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What’s The Best Knee Brace for Football? Buyer’s Guide & Review

Best Football Knee Braces Featured Image

Having one of the best knee braces should be among your top gear priority as a footballer, this will surely protect your knee on and off the field in case of unwarranted situations that might cause an injury. Knee injury is common among football players because the sport involves lateral movements, hard tackles, and sharp cuts.

By wearing the right football knee brace, you give the best support to your knee. Because football is an extremely high contact sport, there is a great possibility for another player to hit your knee with high impact. Football is a sport that involves a lot of sudden movements which might cause unintentional hits and blows. Meniscus tear, ACL, and MCL are some examples of the most common knee injuries a football player can acquire from the sport. [1]

If you are considering buying a knee brace to protect your knee as a football player, we recommend that you research and compare different knee brace options first. Note that there are different football knee braces for different football positions to cater specifically to the protection needs of that player. Below are reviews of the ten best football knee braces that we highly recommend.

PRODUCT

PRODUCT DETAILS

OUR #1 RATED

Shock Doctor Maximum Support Compression Knee Brace

  • Prevents knee injuries
  • Offers utmost comfort to users
  • Premium stitching and adequate patella support guaranteed
  • Moisture-wicking and well-ventilated
  • Flexible as it works for football players and those recovering from an injury

OUR #2 RATED

DonJoy Legend SE-4 Knee Brace

  • Can resist corrosion, rust, and chips
  • Promotes a secure and snug fit
  • Boasts of a low-profile and universal design
  • Prevents knee subluxations
  • Strong construction, thanks to the aircraft-grade aluminum material used

OUR #3 RATED

DonJoy Performance Bionic Knee Brace

  • Highly breathable
  • Easy to wear and pull off
  • Capable of delivering a more precise fit
  • Improves visibility because of its reflectivity
  • Features a wrap-around design, offering comfort

OUR #4 RATED

Orthomen Functional ACL Knee Brace

  • Adjustable to an optimal size
  • Offers stability and support after knee reconstruction or injury
  • Features a lightweight yet sturdy frame
  • Comes with hypoallergenic silicone-grip strap pads
  • Supports football players and those into low and moderate impact sports

OUR #5 RATED

DonJoy Performance Bionic Fullstop ACL Knee Brace

  • Provides adequate patella support
  • Helps users stay away from a risky position
  • Its thermal heat and compression control helps to prevent knee hotness
  • Features adjustable straps for a better fit
  • Prevents injuries for football players and those into contact sports

Best Knee Brace for Football

1. Shock Doctor Maximum Support Compression Knee Brace

The first brace on our list of the best football knee brace is the Shock Doctor Maximum Support Compression Knee Brace. Many players agree that it is a high-quality knee brace for football. They also consider it as a hinged knee brace because of the bilateral hinges that come along with it. We specifically like the flexibility of this knee brace from Shock Doctor.

We noticed this knee brace’s flexibility because it provides comfort while also benefiting those who also need moderate support due to minor to moderate sprains, instabilities, and strains. It can help them, especially when they are in the recovery phase.

We also figured out that the Shock Doctor Maximum Support Compression Knee Brace is designed in such a way that it can prevent other possible injuries affecting the knee, including minor ligament sprains, lateral or medial instability, minor patella instability, and meniscus injury. This knee brace is very comfortable. We think it is because of the 4-way stretch Lycra mesh it uses.

PROS

  • Prevents knee injuries
  • Offers utmost comfort to users
  • Premium stitching and adequate patella support guaranteed
  • Moisture-wicking and well-ventilated
  • Flexible as it works for football players and those recovering from an injury

CONS

  • A bit difficult to wear at first

The Shock Doctor Maximum Support Compression Knee Brace boasts of a premium stitching as well adequate patella support designed to give players long-lasting convenience. It also provides a more convenient grip pull when it comes to fitting due to the comfortable finger tabs integrated into the knee brace. Another impressive benefit of the Shock Doctor Maximum Support Compression Knee Brace its moisture-wicking and well-ventilated nature.

2. DonJoy Legend SE-4 Knee Brace

Among the most reliable brands for football knee braces in the market today is DonJoy. Coming in at number two on our list is the DonJoy Legend SE-4 Knee Brace. It works as an effective ACL brace for football players. 

One desirable trait we noticed about this DonJoy football knee brace is its strength. We think it is primarily because of the solid and strong aircraft-grade aluminum used in its construction. 

It is also possible for the DonJoy Legend SE-4 to last a long time without any risk of corrosion, rust, and chips. It is mainly because of its Kraton coating. With such material, we can say that this knee brace for football can be safely used in freshwater and saltwater activities.

