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Which is better for me? Knee Brace vs Knee Compression Sleeve

Although the existence of knee braces that seek to maintain the health of this joint in good condition is well known, not all of us are capable of making the difference between an orthopaedic and a compression brace, which, by the way, present many divergences.

So below we will be detailing useful and valuable information about the use of these compression garments, we will answer the question about what are the differences between orthopedic knee support and compression knee sleeves, their respective uses, and indicate which of each is the most suitable for people according to their needs.

What are the differences between knee supports and knee compression sleeves?

What are the differences between knee supports and knee compression sleeves?

In the common and daily dialogue between people, it is common that every time some topic about sports and/or physiotherapeutic health that involves the knees arises, when the point of the knee braces is reached as pieces to solve possible problems in this area, a clear distinction is not made between what the orthopaedic and compression braces are; so that, one ends up using both terms indistinctly. This is something very common and, therefore, whoever has committed such an act should not feel bad, it happens by simple economy of mind.

However, so that we are all able to differentiate between the two, we will explain briefly and concisely what each one is about:

  • Knee compression sleeves: This type of knee brace is made of pieces that are easily placed by sliding them down the calf until they are placed on the joint. They work as compressors and also as support to prevent injuries and to improve blood flow through this way. Knee compression sleeves also come in models and designs that are somewhat more discreet than orthopaedic ones, so that they are comfortable for the person exercising and at the same time can be worn under clothing.
  • Knee supports: On the other hand, the orthopaedic ones what they do is that they fulfill the function of immobilizers and of rehabilitators of the movement of the knees, reason why, they are prescribed by the doctors to improve and to strengthen the process of recovery for the cases of injuries of major severity in the knees. Unlike the previous ones, these are more showy, some have hinges, to give greater mechanical support, stability and protection.


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What are the benefits of wearing a compression knee brace?

The use of knee braces is of great importance in different cases, some more relevant than others, of which we can highlight: people who are sportsmen or who carry out some physical activity frequently that requires the use of this joint, older people, children who have been injured, overweight or obese individuals.

Regardless of the case, they are very useful implements that work well either to prevent or to help improve mild or very serious injuries. The central idea of the knee supports and their use is that they work in conjunction with the naturally innate structure of the knees, as well as with their biological anatomy, so that pain in this area of the body can be reduced, and at the same time provide an extra source of stability without damaging the joint.

Below is a list of the main benefits of using knee braces:

  • They provide the knee with support in cases of illness or when the person is recovering from a major injury and requires partial immobilisation of the area.
  • They serve as compressors that squeeze the knees in each of their parts, which facilitates and speeds up the recovery process.
  • They help prevent injuries and unwanted pain.
  • They provide the necessary stability to the ligaments.
  • They prevent from suffering from arthritis or osteoarthritis of the knee.
  • They also work on preventing the appearance of joint effusions, whether new or already recurrent.
  • It protects very well the condition of the menisci.
  • They can be used by people of all ages, including children.
  • Each of the knee braces available on the market is manufactured to suit your knee needs.
  • You can get the design that you like best or that best suits your tastes.
  • They provide warmth to the knees, an indispensable aspect for people who practice sports.
  • They are comfortable to wear, lightweight and allow the knees to sweat naturally.
  • They act by stimulating and facilitating blood flow,
  • They do not intervene negatively in the natural movement of the knee, unless they are orthopaedic knee supports that necessarily have to do the same.
  • They reduce and prevent the knee from suffering from muscular stress.
  • They also work by reducing and preventing swelling.
  • The use of orthopaedic knee braces is very beneficial in the treatment of cases of tendonitis in the knee.
  • Orthopaedic garments act as shock absorbers and vibration absorbers.
  • Compression knee sleeves prevent pain and injury at the kneecap.
  • Similarly, these compression pieces act by supporting the anterior knee and the kneecap.

Comparison table between orthopaedic knee supports and compression sports knee sleeves

Now, we have seen what an orthopaedic knee support is and also what compression knee sleeves are, but certain important aspects may not yet be clear, especially those related to what their most outstanding characteristics are, the physical appearance they have and the designs that one or the other may present.

In this section we will explain in detail the specific differences between compression knee sleeves and those used for orthopaedic purposes, so that you can recognise them yourself and also know what aspects they differ from each other, so that you can give them their particular and specific uses depending on what you need.

