Orthopedic Knee Brace Guide

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

An orthopedic knee brace can be really helpful following knee injuries such as ligament tears, or after knee surgery

Elite orthopedic knee braces provide maximum support and protection for moderate to severe knee pain and instability. 

They are commonly used after serious knee injuries such as ligament tears, or after certain types of knee surgery such as an ACL reconstruction.

They contain hinges which offer sideways stability and control movement to prevent the knee from hyperextending (bending back too far).

Elite braces offer much more protection and stability than the more simple basic pull up sleeves and wrap around knee braces on the market, but as a result, they are more expensive.

Here we will look at the most popular elite level braces on the market, what conditions they are suitable, how they work, which one is best for you and how to choose the correct size.

What Injuries Do They Help?

Elite orthopedic knee braces are perfect for:

  1. Moderate to Severe Knee Problems e.g. cartilage tears, arthritis and chronic weakness
  2. Major Knee Instability e.g. following ligament injuries
  3. Recovery After Knee Surgery e.g. ACL Repair

They help to support the knee, reduce pain and make daily activities and sport much safer and more comfortable. They can be used for everyday activities or high demand activities such as contact sports and skiing. 

How Do Elite Level Braces Vary?

Elite orthopedic knee braces usually have two to four Velcro straps for fastening to ensure an accurate fit. This allows for fluctuations in the size of your knee as swelling comes and goes.

Some elite braces have hinges that can be locked at different amounts of flexion and extension so you can control how much your knee bends and straightens. This is really useful in the early stages of recovering from knee injuries or surgery.

Best Orthopedic Knee Braces

With so many different elite orthopedic knee braces on the market it can be hard to know where to start. So here you will find out favourite elite level braces - the ones that offer the best level of support and receive the best reviews by users.

STAR BUY: McDavid Pro Stabiliser II Hinged Knee Brace

Best Elite Orthopedic Knee Brace - McDavid Pro Stabiliser II Hinged Knee Brace

Overview: The McDavid Pro Stabiliser hinged orthopedic knee brace is designed for moderate to severe knee instability and pain. It has two side hinges that prevent hyperextension, and rigid uprights providing additional sideways support whilst allowing freedom of movement.

The McDavid Pro II is made of lightweight materials that accommodate the natural gliding action of the knee. The patellar support buttress helps improve patellar tracking (how the kneecap moves).

Our Verdict: The McDavid Pro Stabiliser is the best orthopedic knee brace on the market as it offers excellent protection. Users consistently give it top ratings because it is easy to apply, comfortable and effective.

It is one of the most popular hinged knee braces on the market and a good purchase if you want  to give your knee maximum support. It isn't the cheapest at full price but is often on sale. Average user rating 4.4/5.

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

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Ultimate Protection: Donjoy FullStop

Donjoy Fullstop Bionic Knee Brace - Ultimate Protection Orthopedic Knee Brace

Overview: The Donjoy Fullstop orthopedic knee brace is a superb sports and skiing brace for knee ligament injuries and cartilage tears. It is suitable for instability following partial or complete tears of any of the knee ligaments.

It has hi-tech dampening hinges which engage at 145o and come to a full stop at 170o which prevents the knee bending backwards into hyperextension - a common cause of knee injuries.

The Fullstop also features the Donjoy Four Points of Leverage™ system which restores knee joint stability by preventing movement of the shin in relation to the thigh, reducing the forces on the knee ligaments, particularly the ACL.

Our Verdict: The Donjoy Fullstop is the ultimate orthopedic knee brace for controlling stability and preventing ligament injuries. It has four straps which ensures a perfect fit and provides great stability to the knee. 

It is very easy to use, and is most commonly used after knee surgery or with ACL injuries. It's not cheap but if you need a really high level of support and protection, it's worth it. Average User Rating 4.2/5

Read: User Reviews    Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $190/£300/€200)

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Best Value: Neo G Hinged Open Knee Brace

Best Value Orthopedic Knee Brace: NeoG Hinged Knee Brace

Overview: The NeoG Hinged Knee Brace  has a two point geared hinge system to control flexion and extension movements preventing hyperextension . It also reduces sideways instability.

Featuring three adjustable straps, this brace provides excellent joint protection and stability. The hole at the front for the kneecap helps reduce patellar tracking problems and pain.

Our Verdict: The NeoG Hinged Knee Brace is excellent value for money and the hinge actually makes it easier to bend and straighten the knee whilst providing the necessary support. It is simple to use and comfortable, although doesn't offer quite as the McDavid and Donjoy braces. Neo G braces receive excellent user reviews. Average user rating 4.3/5

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

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Breg T Scope Premier Post-Op Knee Brace

breg knee lig brace 220 opt dec 23

Overview: The Breg T Scope Knee Brace offers precise range-of-motion control both for preventing and when recovering from knee 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 knee ligaments.

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 orthopedic knee brace as you can control how much the knee is allowed to bend and straighten which helps to protect the knee ligaments. 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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Mueller Hg80 Hinged Knee Brace

Mueller Hg80 Hinged Knee Brace

Overview: The Mueller Hg80 hinged orthopedic knee brace has a triaxial hinge and flexible steel springs provides maximum protection without limiting knee movement. Made from Hydracinn fabric which provides good durability and heat management to prevent excessive sweating.

It has a unique antimicrobial layer protecting from bacteria and other micro-organisms and reducing odors. Comes in four sizes (not available in XXL). Latex and neoprene free.

Our Verdict: The Mueller Hg80 is a great orthopedic knee brace for skiers and active sports people. I like that it is made from special material to prevent it getting smelly! NB there is a similar model available that doesn't have the hinge so check carefully. Average user rating 4.4/5

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

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Elite Knee Brace Size Guides

It is really important to get the correct size brace, otherwise it won’t work effectively and may be very uncomfortable. Elite orthopedic knee braces are either one size fits most or come in range of sizes.

To get an accurate fit, measure around the centre of the knee and chose from the options below. If your knee falls between two sizes, it is usually best to go for the larger size for a better fit.

McDavid Knee Sleeve Sizing Guide
Mueller Knee Sleeve Sizing Guide
Donjoy Knee Brace Size Guide

Other Knee Brace Options?

Most people will not require an elite orthopedic knee brace and find a Basic or Advanced Knee Brace works perfectly for them. The more basic braces tend to be cheaper.

To find out more about the other types of knee braces available, click the links or visit the Knee Brace Overview section for help in finding the best brace for you.

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Page Last Updated: 08/01/24
Next Review Due: 08/01/26

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*Prices correct as of March 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.