A more secure and snug fit can also be expected from the DonJoy Legend SE-4’s heavy elastic nylon straps that also come with Velcro for adjustments. The low-profile design used in this knee brace also allows it work not only in football but also in other contact sports and demanding activities.

PROS

  • Can resist corrosion, rust, and chips
  • Promotes a secure and snug fit
  • Boasts of a low-profile and universal design
  • Prevents knee subluxations
  • Strong construction, thanks to the aircraft-grade aluminum material used

CONS

  • Slightly time-consuming to put on and adjust

We discovered that the DonJoy Legend SE-4 offers support for moderate and severe cases of ACL and other instabilities affecting different parts of the knees. It also makes use of its 4-point dynamic leverage technology, which works effectively in preventing knee subluxations. The universal design of this knee brace makes it suitable for use by both male and female.

3. DonJoy Performance Bionic Knee Brace

We have the DonJoy Performance Bionic Knee Brace at number three. This is also another knee brace for football running backs, lineman, and any other positions in football. We like the wrap-around designed used in this knee brace because we discovered that it works in boosting its comfort level when worn.

Also, the DonJoy Performance Bionic’s design makes it a bit easier to put on and take off. Plus, It also takes pride in the bilateral polycentric hinges installed in this knee brace. Such hinges can support knee instability with the aid of its built-in hyperextension stops. We find it capable of delivering a more precise fit too.

It is mainly because aside from the bottom and top stretch webbing closure built into the DonJoy Performance Bionic and its TPR pull tabs. Another great thing about this football knee brace is that it can improve visibility when you are in a low-light situation because of its reflectivity. This can definitely keep you away from harm.

PROS

  • Highly breathable
  • Easy to wear and pull off
  • Capable of delivering a more precise fit
  • Improves visibility because of its reflectivity
  • Features a wrap-around design, offering comfort

CONS

  • Slightly tight in the securing loop

Lastly, the DonJoy Performance Bionic Knee Brace can minimize the risk of slips, thanks to the implementation of anti-migration technology. It is also one of those knee braces capable of offering the highest level of breathability as it is built with perforated neoprene materials. Designed in a way that you can also control its compression, the DonJoy Performance Bionic is built for comfort.

4. Orthomen Functional ACL Knee Brace

The fourth knee brace on this list is another knee brace for football players and active patients who need more support during their recovery period. It’s the functional ACL knee brace from Orthomen. What we like about this football knee brace is that it is designed to provide  the support and stability you need right after a knee injury or reconstruction.

It also gives support to football players, especially those who do not want to experience knee injuries when playing their game.

We are impressed with the Orthomen Functional ACL’s sturdy yet lightweight frame. It’s frame is lined with solid and sturdy materials that are soft enough to offer both support and comfort. Therefore, it works well for users who are into low and moderate impact sports. 

Another impressive fact about this Orthomen ACL knee brace is that it has quite a number of straps which we think are major pluses as they offer the counterforce needed by some users. You can also adjust the straps based on your optimal size.

PROS

  • Adjustable to an optimal size
  • Offers stability and support after knee reconstruction or injury
  • Features a lightweight yet sturdy frame
  • Comes with hypoallergenic silicone-grip strap pads
  • Supports football players and those into low and moderate impact sports

CONS

  • Could take some time to figure out and adjust

Another great benefit of the Orthomen Functional ACL knee brace is that it is designed for anti-migration made possible with its silicone-grip strap pads that are also known to be hypoallergenic. It provides a snug fit while also working well in terms of providing stability and offering pain relief.

5. DonJoy Performance Bionic Fullstop ACL Knee Brace

Coming in at number five is another great knee brace designed for several football positions – the DonJoy Performance Bionic Fullstop ACL Knee Brace. This knee brace is quite useful when it comes to preventing knee injuries that might happen to football players, soccer players, and other contact sport players.

The DonJoy Performance Bionic Fullstop ACL Knee Brace is actually designed to protect and heal meniscus and ACL injuries, moderate tendon and ligament sprains, joint instabilities, and hyperextension. We also discovered that this knee brace provides more than enough patella support. However, even those who are not injured can use it to prevent possible injuries.

The hinge technology used in the DonJoy Performance Bionic Fullstop, as well as its 4-point leverage system, is quite amazing. It can help the wearer avoid risky movements because of the hinge’s dampening cycle. It also helps prevent hotness of the knee when worn. This is mainly because this knee brace is designed in such a way that it can control thermal heat and compression. 

