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Buying Guide: How to choose the best knee sleeves & braces for rugby? List 2024 (UK)

Rugby is a sport where there are two teams that try to carry an oval ball towards the goal line of the opposite team or try to pass it through the goal. For the activity, hands and feet are used, so the use of knee compression sleeves is of utmost importance to avoid injuries or blows.

With the following information you will be able to understand what are the benefits of wearing this garment, what characteristics it has so you can buy the one that best suits your needs and even, what are the types and how to choose the right size.

What are the most common knee injuries when playing rugby?

Rugby, being a contact sport, injuries are often more frequent as it requires the performance and endurance of football combined with fighting. Although it leads to many soft-tissue overuse accidents, the most common are caused by coalition with other players or on the ground, i.e. traumatic injuries such as fractures, etc.

Of course, the chances of suffering them increase with age, since for rugby there is no stipulated life span to enjoy the sport. Also, the level of competitiveness that the physical size, speed and aggressiveness of the game implies.

These are the most common injuries to the knees during the practice of rugby:

Patellar tendonitis

The patellar tendon is one of the main injuries in the knee due to the overload that usually occurs by repetitive movements that irritate the area. In this case, patellar tendinitis is an injury to this tendon, as it connects the kneecap to the tibia. In this way, and taking into account the explanation, we understand that the pain comes from the front of the knee, below the kneecap.

This injury occurs very frequently in rugby because of the constant use of the knee, as it must be moved around the whole pitch with jumps, changes of direction, running and in a sudden and fast way, producing a patellar tendinitis.

Dislocation of the patella

The patella is a bone that is located in front of the knee, it is covered with cartilage, tendon and the patellar ligament. The dislocation of this bone occurs when it moves or "slips" out of place and immediately loses stability. You will not be able to bend your knee and the pain will be very deep.

In rugby, it is very normal for these injuries to occur, because it is a sport with a lot of contact with throws, blows and sudden movements that cause dislocation of the patella, either to a lesser or greater extent. The first thing that must be done to treat this dislocation is to immobilise the joint with a knee brace and be treated with physiotherapy to indicate the correct use of the garment and the length of time it should be worn.

Broken meniscus

In the knees we have the menisci known as fibrocartilages which are the external ring shaped and the internal C shaped. They are located between the tibia and femur bone. The menisci are cartilages and these are torn or displaced.

The breakage of this bone causes not only pain, but also swelling and stiffness. At the same time, you can feel a blockage in the movement of the knee that makes it impossible to extend it, making it much more difficult to practice any sport.

This breakage can be caused by a direct blow behind the kneecap, sharp turns, falls or accidents. All these descriptions completely define rugby, as it is a very rough sport and prone to all these injuries that could turn into a broken meniscus.

Anterior cruciate ligament injuries

It is a sprain or tear of this ligament which is one of the main ones in the knee. As in rugby, this type of injury becomes common with sudden changes of direction, sudden stops and/or jumping and falling on your feet. One way of noticing possible trauma is because people hear a cracking or popping sound in that joint at the time of the accident.

The joint may not be able to bear weight and may become inflamed. This type of injury, although common, may involve surgery to replace the ligament, reducing the chances of being able to continue playing rugby as the player's performance will not be the same.

Internal lateral ligament

In this ligament, unlike the cruciate ligament, it is outside the joint, that is, it connects the upper part of the tibia with the lower part of the femur, making resistance so that the knee does not deviate inwards.

This is also known as a sprain of the internal lateral ligament, due to the fact that it is mostly due to a stretching of the ligament with small tears, and is caused by an external force that deflects the knee inwards, which can be caused by a blow. This injury is very frequent among rugby players, due to the impacts that they have body to body that cause the total or partial distension of the ligament, motivated by the excessive extension of it.


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What type of knee braces and patellar straps are best for rugby injuries?

