metal spiral support stays to stabilise the knee whilst allowing controlled movement. It is particularly good for sports and skiing.

The open patella area helps reduce pain associated with knee joint and kneecap problems making it a very useful knee arthritis brace. This Neo G knee brace has three adjustable straps which allow variable compression and ensure a custom fit around the entire knee complex.

Our Verdict: The Neo G Stabilized Knee Support is one of the best arthritis knee braces on the market offering intermediate support and protection. It is very reasonably priced and gives great support without being cumbersome. Average user rating 4.2/5.

Read: User Reviews    Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $40/£30/€40)

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McDavid Pro Stabiliser II

McDavid Knee Braces: Pro Stabiliser

Overview: The McDavid Pro Stabiliser knee brace is designed for moderate to severe knee instability and pain with arthritis as well as other knee conditions. 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 arthritis 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. If you have instability associated with your knee arthritis, this is a great option. 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 with knee arthritis. 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 with arthritis 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)

Orthopedic knee brace available in these countries

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3. General Arthritis Knee Supports

These arthritis knee braces provide some support and warmth to the joint, as well as helping to reduce knee arthritis pain and swelling. They are most suitable in the early stages of arthritis.

STAR BUY: Magnet RX Knee Brace Support

Magnet RX Magnetic Knee Brace - Our star buy

Overview: The MagnetRX Knee Support has 17 powerful neodymium magnets strategically positions in acupressure points all around the knee for maximum results.

Magnetic therapy can be extremely useful with knee arthritis as it is thought to boost circulation and aid healing. Whilst the scientific evidence is still lacking, many people swear by it. If you've tried other arthritis knee braces that haven't worked, you may benefit from this.

This magnetic knee brace is made using 3d knit technology to provide superior support and comfort without compromising knee mobility. Made of soft elastic and breathable fabric it has anti-slip silicone strips to keep the sleeve in place. They are sold in packs of 2 and are available in 4 different sizes, and they come with a full 60-day money back guarantee.

Our Verdict: The Magnet RX Knee Support receives excellent user reviews with people reporting immediate benefits. We like how the magnets are evenly spaced around the front and back of the knee so they work, whichever part of your knee is painful. Average user rating 4.4/5

Read: User Reviews    Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $35/£34/€38)

Magnetic knee brace available in these countries

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STAR BUY: ACE Knee Brace with Side Stabilisers 

ACE Knee Brace with side stabilizers

Overview: The ACE Knee Brace With Stabilizers has flexible metal side stabilizers which provide medial and lateral stability, simulating the action of the knee ligaments. It is lightweight and allows full range of movement at the knee.

It helps to support the knee and reduce the risk of knee injuries, and is comfortable, even when worn for long periods. There are two versions available, one has an opening to reduce pressure on the kneecap, the other is a full sleeve.

Our Verdict: The ACE Knee Brace With Stabilizers is one of the only pull up sleeves on the market that has side stabilizers built in, providing that extra bit of support to help reduce knee arthritis pain. It a extremely comfortable, easy to put on, provides a good level of support and gets excellent reviews. Average user rating 4.4/5.

Read: User Reviews    Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $16/£18/€20)

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Neo G Closed Knee Brace

NeoG Closed Knee Brace

Overview: The Neo G Closed Knee Brace provides compression, support and warming relief to the entire knee complex without restricting movement, making it a perfect mild arthritis knee brace.

At only 2.5mm thick, it can easily be worn under your clothes, providing dynamic support whilst still allowing full, smooth range of motion in all directions.

My verdict: The Neo G Closed Knee Brace provides good basic level support and stays in place really well. Reviews are extremely positive however if you have problems with your kneecap, the open sleeve may suit you better. Average user rating 4.1/5.

Read: User Reviews    Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $20/£16/€32)

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Mueller Adjustable Knee Support

Mueller Adjustable Knee Support Brace

Overview: The Mueller Adjustable Knee Support is a lightweight, adjustable support that provides firm, comfortable compression without restricting movement. It is perfect for weak, injured or arthritic knees. The pull up sleeve design also has four patented adjustable straps so you can ensure a perfect fit for your knee.

The open kneecap design helps stabilise the kneecap without putting any pressure through it which can be really helpful with knee arthritis. Its contoured design and Velcro cover minimises bunching and prevents friction behind the knee. The soft neoprene blend retains heat for soothing warmth to help relieve pain and promote healing. One size fits most.

Our Verdict: People find the Mueller Adjustable Knee Support really comfortable even when worn all day. It doesn’t cause any restriction behind the knee like some pull on sleeves do. Average user rating 4.2/5


Do They Really Help?

An article in Arthritis Today magazine quoted the American College of Rheumatology on the recommended management of arthritis stating “The use of lightweight knee braces may correct misaligned bones of the knee joint and reduce pressure on the soft tissues.”

The article also mentions that the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons too, supports the use of braces for knee osteoarthritis (OA), “Some [braces] may provide significant reduction in pain ... in selected patients with osteoarthritis of the knee.”

What To Expect From Knee Arthritis Braces

Knee arthritis braces can be a really useful treatment tool but it is important to remember:

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Knee Arthritis: Take Back Control is available at Amazon on Kindle or paperback
Get it on Google Play

Beat Knee Arthritis

Our new Knee Arthritis Book is out in paperback or for instant download on your Kindle.  Knee Arthritis: Take Back Control: From Exercises To Knee Replacements & Everything In Between

Top tips, exercises and loads more.

Paperback or Kindle.

Read Reviews/ Buy Now

  • Arthritis knee braces do not cure arthritis: But they can help reduce the pain associated with it and can help you avoid or delay the need for surgery

  • They may feel uncomfortable to start with: It can take up to a month to get used to them. But bearing in mind arthritis is a long term condition, it is worth persevering

  • Arthritis knee braces don’t suit everyone: But many people find they either eliminate their pain, or certainly moderately reduce it

  • They are not a substitute for rehab: To get the best results, you should be working on a knee strengthening programme alongside using your brace

  • Always discuss your condition with your doctor: or physical therapist prior to purchasing a brace to make sure you get one suitable for your knee

Arthritis knee braces generally tend to be most beneficial for people with mild to moderate arthritis. The unloader braces can help with severe arthritis but I would recommend you discuss them with your doctor before purchasing any to check what is appropriate.

Brace Size Guides

It is vital that you get the right sized arthritis knee brace otherwise it will not provide the support you need and will likely be uncomfortable.  The size guides below will allow you to find the right size for you.  If your measurements put you between two sizes, it is usually best to opt for the larger size.

Ace Knee Sleeve sizing guide
McDavid Knee Sleeve Sizing Guide
Mueller Knee Sleeve Sizing Guide

*Prices correct as of February 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.

Find Out More

If you want to know more about arthritis including diagnosis, symptoms and treatment options, visit the arthritis section.

If you don't think you've found the right arthritis knee brace for you, go to the knee brace guide for a greater range of braces.

You can also check out our book Knee Arthritis: Take Back Control. It is the top rated book on Knee Arthritis on Amazon with an average user review rating of 4.4/5.  It's packed full of great information from exercises to knee replacements and everything in between.  A perfect guide for anyone who is having a knee joint replacement

You might also be interested in the following articles:

Page Last Updated: 11/01/24
Next Review Due: 11/01/26


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