Comparative Knee Compressión Sleeve Knee Support
Design The most common designs are those that can slide down the leg. Since they need more support and immobilization, they tend to have hinge fasteners.
There are also some on the market that have Velcro, plate or hook fasteners. Some have iron plates on the sides in order to immobilise the knee much better.
Compression knee sleeve designs are more fun, some are colourful, patterned, figured and more. Aesthetically they are not very attractive since, as they have only medical purposes, their designs are more sober.
They have a variety of colours such as: black, white, beige, metallic blue. Many times they merge the colours with: green, yellow, etc. Their colours tend to be dull, and especially black.
Characteristics They are support knee braces to avoid injuries. These are more in charge of the medical and recovery part of serious trauma.
They are mainly aimed at people who practice a sport or exercise frequently. They require a doctor's prescription so that they can be used by all types of people.
It prevents the knees from suffering minor injuries so that they do not become serious. They protect the knees from serious injury again.
The effects of the knee brace are felt during and after physical activity. The effects of the knee support are felt by the patient after he or she has fully recovered from the injury, when the knee returns to a healthy state.
Appearance The compression knee sleeve does not consist of padded parts, so that the ligaments are not compressed like the rest of the knee. They consist of a padded part that is designed to protect the anterior part of the knee and the kneecap.
At first glance they look like very simple knee pads and not at all complicated to put on. Orthopaedic knee supports have a special opening and closing system, focused on immobilizing as much as possible all parts of the joint.
Normally they are not so thick, although they do vary according to the needs of the sportsman or woman. They are usually thick enough to keep the muscles tight and well contracted, so that they naturally help the garment to keep all the elements of the knee in place.
They can be used under clothing and will not be noticed. They are very eye-catching and unlike compression knee sleeves, they are very likely to be noticed above and below the clothing.

Which knee brace is best for me according to the use I am going to make of it?

Which knee brace is best for me according to the use I am going to make of it?

Depending on different characteristics, whether it is the use we are going to give it, the material, the design or the price, we will choose one type or another of knee brace, then we will try to clear up all these doubts.

When to use knee compression sleeves?

Compression knee sleeves are the ally of anyone who exercises frequently or who practises a discipline or sport that requires the knees to work properly. These are some of the areas most prone to suffering or sustaining some kind of injury. So that the compressive garments act one step ahead of the injury, preventing it from occurring and serving as a natural and comfortable support for that joint, without becoming a hindrance or being difficult.

Therefore, it could be said that compression knee sleeves are more suitable for regular use in athletic and sporting activities. Similarly, the person may suffer some type of injury, but by wearing these knee sleeve you will be helping to ensure that the level of severity of such trauma does not become greater than it already is.

Here we leave you with a list of their main uses, so you can get a sense of whether these knee sleeves are the right ones for your situation:

  • Use the compression knee sleeves if you are a person who practices a sport of strength, weight lifting, resistance, or other that demands extra effort from the knees.
  • Take advantage of the compressive properties it has, so that you protect the health of every part of your knees internally and externally.
  • Use them especially for your warm-up sessions, as they serve to warm up your knee muscles, while promoting natural knee lubrication internally.
  • Linked to the previous point and taking advantage of the above-mentioned benefits, you can use the compression knee sleeves to prepare your muscles very well before, during and after exercise, so that you can prevent any type of injury.
  • Put them on when you go to exercise where you need to run, jump, or perform a very heavy weightlifting where the focus of stability is on your knees.
  • You should also use them when doing demanding squats.

When to use orthopaedic knee supports?

As we have been saying, orthopaedic knees support are the most suitable for those cases in which the person has suffered a serious knee injury, both minor and major. Even for those who have undergone surgery in this area and require immobilisation so that they can continue to recover.

Cases where the use of orthopaedic type knee braces is required would be mainly characterised by the condition of the knee. That is, this joint is in a much more delicate state than it could be when it is only in pain, as in the previous case, for example. It is here that a precise identification of the use to be given to the orthopaedic knee brace is made, while remembering the why and what for.

Without further ado, we leave you with an explanatory list where you can clearly see when, where, why and what for the use of these orthopaedic garments:

  • Use orthopaedic knee supports when you have gone through a knee surgery as a piece that will help you to improve your knee.
  • You can opt for the articulated knee braces that are the most frequently used in post-operative cases, especially for ACL injuries.
  • Use them also to immobilize the knee in cases of sprains of 2nd or 3rd degree.
  • Many doctors recommend their use to help the patient return to his or her usual sporting activities.
  • If you are a sports person but are constantly suffering from ACL pain, you can use this type of knee brace to avoid any pain.
  • You can also opt for them in cases where you need stability.
    • They are medically prescribed in cases of:
    • Injuries or ruptures of ligaments (ACL, PCL).
    • Partial ruptures of the ligaments.
    • Knee sprains.
    • Serious meniscus injuries.
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