The knee is one of the largest joints in the body and we shouldn’t take them for granted because, without them, we wouldn’t be able to do much at all. We wouldn’t be able to walk, run, sit or take part in our favourite sports. Even standing up to grab your favourite snack from the fridge would soon become a difficult task.
It is with this in mind that we should do our best to ensure we take care of them.
This means protecting them when necessary, as well as providing adequate support to help them recover if they become injured.
One way to meet these needs is through stabilizing them with a hinged knee brace.
Do You Need a Hinged Knee Brace?
There are many types of knee braces and supports, with each providing its own attributes and qualities:
- Knee Sleeves – are slipped over the knee and generally provide the lowest level of support.
- Knee Supports – often wrap around the knee and will have some form of adjustment.
- Hinged Knee braces – are knee supports with hinges on either side of the knee to stabilize the knee in its natural flow of motion.
You’ll want to consider a hinged knee brace if you want a little more support than a knee compression sleeve or wrap. With a greater level of support, a hinged knee brace will better help to reduce knee pain, ensure greater stability whilst at the same time protecting against injury.
Furthermore, a hinged knee brace has the added advantage of being able to prevent your knee from hyperextending (extending beyond straight). Some hinged knee braces will even allow you to set how much flexion you want your knee to be able to experience.
A hinged knee brace is suitable for:
- Knees that have ligament or cartilage problems
- Supporting a weak and unstable knee
- Post operation recovery
As a general rule of thumb if you want the highest amount of stability for your knee, go with a hinged knee brace over other forms of knee support.
The Best Hinged Knee Braces and Supports
Once you’ve decided that a hinged knee brace is what you need, there are a number of other factors you’ll want to consider.
The more you are willing to pay the better the quality of brace you’ll receive. The braces that cost more are usually the more reliable and stable. If you are serious about protecting your knee then it is worth spending a bit more to protect such a valuable asset as your knee.
Knee braces are particularly prone to being uncomfortable given that they need to be tight enough to provide good support for your knee.
Sometimes too much tightness can cause it to get very hot and sweaty under the brace. It’s important to choose a brace that uses a breathable material to offer some ventilation.
Easy to Put On
Knee braces that come with an adjustable strap are quick to put on since they have straps that can wrap around the knees. There are some hinged knee braces that come in the form of sleeves that you put over your foot and slide up your shins and over your knees.
If you buy a knee brace like this, be aware that it will take longer and often times prove to be more of a struggle to put on than ones that wrap around the knee.
Open or Closed Patella
Knee braces will have either open or closed patella support. A hinged knee brace with an open patella allow for the kneecap to be free of pressure, whilst one with a closed support will put pressure on the patella.
Getting the right size brace for your knee is imperative to ensure the best support and comfortability. Unfortunately, this can also be the most frustrating area when purchasing a knee brace.
Different manufacturers have different sizes available as well as their own unique way of measuring what size you need. Pay attention to their instructions and do not expect the rules of measurement to be the same across manufacturers.
The Best Hinged Knee Braces and Supports
Now that you know what to look for when choosing the best knee hinged knee brace, you can begin to start browsing the options. Below is the best and most popular hinged knee braces around.
1. Hinged Knee Brace by Vive
- ALUMINUM SUPPORT HINGES FOR LATERAL STABILITY:...
- INJURY SUPPORT: Compression material provides...
- BREATHABLE MATERIAL FOR COMFORTABLE ALL DAY WEAR:...
- Affordable and reasonably priced
- Hinges can be removed or added according to support levels needed
- No hassle to measure as one size fits all
- 60-day guarantee
- Metal hinges can poke through stitching after time
- The ‘one size fits all’ may not result in the perfect fit
This hinged knee brace has a good balance between price and quality, making it a good value buy. It’s sturdy and should provide adequate support for ligaments and overall stability in the knee making it good at assisting recovery. People with ACL, MCL and patella support will find this knee brace helpful.
It is made of Neoprene, making it good for exercise and every day as this type of fabric is light and breathable. In addition, the hinges can be removed and added to get the amount of support that is right for you.
Some users on Amazon have pointed out that because this brace is a one size fits all, that you may not get as good a fit as if you bought a knee brace that is specific to size.
If you aren’t looking for ‘serious’ knee support and want a standard level brace to wear every day, then this is a viable option
2. Shock Doctor Ultra Knee Supporter with Bilateral Hinges
- To choose the correct size, measure the...
- Soft tissue support, joint alignment, therapeutic...
- BEST FOR supporting moderate to major ligament...