These garments have been the subject of study for many years, showing positive aspects not only in the practice of sport, but also in the care and protection of anyone's knees. A bad movement or an overload of it, can generate negative effects in our routine of life and harming even more the rugby sportsmen, because the knee is fundamental for its execution.

Therefore, to avoid and improve the injuries that are so common in this contact discipline, we will recommend the best knee braces and compression straps.

Knee compression sleeves

This type of knee brace is used for pain relief, muscle stiffness and recovery from injuries. It is created to protect the leg from pulling or sudden stretching, in this case, it works excellently, especially for use during rugby, as this compression garment, increases its effectiveness through movement. Its design allows it to create support in the joints and at the same time, when in movement, it massages the soft parts through it, reducing swelling and pain.

Patellar tendon brace

The patellar tendon brace is comfortable and flexible, relieves pain, fatigue and tension on the kneecap by providing adequate protection of the knee, making the practice of rugby after injury a fun and painless sport. Likewise, this garment for the patellar tendon, holds the kneecap in place, reducing, of course, pain, damping the vibrations generated by the movement and distributing the pressure, making the joint work in the best way.

Orthopaedic knee support

In this case, orthopaedic knee supports must avoid slipping and be rehabilitative to treat cases such as: anterior cruciate ligament or internal ligament, they are comfortable and easy to put on. This is essential for recovery, quickly improving any trauma and in the most optimal way, due to the elastic material that makes them adaptable, comfortable and breathable, bringing heat to the area and making the restoration process more enjoyable.

Patellar tendonitis strap

This tape is placed just below the kneecap, putting strong pressure on the tendon in order to release the accumulated tension from excessive rugby practice. This tape immobilizes the tendon, making recovery much faster. It is used to treat all types of injuries, especially those elite rugby players who have suffered from a problem with the kneecap or patellar tendon. Due to its common use, it allows the player to practice his favourite sport freely and without pain.

What features should you consider before choosing the best sports knee brace for rugby players?

What features should you consider before choosing the best sports knee brace for rugby players?

Different elements must be taken into account when choosing the piece, otherwise a bad decision could cause the knee brace not to fit properly and have contraindications. A rugby player must be dressed according to the rules of the sport and this includes precisely the knee braces. The following characteristics will help you to make the right purchase.

According to their function

  • Knee braces for pain relief: The above mentioned sport, is usually a game where there are falls and even blows, for this reason prevention with knee braces is the best option. When there is a fall in the middle of the practice, rest is necessary and this garment will help put pressure on the pain until the affected person feels relief. It should be noted that the piece is not intended to make the athlete look fashionable or to combine the uniform with the piece, the important thing is that there is the support that the joint needs so that it can provide this feature to the player.
  • Protective knee supports: The garment acts as a shield to prevent injuries before the sudden movements that the sportsman can make. It is not necessary to wait for an incident to occur in order to use the garments, they are precisely designed so as not to be a discomfort when playing. One part of this feature is that the garment must allow for support with its different compression points.
  • Knee braces that increase blood flow: The issue of circulation is very important, the garment compresses and exerts a constant force on the area without causing discomfort. This has positive consequences for the joint, the main benefit provided by the knee brace being that it can exercise: deflation, pain relief, rapid recovery and more.
  • Open knee braces: The main characteristic is that it leaves part of the kneecap area exposed, providing more air and can be worn for a long time. It is used for many therapeutic purposes, but during the practice of rugby it may not be highly recommended due to the exposure of the joint.
  • Closed knee braces: These cover the entire knee and therefore exert more pressure and are not as long-lasting as the open brace. Although it could be considered that they are better than the previous one to cover more areas, in reality both have their benefits and are adapted to every need.
  • Long knee sleeves: As they are long, the so-called lever arm will be better and more stable. They protect more areas than short ones. Ideally, they should be adjusted to perform their compression function because they will not be useful if they are large and slip. As you have more fabric, it is important to ensure that it is comfortable and tight in all areas (from start to finish).

