What Knee Brace do I need?

What type of knee brace do I need? How to find the right brace within such a large offer?

These are the questions that most people try to answer when looking for a knee support. To help you make the right choice, we have described below the 4 main categories of athletic knee braces and their use.

Athletic knee braces can be organized in 4 categories:

Sleeves          Functional          Prophylactic          Rehabilitative


What are they used for?


These braces offer the most basic support of all. They provide compression, light support and increase the stability of the knee. They are not designed to protect or recover from injuries but they will prevent injuries for the following reasons:

    • They help increase the blood flow
    • They give more sensations to the knee
    • They provide warmth
    • They reduce pain and swell

When to use a sleeve: to get a basic support, to relieve a minor knee pain. 

Functional braces:

These braces are used as support to an injured knee. Whether you have been recently injured or want to prevent further injury, this is the one you need to go with.

Unlike a sleeve, a functional brace is reinforced, and will be wrapped around your knee. Some will have hinges and other will have simple reinforcement on the sides.  For that reason, the level of support provided will vary greatly from one brace to another
When to use a functional brace: To recover from an injury, to get back to sport or physical activity while recovering, to get a greater support, to prevent further injuries

Prophylactic braces:

    These braces are specifically designed for contact sports, such as football or basketball. Because they are built with bars and hinges, they maintain and protect the knee from any harmful impact. More specifically, they prevent injuries to the MCL.

        When to use prophylactic brace: When practicing a contact sport like basketball, football or skiing

        Rehabilitative braces:

        These braces are design to help the knee heal after a surgery. These braces are not designed to practice physical activity but as their name suggest, to be used during the rehabilitation process, usually immediately after a surgery. They help control the movement of the knee and protect the ligaments.

          When to use a rehabilitative brace: Just after a knee surgery and during the rehabilitation period.


          For each brace available on BackToSport.com.au, we have added the level of support they provide to further help you with your choice.




          As a rule of thumb, the table below can be used to relate each type of athletic brace with the level of support they provide.  Of course, depending on each specific brace, the level of support can be lighter or greater.



          Functional with reinforcement

          Functional with Hinges









          Injured limb






          Recovery from injury






          Level of support








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