- A lot of sizes available meaning you should get a good fit
- Prevents hyperextension
- Very sturdy
- Easy to order a size that doesn’t fit
- The material isn’t overly breathable and can get hot after a while
The Shock Doctor Ultra Knee Supporter is a great hinged knee brace that will provide support and recovery from ACL, PCL, patella and meniscus injuries. It is also helpful in supporting all other knee problems that cause stability issues. It is also designed to prevent your knee from hyperextending should your knee need protection from moving in this compromised position.
It is a very sturdy brace and your knee will be very well supported in this brace.
The biggest issue with the Shock Doctor is that it’s easy to order a size that feels uncomfortable. It comes in small, medium, large, x-large, xx-large and xxx-large. If you order the wrong size the brace is pretty unforgiving and you will notice quickly that you ordered the wrong size even if you felt you measured your knee correctly.
If you manage to order the right size and get a snug fit, then the Shock Doctor is a very good brace.
3. McDavid 422 Knee Brace with Dual Disk Hinges
- No Gears; each sidearm is independently...
- McDavid's lightest hinge: Made with wider arms to...
- Latex-Free neoprene provides compression and...
- Provides lots of support
- Good quality brace
- Patella support via padded buttress
- Prevents hyperextension of the knee
- May not be suitable for all-day wear
- This is a sleeve brace, so may take longer to put on than a wrap around
McDavid produces a vast array of knee braces with one of their most popular models being the 422. This model is designed to provide protection against moderate to major instabilities but can also be used as a knee brace to wear post operation.
The support level of the McDavid 422 is one of the highest around given that it is made in the slip on sleeve style as well as having a top and bottom strap on the brace.
One potential downfall of the brace is that it may not be suitable to wear for a full day given that the support is so strong and tight. If you were to wear it too long you may experience numbness or find the material gets too hot. In most cases, this brace may be better as a brace to wear during exercise or for short periods, rather than one which is worn all day long.
4. DonJoy Performance Bionic Knee Brace
- Bilateral polycentric hinges with hyper extension...
- Top and bottom stretch webbing closure with TPR...
- Wrap around design offers increased comfort and...
- Comfortable and offers very good support
- Great support to wear for sports
- Has pocket for small items
- Adjustable straps
- Quick to put on
- Costs more than the other options
The Donjoy hinged knee brace is a great option for people looking for a brace to wear whilst they are active and during sports. The brace is specially made to allow the knee to extend and flex freely whilst maintaining knee stability. The adjustable straps mean that this brace is easy to put on and take off, unlike the ones you have to put your foot in then pull up to your knee.
This brace is particularly recommended for ligament damage and joint instability.
The big advantage about the Donjoy is that it is a wrap around knee brace meaning it is much easier and quicker to put on than the slip on sleeves like most of the other hinged knee braces in this post. If you don’t want to have to take off your shoes everytime you want to put on your brace then this brace is a good option.
It also provides good support despite being a wrap around knee brace.
5. Mueller HG80 Hinged Knee Brace
- Knee Brace Approximate Weight: 1.02 Lbs, 1.04 Lbs,...
- Sports Gear Features A Highly Comfortable Mueller...
- Brace Has Upper And Lower Trapping System And...
- Breathable fabric
- Great for sports and activity
- Long 1-year warranty
- Medium level of support
- Choosing the right size can be cumbersome and unclear
- People with big calves may find it tight to put on
The Mueller HG80 is one of the more popular hinged knee braces on the market. It differs from the majority of knee braces in that it is made with a closed patella should the wearer want pressure to be placed on the patella.
This brace has proven to be comfortable amongst its users as well as being quite airy, unlike many other braces which can become quite hot.
Like a lot of braces, it’s downfall is that you need to make sure you order the right size otherwise it will be an uncomfortable fit. People looking for the highest level of knee support may find that this brace is lacking and may prefer the ShockDoctor or the Mcdavid. However, the Mueller is much more ‘airy’ and comfortable.
Which is the Best Hinged Knee Brace?
Ultimately there isn’t a straight answer to this question as many have their own benefits and drawbacks, as well as people requiring them for different things (all-day-wear vs exercise).
If you are someone looking for the highest level of knee support to use during exercise, then the McDavid, Donjoy or the Shockdoctor may be the best brace for you. For a medium level of knee support during exercise, the Mueller HG80 is a good option.
The Hinged Knee Brace by Vive is likely to be the best value for money if you are looking for everyday wear. Whilst it can be used to support the knee during exercise the other options are more suitable for this however they cost a little more.
The Mueller could also work well for everyday wear as it is comfortable and the fabric appears to be more breathable than the others.