Manufacturing material

Neoprene, elastane and latex are some of the materials in which the knee braces are made. Thanks to this, the pieces are breathable and elastic. Neoprene, for example, is a material widely used today for all types of compression garments, especially for knee supports. This is due to all the qualities it possesses such as: resistance, elasticity, waterproofing and it fixes very well on the body.

Not only the fabrics are essential for the proper functioning of the garment because, if you need more compression or stability, you should opt for knee braces that have other items such as: Velcro, side support, gel pack, hinges, among others. All these options and more offer you these compressive pieces so that you can prevent and improve your health.

Type of support

If it's for exercise or training, it's perfect to use only the garment with its respective material but, if you're going to make more mobility and physical contact, as is the case with rugby, it's best to ensure that the knee brace always stays in place.

Therefore, here are some options that could help you to give more compression and support to the knee brace:

  • Neoprene knee braces: This is also known as polychloroprene and is a material that has stability and flexibility at the same time. It has a great fixing capacity, that is to say, it does not move easily, which is necessary for those who practice rugby.
  • Knee braces with Velcro straps: It is a method known in the world for many years but widely used today. It is a material that allows you to open and close something easily. When practising rugby, this type of methodology is very practical so that the player can use the garment quickly, adjust it and be confident that it will not slip on his skin.
  • Knee braces with straps: They are not implemented in all designs, but some knee braces bring them to exert more pressure and support. When practising this sport it is necessary to keep the area covered and protected because bumps and falls are common and the straps will give resistance to the legs to avoid further injury.


Size is a major factor when making a purchase because depending on this, the garment will or will not work. It should be noted that there are unique or universal sizes but, these models will not ensure that they perform the same function as, with the right size of your knee. To choose more accurately, the contour of the knee should be measured with a tape measure.

Size Chart Knee Compression Sleeve

CM 28-34 35-41 42-47 48-55
IN 11-13 13.5-16 16.5-18.5 19-21.5
Measure the circumference of the thigh, 4 inch/10 cm up from the center of the kneecap (*View image)
*Note: If after measuring you are between two sizes, choose the larger size


It is worth noting that one of the great virtues of the sports knee supports is their design, which can be adapted to any person, regardless of sex, weight or size, and which is available to anyone who needs it.

Of course, each individual has different tastes and the knee brace also adapts to them by offering a variety of models and colours. Regarding the shades, they have a range of options and fusions among them, which stand out: black, white and beige combined with: green, red, blue and others. In general, they have figures or lines between them to make a unique and pleasant model to the eye; which, is very important because, if its use is daily, you must like what you see.


To play rugby, you must have the best products to ensure the health of the knee, which is always exposed due to this sport. In the market you can get any kind of compressive garment and, believing that you are saving money by making a much cheaper purchase, it is really the opposite.

These low-cost products discredit the potential of knee braces, since they do not exert the proper compression, are usually uncomfortable because of their manufacture, non-breathable materials and do not protect the joint. Therefore, if you wish to have these types of products as an accessory, you can purchase those in these amounts.

However, if you want real protection, with fastenings, materials that absorb moisture and also provide therapeutic compression, without limiting the mobility of your joint, the best option is the knee compression sleeves.

Do compression knee braces for rugby really work?

Do compression knee braces for rugby really work?

Rugby sport knee braces work and have multiple benefits that will even help the activity to develop in a more agile way, without worrying about ending up with injuries and with the security that every player needs.

The compression that the garment exerts, goes far beyond an external protection, which are due to their materials. They also perform a compressive therapy, which help improve blood circulation, achieving the deflation, pain relief, rapid recovery and more.

In addition, the sports knee braces generate an adequate stability that causes the joint to rest or to do as little work as possible, thus achieving, always having healthy knees in optimal conditions to play rugby. Nowadays, they have become a fundamental part of the lives of sportsmen and women, as they can always continue their training and matches without the difficulty of pain or injury.

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