Carewell's Best Knee Braces + What to Consider When Buying a Knee Brace and How to Care For One

Chad Birt

Written by Chad Birt on Fri Nov 17 2023.

Person holding knee.

Knee pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal problems, affecting about one in four people. Most cases of knee pain are mild and improve with ice and rest. But if you lead an active lifestyle or have an underlying medical condition, like osteoarthritis, a knee brace can help you feel your best. 

Knee braces come in various forms and are designed for specific purposes. So, it’s important to do your research before ordering. To make the process easier, we’ve created this guide, featuring insights from fellowship-trained, board-certified orthopedic sports medicine surgeon, John-Paul Rue, MD. Dr. Rue is based in Maryland and sees patients at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore and Mercy Personal Physicians in Glen Burnie.

What To Consider When Choosing a Knee Brace

Dr. Rue says there are several things you should consider when looking for a knee brace, including:

The injury or condition it’s designed for

“Generally speaking, you want to select the type of brace you need for your specific condition or injury. So, if you have a torn ligament, such as an ACL tear, you will need a specific ACL functional brace,” explains Dr. Rue. “If you have osteoarthritis you will need a specific osteoarthritis brace which may be able to off-load or shift the forces from the painful part of your knee to another part of the knee.” 

Fit and comfort

Even if a knee brace supports your injury or condition, it’s crucial to remember that fit and comfort are key. Since you need to wear the brace daily settling for one that irritates your skin or affects your movement isn’t an option. 

“Your brace should allow you to move comfortably with it on, while still providing the support and protection it’s designed for,” Dr. Rue says. 


Knee braces are made of materials like plastic, metal, elastic, and foam. Some braces also have neoprene, a type of synthetic rubber. This can irritate your skin if you’re allergic to latex or have other skin allergies. You may want to try out several different knee braces as a result. 

What Medical Conditions Can Benefit From a Knee Brace?

Dr. Rue says there are a wide variety of injuries and conditions that can benefit from a knee brace, including:

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Patellar tendinitis

  • Patellofemoral pain syndrome

  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) sprains and tears

  • Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) sprains and tears

  • Medial collateral ligament (MCL) sprains and tears

  • Lateral collateral ligament (LCL) sprains and tears

Wearing a knee brace provides pain relief and stability, so you can protect your knee joint following an injury or surgery.

Carewell’s Best Knee Braces

At Carewell, we stock a wide variety of knee braces. The list below features some of our best-sellers. We’ve also included real customer feedback with the heading “Hear it From a Caregiver”.

1) Pro-Care Pull On Knee Support, Left or Right Knee

This knee brace from Pro-Care is our number one seller. It’s made for durability and comfort and comes in seven sizes –– XS to 3XL. The patella opening provides breathability and the extra fabric provides compressive support and localized heat retention.

Consider this knee brace if you have knee pain caused by mild bursitis or tendinitis.

2) 3M ACE Elasto-Preene Knee Support Brace

This knee brace from 3M is made from an innovative elastic and neoprene blend. It offers increased comfort, support, and stability and retains heat around the knee joint to reduce inflammation. The reinforced edges keep the brace from rolling or slipping, so you can wear it underneath jeans or slacks.

Consider this brace if you experience knee pain when walking or standing. It’s designed to provide additional joint support so you can get on with your day. 

Hear it from a caregiver

“[It’s] perfect. I love this knee sleeve!

- Suzanne L. 

3M ACE Elasto-Preene Knee Support Brace, 207527, Small/Medium (11-15") - 1 Each
3M ACE Elasto-Preene Knee Support Brace

Price: $17.99 - $21.93

3) McKesson Knee Immobilizer

This brace is designed to immobilize the knee joint after an injury or surgery. It has a rigid I-beam that prevents the wearer’s knee from bending and wraparound foam-laminate fabric that provides enhanced compressive support.

The brace is one-size-fits-all and is suitable for anyone with a thigh circumference of up to 29 inches. 

Key Benefits & Features

  • Constructed of soft, breathable foam that allows the skin to breathe

  • Hand washable

  • Goes on the left or right knee

Consider this knee brace if you’re recovering from knee replacement surgery or a sports injury, like an ACL or MCL sprain or tear. This brace can also be used to prevent muscle spasms and other involuntary knee movements.

Hear it from a caregiver

“[This is] just what I was looking for for my husband. It really helps with his spastic legs.”

- Cindy S. 