PROS

  • Provides adequate patella support
  • Helps users stay away from a risky position
  • Its thermal heat and compression control helps to prevent knee hotness
  • Features adjustable straps for a better fit
  • Prevents injuries for football players and those into contact sports

CONS

  • Needed to be tightened from time to time

The DonJoy Performance Bionic Fullstop ACL Knee Brace’s implements the anti-migration technology to prevent its sleeve from moving. Furthermore, it can give you a personal and secure fit with the aid of its adjustable straps.

6. DonJoy Playmaker Drytex Knee Brace

The DonJoy Playmaker Drytex Knee Brace is another knee brace for any football position. We are really glad to have come across this particular knee brace for football because aside from working efficiently as a ligament knee brace, it can also prevent injuries.

One of the most noticeable qualities of this knee brace is its versatility. It is versatile in the sense that it can satisfy thousands of possible users, not just football players. It is particularly helpful for those needing the strength of its polycentric hinge. This hinge features contoured shells for comfort.

Another thing about this knee brace is it’s lightweight. Plus, it has a low-profile design that makes it much easier to use. It works well for players that are in need of support for mild and moderate PCL, MCL, LCL, and ACL instabilities.

PROS

  • Versatile because it targets a wide range of users
  • Features contoured shells for comfort
  • Boasts of a lightweight and low-profile design
  • Works for those who are allergic to neoprene-based items
  • Features an adjustable braking system

CONS

  • Could be a bit warm for some users

Another reason why we find the DonJoy Playmaker Drytex Knee Brace favorable is that it is totally lightweight and breathable. This is mainly because it uses Drytex material making it suitable for possible users with allergies for neoprene material built items. It also comes with cutouts at the back to make it more breathable while lowering the risk of bunching. You can also gently regulate its extension with its adjustable braking system.

7. DonJoy Playmaker II Knee Support Brace

We are also glad to recommend the DonJoy Playmaker II Knee Support Brace at number seven as it is one of the most satisfying football knee braces in the market today. We discovered that it delivers a truly impressive performance when used by players with mild ACL, LCL, and MCL instabilities, as well as those who have knee hyperextension.

Preventing such injuries is also possible with this knee brace. We discovered that it is actually designed in such a way that it can offer comfort and stability to support and promote movements. It offers a great fit and comfort because of the Hi10 material used in it. Such material can be defined as a spandex fiber or nylon with high tenacity. 

Another thing about the DonJoy Playmaker Drytex Knee Brace is that it has an advanced spacer fabric at its back and front. This material offers a cool and breathable experience regardless of your activity.

PROS

  • Not difficult to wear
  • Prevents knee injuries and instabilities
  • Guarantees a great fit
  • Provides a cool and breathable experience for users
  • Easy and quick to adjust

CONS

  • You have to be careful when selecting a size; not many sizes are available

The DonJoy Playmaker Drytex Knee Brace is impressive that it allows for a customized design. In addition, you can quickly and easily adjust it to guarantee a comfortable and secure fit with the aid of its molded strap tabs. With its wrap-around design, expect to have an easy time wearing this knee brace.

8. DonJoy Armor Knee Support Brace with ForcePoint Hinge

Another knee brace from the highly reliable DonJoy brand is the Armor Knee Support Brace with ForcePoint Hinge. 

This knee brace features a combination of hinge technology and 4-point leverage system, making it effective in continuously correcting knee hyperextension and moderate to severe cases of ACL instability.

We also greatly appreciate the ability of the DonJoy Armor Knee Support Brace with ForcePoint Hinge to enhance your natural gait. This is made possible through the application of progressive resistance prior to getting to the firm endpoint when you take each movement.

This knee brace is suitable for those who are active but have ligament instabilities. It performs well for athletes, particularly those involved in contact and extreme sports, such as football, motocross, snowboarding, and skiing.

PROS

  • Provides a great fit
  • Corrects and prevents issues on the knees
  • Can enhance your natural gait
  • Suits active individuals, particularly athletes
  • Uses aircraft-grade aluminum frame, making it stable and strong

CONS

  • Could be quite pricey

The DonJoy Armor Knee Support Brace with ForcePoint Hinge offers a truly perfect fit just by molding the brace into your knee. You can further improve the fit and the brace’s suspension using the swiveling strap tabs built into it. This knee brace is light, meaning it will never weigh you down nor limit your movement. It is thick, stable, and strong, thanks to its solid aircraft-grade aluminum frame.

9. DonJoy FullForce Knee Support Brace

Another product from DonJoy that we would recommend you check out is the FullForce Knee Support Brace. One impressive thing about this knee brace is its exceptional lightness. It is light enough to enhance your motion and speed up your movement. Despite being light, it is effective in offering full ACL protection.

