When To Wear a Knee Brace for Running

Each year, about 50 percent of runners will experience a knee injury that prevents them from doing what they love, making it one of the most common complaints among recreational and professional runners. You may be wondering what can be done to prevent an injury from happening altogether and what solutions are available to ease discomfort after an injury has already occurred.

Fortunately, there is an answer and many ways to minimize or eliminate discomfort and knee pain while running. Wearing a knee brace for extra support is the best way to protect yourself from further pain or discomfort while running. Not only does a brace provide stability and compression to weak or injured knees, but it can also help you hit the ground running faster following an injury. In this article, we will discuss all that you need to know about when to wear a knee brace and why.

Benefits of Running with a Knee Brace

The benefits of running with a knee brace are an inexhaustive list. Runners of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and lifestyles can experience an immediate boost and long-term benefits from wearing a knee brace. Below are the most common reasons a knee brace is used and what is achieved.

I. Recovering from Knee Injuries

If you have recently suffered a knee injury, you want to get back to running as soon as possible without risking your knee health and overall safety. Running with a knee brace can help you recover quicker and more efficiently to achieve this very goal.

The compression provided by a knee brace helps to reduce swelling and improve circulation in the area of the injury, allowing you to heal faster than you otherwise would. Wearing a knee brace will unload weight off of your healing knee and, in some cases, limit your movement in specific areas to help protect against re-injury or further damage to the affected knee as you heal.

II. Preventing Knee Injuries

Investing in proper knee support for runners is vital for preventing future injuries from occurring. Just one serious knee injury can have lasting or lifelong effects on the knee and drastically increase the chances of reinjury in the future.

By providing extra support and stability when you run, braces can absorb some of the shock from impact during physical activity and reduce strain on your joints. This can be especially helpful for individuals whose feet roll inward — also known as overpronation — as this increases their risk of developing conditions such as runner’s knee or IT band syndrome over time.

III. Improving Performance and Stability

Did you know a well-fitted knee brace provides numerous benefits beyond helping to heal from and prevent injuries?

It may even help improve your performance when you run! Since using a knee brace for running provides increased stabilization, it can also allow you to maintain proper form while sprinting or climbing hills without feeling fatigued or sore prematurely. This is because some of the most common culprits of fatigue are poor alignment or weakened muscles around your knees.

Improved posture and balance are also crucial when striving for enhanced speed or distance, so investing in quality gear like supportive knee braces for running could make a substantial difference in performance and progression in the short and long term.

It is very beneficial to run with a knee brace. Whether for preventative, healing, or stabilizing purposes, every runner can realize benefits when using a knee brace to run professionally or recreationally.

What is the Best Knee Brace for Running?

It is difficult to say which knee brace is the best, as this varies by individual and their needs, however, an unloader knee brace is the most effective choice for most individuals and situations.

Unloader Knee Braces

If you’ve never tried an unloader knee brace, it should be at the top of your list, as they are one of the best knee braces for running. They are designed to reduce the load on the affected joint while providing relief from pain and discomfort. Unloader knee braces work effectively because they shift weight away from the affected area, allowing for greater mobility and reduced strain and overall pain.

Aside from the common use cases for unloader knee braces, there are more worth mentioning. If you have had recent surgery on your knee, this type of brace can help take pressure off the tender areas while still providing support. Unloader knee braces are also particularly beneficial for people suffering from osteoarthritis, as only one side of the knee typically is affected.

These braces are also highly effective when used as a preventative measure in individuals who run professionally or participate in the activity to improve their health. As these braces can be the solution to various problems, they are, in our opinion, the best knee brace for running as they can improve many conditions and prevent injuries.

Lateral/Medial Knee Braces

Medial/lateral knee braces provide extra stability during vigorous activities such as running and jumping due to their ability to protect against erratic movements that can lead to injury. These types of braces feature straps that fit around various parts of your leg and often come with an adjustable hinge system that allows you to customize support levels depending on your needs. This type of brace is beneficial if you’re suffering from medial or lateral instability in the knee joint caused by conditions such as IT band syndrome or patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS).

Knee Sleeves

Knee sleeves are a less bulky option than some traditional braces. They do not provide the same level of support but may provide some compression benefits when it comes to reducing inflammation in sore joints.

Knee sleeves typically slip over your leg like socks and offer a comfortable fit thanks to their lightweight design, which also helps wick away sweat during physical activity. While they won’t give you much protection against further injury as other, more robust supports do, they can offer targeted relief in certain areas, making them an option for those looking for mild forms of protection while running.

In summary, the best knee brace for runners is an unloader knee brace, as they provide the most support and protection for the knee. The next best options are medial knee braces and knee sleeves.

Who Can Benefit from Running with a Knee Brace the Most?

Several types of people can benefit from wearing a knee brace the most — professional or student-athletes, as well as competitive and recreational runners.

Professional, recreational, and student-athletes, can all benefit from using knee braces for running as a preventative measure against potential injuries. Due to their intense levels of activity, injuries are bound to occur over time without extra protection and mindfulness. Wearing this type of support allows runners to remain active without worrying about re-injury or exacerbating any existing conditions — such as tendonitis or bursitis — that can commonly occur among highly active people.

For competitive runners who want an edge over their opponents in races, using a knee brace is one way to achieve that goal. The extra support provided by a quality knee brace for running helps improve posture and balance, increasing speed and agility on the track or trail — making you more competitive than ever. It also prevents fatigue by providing additional cushioning so your legs don’t tire out prematurely mid-race, ensuring you have enough energy left in reserve for those all-important final sprints at the end.

Lastly, recreational runners should invest in a quality knee brace as well. It’s always best to prevent future injuries from occurring in the first place rather than trying to get back out there again while nursing an injured knee back to health.

Should You Wear a Knee Brace for Running?

Wearing a knee brace while running can provide numerous benefits for professional, student, competitive, and recreational athletes. It is ideal to wear a knee brace for running following an injury or for preventative purposes. From helping to reduce pain and inflammation in the knee joint to preventing further injury or providing extra stability, these supportive devices are an invaluable tool for any runner looking to increase performance, heal an injury, or protect themselves from harm down the road.

If you’re ready to find a knee brace for yourself, our team at Icarus Medical has got you covered! Our Ascender Unloader Knee Brace is designed with runners like you in mind — providing you with peace of mind and maximum protection by unloading up to 40 pounds of weight off your knees each time you hit the pavement. Don’t take any risks when it comes to your knees, you only have two of them!

Contact us at Icarus Medical today to order your custom-fit knee brace and get back to doing the activity you love most as fast as possible.

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Most braces are covered by insurance and the average cost is under $200!

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