McKesson Knee Immobilizer, 155-79-96019, 20" - 1 Each
McKesson Knee Immobilizer

Price: $26.57 - $27.48

4) Mueller Knee Support Brace

This knee brace manufactured by Mueller is made of a flexible neoprene blend that facilitates compression and warmth. It has a four-way external adjustment system to ensure a perfect fit, and thin straps to prevent the brace from bunching up or sliding down your knee.

Consider this knee brace if you have weak, injured, or arthritic knees. It’s one-size-fits-all and can be used on the left or right knee.

Hear it from a caregiver

“I’m very happy with my order. [The brace is] great quality. I’ll be using Carewell for all of my medical products. Thank you!”

– Christine R. 

Mueller Knee Support Brace, 57227, 1 Each
Mueller Knee Support Brace

Price: $13.59

5) McKesson Hinged Knee Brace

This knee brace from McKesson has bilateral hinges, making it ideal for treating:

  • MCL/LCL sprains and tears

  • Knee osteoarthritis

  • Knee instability

  • Recovery after knee surgery

The wrap-around design and dual-axis polycentric hinges provide better support than traditional slip-on knee sleeves. The brace is also waterproof, so it can be worn in the bath or shower, or during aquatic therapy. 

These knee braces come in five sizes, from XS to 2XL.

Hear it from a caregiver

“[This knee brace is] great. I’m very pleased!”

- Gwen I.

McKesson Hinged Knee Brace, 155-81-82398, XL (23-25.5") - 1 Each
McKesson Hinged Knee Brace

Price: $42.73 - $51.95

6) Comfortland Hinged Knee Brace

This Comfortland knee brace has an adjustable range of motion (ROM) hinge and front velcro closures for easy application. It’s one-size-fits-all and made of comfortable, breathable materials. The elastic straps and velcro closures can be adjusted, ensuring a perfect fit.

Consider this knee brace if you have knee pain due to chronic knee instability, sprains, strains, or sports injuries. It’s also a good option if you’re recovering from knee surgery.

Comfortland Hinged Knee Brace
Comfortland Hinged Knee Brace

Price: $85.99

Tips For Wearing a New Knee Brace

Getting used to a knee brace takes time and effort. “Since knee braces are worn close to and often directly on the skin, it’s’ important to make sure you allow time to “break in” a new brace,” explains Dr. Rue. “This means wearing it on a schedule and allowing time for your knee and the skin around your knee to get used to the brace. Watch for signs of skin breakdown and adjust the brace itself or the position of the brace as needed.”

How To Keep Your Knee Brace In Optimal Condition

Since your knee brace comes into direct contact with your skin, it’s important to keep it clean. If you don’t wash it regularly or give your knee time to breathe from time to time, the brace might develop an odor or cause a rash.

“Keep your knee brace clean,” Dr. Rue says. “Each knee brace has its own set of instructions for this depending on the material it’s made of.” 

Best Knee Brace - Commonly Asked Questions

1) Which brand of knee brace is best?

No. Dr. Rue says that there are many excellent brands of knee braces out there. But, just like anything else, some physicians prefer certain brands over others. If you’re struggling to choose a knee brace on your own, talk with your doctor or orthopedic surgeon. They can make recommendations that align with your needs. 

2) How can I get the most out of my knee brace?

To get the most out of your knee brace, you need to commit to wearing it.

“Just like seat belts in a car, a knee brace can only work if you wear it, so pay close attention to the fit and feel of your brace,” Dr. Rue says. “If you won’t wear it, it won’t do its job.”

3) Will a knee brace cure my underlying knee problem?

Knee braces can relieve chronic knee pain, but they aren’t a substitute for treatments like surgery and physical therapy.

“While knee braces can provide additional support, stability, and protection, they can’t totally correct all conditions,” Dr. Rue notes. “It’s important to think of a knee brace as additional support and not a substitute for an intact or stable knee.”

Have Knee Brace Questions? We’re Here to Help!

Choosing a knee brace is a big decision. If you still have questions after reading this article, get in touch! Our friendly Care Specialists regularly answer questions about knee braces and other assistive medical devices. To get started, call (800) 696-CARE or send an email to We’re here to help!

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Chad Birt
Chad Birt

Chad Birt is a freelance medical writer who resides in Astoria, Oregon. When he isn't behind a keyboard, you can find him hiking, camping, or birdwatching with his wife Ella and their two dogs, Diane and Thoreau.