A good thing about the DonJoy FullForce is it works for both recreational and competitive athletes. Regardless of your sport, it can work for you without compromising speed. This knee brace showcases a low-profile and sleek design courtesy of its solid aircraft-grade aluminum frame.

Another impressive benefit of this knee brace is its ability to boost the natural gait of its users. All it does to attain this benefit is to apply progressive resistance before you get to an endpoint during your movements.

PROS

  • Totally comfortable and supportive
  • Totally lightweight and this makes it easy to use
  • Ideal for recreational and competitive athletes
  • Features a low-profile and sleek design
  • Does not compromise your speed, performance, and movements

CONS

  • Produces some squeaking sounds from its hinges

The DonJoy FullForce implements its unique FourcePoint hinge technology, which gives an adjustable level of resistance while you are straightening your knee. We also noticed that it is pretty comfortable while supplying adequate support. Moreover, it is one of the most stable braces you can find in the market today.

10. Orthomen Functional Knee Brace

The last product on our list of best football knee brace is the Orthomen Functional knee brace. This knee brace is good because aside from being well-constructed, it is also supportive and stable. Such support and stability are crucial if you just had a reconstruction or a knee injury.

This knee brace functions well for athletes that engage in impact sports, whether it is on a low or medium level. It also works suitably for active patients that need extra support to recover from an injury. For the best football girdles see this article.

We are also satisfied with the frame integrated into Orthomen Functional knee brace as well. This is because it is lightweight yet durable. It is composed of sturdy yet soft materials that are also used in its lining. Plus, it promotes anti-migration due to its hypoallergenic silicone-grip pads. It gives users the support and comfort they prefer. 

PROS

  • Well-constructed and boasts of a streamlined design
  • Stable and supportive
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Easy to adjust because of its numbered straps
  • Promotes anti-migration, thanks to its hypoallergenic silicone-grip pads

CONS

  • You have to be careful when selecting a size, limited size available.

Overall, the Orthomen Functional’s frame has a more streamlined design. It gives users the chance to make size adjustments for an optimal fit. All they have to do is to use the numbered straps. It also boasts of its impressive heat exchange and shock-absorption ability, thanks to the highly breathable liner used in the padding.

What You Should Be Considering Before Getting a Pair of Knee Braces?

There are important points to consider when choosing the right type of knee brace. We’ve listed them down below:

#1 TYPES

The first important factor to consider before getting a knee brace is the type. There are four main types of knee brace namely the sleeves, supports, stabilizers and hinged. 

The knee sleeve is the most basic one of all types. You can easily slip it over your knee. Its purpose is to compress the knee to control or prevent it from swelling or pain. Knee sleeves come in different sizes and can seamlessly fit under clothing.

Knee supports come in different sub-categories such as Wraparound or Dual-Wrap Braces. It provides more support than sleeves, so it’s best used by players who are experiencing mild to moderate knee pain to prevent them from acquiring a major injury. These braces are easy to attach and can also fit under clothing.

Knee stabilizers are made to support a player experiencing knee pains. It also helps to prevent and stabilize an athlete who is suffering from Runner’s Knee or Jumper’s Knee, Osgood-Schlatter Disease, or Patella Tracking. It minimizes knee pain by compressing on your Patellar Tendon.

If you decide to get the knee stabilizers, then you should know that it has steel springs on the two sides of the knees. Such springs provide advanced support to your knees. You can also get knee support, which is adjustable. In most cases, it is something that you can wrap around your knee.

Lastly, there is the hinged knee brace. As the name suggests, it has hinges that are useful in letting your knee move in a specific way, preferably a way that is truly close to the natural movement of your knees, thereby offering adequate and advanced support. It’s best used by athletes who need a higher level of protection and those who are recovering post-surgery.

Choose from the mentioned types depending on which one you think can give you the protection and support your knee requires.

#2 STYLE

Apart from the different types of knee braces, it is also necessary to take into full consideration the basic styles used in making knee braces for football. One of your options is the slip-on brace, which you can actually use by sliding it onto your knee. You can do that by putting your foot through the opening of the brace then pulling it up.

Take note that the slip-on knee brace is typically sized. This is mainly because proper support can only be expected if you get the perfect fit. Another style that you can choose is the wrap-around knee brace. This style requires you to place the knee brace either behind or in front of your knee. There are Velcro straps to adjust the knee brace.

#3 SIZE

Another thing you have to keep in mind is the specific size of your knee brace. 

Each brace will give you an idea about the necessary measurements designed for the right fit. This is because some braces also require measurements not only around the knees but also on the thigh and calf.

With that in mind, you need to check the sizing chart provided by your chosen knee brace manufacturing brand. That way, you will be able to know the right size for you.

