View Full Version : Knee braces

10-26-2015, 11:31
I'm looking for suggestions for knee braces for hiking. Anybody have a favorite?

After hiking on the AT this summer without any significant injury, within a few days of returning back to Louisiana while doing work on my home I ended up injuring my knee, complete ACL tear. Looks like I can get away without surgery, but I'll need support while hiking. Would like to know what others have used successfully.


10-26-2015, 12:05
Wow, sorry to hear that. You'll need to ask your ortho doc or your PT. You may need something that provides much more support than the usual hiker braces.

The neoprene sleeved which are so popular are fine but I'm sure not enough for you. The popular Cho-Pat knee brace might be enough, but maybe not. It all depends if you need to completely prevent twisting.

Good luck with the rehab.

10-26-2015, 13:05
I've used the Cho-Pat dual action knee brace on most every hike the last 4 years, for me it's better than the typical drug store neoprene knee sleeve, because the Cho-Pat is much less constrictive, allows better knee movement, and provides the needed support above and below the patella

10-26-2015, 15:14
+1 on the Cho-Pat braces. I use them now on both knees when hiking. I was able to do almost 50 miles in Shenandoah National Park, including Old Rag and some other steep descends (that's what gets me, Runner's Knee) and had no problems.

10-26-2015, 17:28
Has anyone used anything by Tommie Copper? I just got one for my husband. His knees kill him after a long descent on rocky terrain, even with trekking poles.

10-26-2015, 18:47
Has anyone used anything by Tommie Copper? I just got one for my husband. His knees kill him after a long descent on rocky terrain, even with trekking poles.

I use them pretty consistently. I've used the neoprene type and don't like them as much, and the Mueller (competitor to Cho Pat) worked ok, but these knee compression sleeves are great. Not much will stop the pounding knees take on descents, but these compression sleeves do minimize their impact for me. I would absolutely recommend trying them.

10-27-2015, 11:26
I have had problems with knees since childhood. I wear Mueller Self Adjusting Knee Stabilizer (http://www.muellersportsmed.com/self-adjusting-knee-stabilizer.html). I but heavier duty than the slip-on sleeves but short of a hinged brace. Works well but is hot to wear sometimes. Inexpensive too.

Pedaling Fool
10-27-2015, 11:39
Tears to connective tissues are very serious injuries and can take long periods to rehabilitate, especially if you over-do-it during the rehabilitation process (I know this well from experience).

I'm generally very much against braces of any sort and I've never used one, despite knowing they take away some pain, especially in my knee injury. However, I'm not a purist against braces and know there can be a place for them; however, just be aware of them and don't become too dependent.

I can see the prudence in getting a brace for hiking in order to prevent further injury to your ACL, but I would caution you to have a plan to work you way off the brace.

Furthermore, I would workout with weights (or start with just body weight) as a rehab method, going very light without the brace and working your way back up to a healthy knee.

There are arguments for and against braces and pretty well covered here http://www.jointrehab.com/knee_braces.htm


From every athlete to very few, why braces are no longer worn.

"George Anderson is a legendary name among National Football League trainers. From 1960‑1994 he served as head and some times only trainer for the Oakland Raiders. During the 1970ís the Raiders were a perennial football power and Anderson was responsible for keeping some of the gameís best players on the field. This included the Raiderís quarterback Ken Stabler, a numerous time all‑star, Super Bowl Winner and one of the gameís top athletes.

When your star athlete suffers an injury, such as Stablerís medial collateral ligament injury, a teamís medical staff will get somewhat creative to keep the player on the field. In this case, Anderson designed a special knee brace that would help prevent future injury to Stablerís MCL. Later this brace would be commercially marketed as the Anderson Knee Stabilizer.

When Anderson published his favorable review of his knee brace (1) football trainers in the high school, collegiate, and professional ranks hailed it not only as a means to get MCL (and ACL) injured players back on the field, but that it could also be used as a prophylactic knee brace. Soon, whoever could afford to outfit their team, or their best players or themselves with the brace did.

But just as quickly as the brace was embraced, research into knee bracing effectiveness for knee injuries began to appear which not only questioned whether knee bracing was effective but also suggested that they not only did not prevent injury, they may increase risk and reduce the athleteís motion and movement and hence performance. (2‑4)"


In practice, the clinician and the patient should meet together to discuss all the pros and cons of the brace in their unique situation. In our practice we stress the following points on the patient when they request a prescription or recommendation for a brace understanding that we very rarely recommend the use of braces.

First, that the brace must never be thought of as a replacement for a medical treatment.

Second, that the patient must not be allowed to feel a sense of security that the brace will allow them, by itself, to return to a normal active life style.

Third, that perhaps with the exception of the Unloader/Osteoarthritis Brace, and only in certain situations, should a brace ever be used for any extended length of time.

Fourth, in our opinion, rehabilitation for medically treated knees must allow for increased movement and circulation to the knee, two important factors that maybe curtailed with improperly fitted or extended wear of a brace.

Pedaling Fool
10-27-2015, 11:51
Has anyone used anything by Tommie Copper? I just got one for my husband. His knees kill him after a long descent on rocky terrain, even with trekking poles.
I've never used them, but I've seen the commercials. I'm skeptical. My only fix for sore knees is lifting weights, both heavy weight and light weight w/ high reps. I've relearned this lesson over the years, most recently I stopped lower-body weight training because I didn't want it to interfere with my running, but my bad knee (childhood injury) came back to haunt me in a big way. So I had to lay off the running a little (just now getting back into it) and hit the weights.

Braces may look cool, but I really believe they are detrimental to true health of the musculoskeletal system. Pretty good article on that http://breakingmuscle.com/strength-conditioning/why-its-time-to-break-up-with-your-knee-sleeves

10-27-2015, 22:47
Thanks for all the good feedback. Just what I was looking for!

I've been fortunate in that the complete ACL tear was the only injury (well, a bruised tibia where bones collided). All else is intact, and various medical people (family practice, ortho, PT) were quite surprised that I had an ACL tear, much less a complete tear. There seems to only be a slight difference between my injured and uninjured knee in terms of stability. Maybe the summer section hiking on the AT helped. I also have never used trekking poles (don't like them), so maybe that too made a difference in the strength I've developed in my knees.

I've been doing strengthening and stretching exercises and after 5 weeks I'm very nearly back to normal, rarely using a brace. The medical people gave me a hinged brace, but it's the pull on kind and not too practical when you need to get it off in a hurry, esp. if you're sweaty (I actually had to cut it down the middle to get it off). I'm not so sure they really relate to hiking/backpacking requirements, but I figured someone on WhiteBlaze probably had the experience I was looking for and could offer advise.

My main concern is sudden sideways twisting, and my PT pointed out I also don't want to hyperextend my knee. I'm looking at this kind of like foot orthotics and good boots. I'll need the extra support a good brace will provide from time to time. I'll probably have to start using trekking poles too.

Thanks for all these suggestions. I'm going to look into them.