#4 LEVEL OF PROTECTION

You may also want to consider the level of protection and support you wish to attain from the knee brace while shopping for the perfect knee brace for you. The level of protection offered by knee braces usually ranges from 1 to 3+. The level 1 knee brace offers the least level of support.

However, many footballers consider using it because it is flexible. This is the perfect option for anyone that wants to obtain moderate support while staying fully active. Level 2 knee braces, on the other hand, are more supportive and protective than level 1 but they are not as flexible as level 1.

Despite that, you can still expect it to let you move without causing much limitations. The best examples of knee braces falling under this level are knee straps and wraparound braces. Level 2 knee braces are also capable of giving you mild to moderate support. A knee brace that will limit your movement is not a good one for you as a footballer because you must be able to move freely on the field.

The level 3 knee brace provides the highest level of support. However, it is also known to be heavier and has the tendency of limiting your movements. It would be best for you to make your choice depending on the specific level of protection and support you wish to receive from the knee brace, especially once you are already on the football field.

#5 THE TIGHTNESS OF THE BRACE

You have to check the tightness of the brace before you purchase it as this is also effective while playing. Your goal is to find a knee brace that will offer you a bit of compression or some feeling of tightness on your knee. Make sure that it feels comfortable while providing the level of support needed based on your unique requirements.

However, make sure that the brace is not too uncomfortably tight so you will not lose circulation. In this case, it would be best for you to keep the straps of the knee brace loose or pick a larger knee brace. If you want a knee brace that feels rigid while providing more support, then go for a rigid knee brace.

However, if you wish to have just enough support while still having more movements, then compression sleeves are your ideal choice. If possible, utilize the size chart provided by your knee brace manufacturer or brand as a means of determining the level of flexibility that you need to choose for the brace.

Best Football Knee Brace Frequently Asked Questions

This is not much of a debatable question, but yes, knee braces prevent injuries in football. The knee brace worn by most football players during the game is expected to prevent the development of new injuries. It also works in minimizing the rate at which your knee ligament is vulnerable to injury.[2]

We all know that the knee is a complicated and sensitive joint. This makes it vulnerable to ligament tears, damage to the cartilage, strains, sprains, and arthritis. By wearing the proper support, like the knee brace, you can prevent these injuries from happening.

It is quite essential to wear a knee brace as a professional NFL football team player. Although it is not a must and you will not be penalized if you do not wear a knee brace, but it is advisable that you wear it to protect your knee against hard knocks that may lead to injury. [3]

If you are just recovering from a knee injury or you are fully recovered, it is advisable that you wear a knee brace to protect your knee at least for a couple of games. This will further strengthen your knee energy and get you used to the hard part of the game.

The kind of knee brace that you should wear depends on the level of protection that you wish to attain while you are already on the field. It also depends on your specific position.

If you are prone to get hit accidentally by other players, particularly on your knees then go for a knee brace, which can really offer your knees the highest level of support and protection. The buying guide section of this article touches some of the common types and styles of knee braces for football that will serve as your guide in picking the most appropriate one for your knee.

The steps involved in wearing a football knee brace depends on the specific type and style you choose to buy. Wearing a football brace basically involves putting on the brace and fastening the straps. Then, you slide two of your fingers beneath the strap to gauge its tightness.

In case you can’t fit two of your fingers beneath the strap, then it indicates that it is too tight. Therefore, you should slightly loosen the strap. Insert your two fingers again. If they easily slide beneath the strap try fitting one more finger. If you can fit such a third finger effortlessly then there is a possibility that you have loosened the strap too much. In this case, tighten it slightly and do the test again. Continue testing until you figured out the perfect fit for you.

Shock Doctor Maximum Support Compression Knee Brace

Our #1 Best Knee Brace for Football

  • Prevents knee injuries
  • Offers utmost comfort to users
  • Premium stitching and adequate patella support guaranteed
  • Moisture-wicking and well-ventilated
  • Flexible as it works for football players and those recovering from an injury

Want to reduce your chance of injuries? Check out out top recommendation on knee pads

Resources:

  1. Best Knee Supports for Football. Retrieved from https://www.healthandcare.co.uk/blog/best-knee-supports-for-football.html
  2. Do Knee Braces Prevent Knee Injuries. Retrieved from https://blog.muellersportsmed.com/do-knee-braces-prevent-knee-injuries
  3. Can I wear Knee Support during a Football Match or am I breaking the rules? Retrieved from https://www.firstaid4sport.co.uk/blog/can-i-wear-a-knee-support-during-a-football-match-or-am-i-breaking-the-rules/
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