We’ve all been there, or if you haven’t yet, it’s going to happen soon. That moment where you are with your buddies and you step up to the tee box to smash the living heck out of the ball.
However, instead of showing off that perfect swing and holding the follow-through pose for an extra second after a great shot, you’re trying to find where your ball went and not let anyone know how bad your knee is bothering you.
Using a knee brace for golf can save you pain, injury and could even lead to an improved swing. The tricky part is knowing what kind of knee brace is the best for golf.
This guide will help you to understand which kind of knee brace is best suited to you, along with reviews of the top 5 knee braces on the market for golfers
Who Should Wear a Knee Brace While Golfing?
In reality, anybody who plays golf may benefit from wearing a knee support. The main thing to consider is what kind of support or brace you need, which will depend on why you have chosen to wear one in the first place.
Some braces offer higher levels of support than others and can also be more restrictive on your knee’s movement. Higher-support braces could be required if you are rehabbing and returning from a knee injury.
Other braces are less restrictive and simply add a level of support intended to minimize the risk of future knee injuries and prevent degenerative issues, although there is an argument surrounding this.
What to Look for in a Golfing Knee Brace
You’ll find knee braces in a variety of materials, and they can vary depending on the type of brace and level of support. The majority of knee braces are made from neoprene or an elasticated fabric.
Simple knee sleeves that are designed to provide a small amount of additional support and compression will usually be made from a single material such as neoprene.
Knee braces designed to limit movement for rehabbing specific injuries tend to have additional straps, hinges, or braces. These extra parts could be made from Velcro material, plastic, or metal.
Of course, you need to choose a material that provides the right level of support you need but is also comfortable to wear for the duration of a round of golf.
Most knee braces offer some compression since it aids support and could help reduce pain symptoms. It is important to wear a brace that compresses the joint enough to provide support, but it should not be too tight.
A knee brace that compresses the joint too much will be uncomfortable and reduce circulation. Look out for signs of your brace cutting into your skin or pins and needles along your calf, as these suggest it is too tight.
Ensuring your brace gives your knee the correct level of support is critical otherwise, it won’t be doing its’ job.
You also need to consider the type of support you are looking for. For example, a ligament injury will likely need a relatively high level of support and, depending on the type of injury, the brace might need to limit rotation at the knee.
On the other hand, other issues like meniscus injuries might benefit more from compression and limiting the knee extension.
The primary consideration here is to analyze what kind of support you are looking for and find a knee brace designed to offer it.
Common Cause of Knee Pain in Golfers
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis found in the knee joint and is a chronic condition whereby the joint’s cartilage becomes worn away.
Arthritis tends to affect the older generation and can cause pain in various golf-related movements like squatting to pick up balls, climbing in and out of buggies, and swinging the club.
This is by far the most common cause of knee pain in golfers and typically presents on the inside of the knee.
Tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendons that usually occurs due to overuse or improper swing mechanics and often a combination of the two.
The golf swing puts a lot of force and stress through your knee’s ligaments. Repeated bouts of imposing high forces on a joint can inflame the tendons.
The meniscus is a disc of cartilage that acts like a shock absorber between the bones that meet at your knee joint. There are two menisci in each knee.
Meniscus injuries are pretty common in golfers and are caused by either long-term overuse, similar to tendonitis, or a sudden tear from the powerful twisting motion of a golf swing.
Symptoms of a meniscus tear can be similar to arthritis but locking, catching, or your knee giving way might indicate a meniscus tear instead of other issues.
Why a Knee Brace Is Great for Golf
Limits Knee Rotation
A golf swing is a fast, powerful movement that generates extreme force. A large proportion of the force generated is transferred into the front knee as it rotates.
Since your knee has is only capable of limited rotation, forceful rotary movements can easily cause an injury. A great way to prevent injuries from rotation is to use a brace that limits the movement.
Helps with Weight Transfer on to Your Front Knee
A proper swing relies on transferring your weight from your back leg to your front leg as you move from your backswing through your downswing.
If there is an injury or pain in one of your knees, you will likely be hesitant during the weight transfer, and your swing’s mechanics will be thrown off. Wearing a knee support that reduces pain can help maintain proper lower body weight transfer during your swing.
Provides Support on Ligaments and Muscles
One of a knee brace’s main jobs is to support the connective tissue and muscles that surround the joint. Adding extra stability that a knee brace provides can keep your joint secure and injury-free.
Why You Should Trust Us
As physical therapists, we understand the demands on the knee joint with specific sports and dynamic movements. We are movement experts and see complaints and injuries similar to this each and every day.
Through research, personal experience, knowledge of anatomy and physiology, and patients’ comments, we are able to help recommend the following knee braces.
Top 5 Knee Braces for Golfers from the Experts
Best Sports Brace for Golf - DonJoy Performance Bionic Knee Brace
Summary: The DonJoy bionic knee brace is specifically designed to withstand lateral forces during sporting activities. The brace features hinges and a double closure to provide support while allowing the joint to flex freely.
- Top and bottom closures for a secure fit
- Hyperextension stops to aid stability
- Made from breathable neoprene
- Expensive compared to similar products
- Customer complaints of material stretching over time
Best Hinged Brace for Golf - NEENCA Hinged Knee Brace
Summary: This brace from NEENCA is similar in design to the previous brace and has a few nice features of its’ own. The brace has been anatomically contoured to fit around your knee and has silicone gel pads inside for extra comfort.
The support is also high-level thanks to the copper hinges and adjustable Velcro straps.
- Removable copper hinges
- 4 adjustable Velcro straps
- Thicker than many sleeves for more support
- Can be awkward to get it on correctly
- Reviewer complaints of the hinges breaking
Best Knee Compression Sleeve for Golf - NEENCA Knee Compression Sleeve
Summary: For golfers that would like a lower level of support and good compression, this sleeve is ideal. Like the knee brace from NEENCA, this sleeve also includes the gel padding for enhanced comfort around your patella.
The fabric is also nice and breathable while still offering good support and compression around your knee joint.
- Light, breathable material
- Comfortable to wear
- Multiple color options
- Size chart seems to come up large
Best Adjustable Knee Brace for Golf - Exous BodyGuard Knee Brace
Summary: This knee brace from Exous is a simple design so is easy to wear and there isn’t much on it that can get broken or go wrong.
The 4-way strap provides good support around the circumference of your knee and helps to keep the brace firmly in place.
- Comfortable, non-slip fit
- Very lightweight
- Lateral stabilizers for MCL and LCL protection
- Won’t fit on larger thigh (over 20”) or calves (16-18” max)
Easiest Knee Brace to Take On and Off - TechWare Pro Knee Brace
Summary: Another simple design that is very easy to put on thanks to the bi-directional strap system. The strap system is also responsible for providing good, even support around the knee.
The brace is made from breathable neoprene, which offers compression as well as stability and support.
- Easy to put on and take off
- Soft, comfortable neoprene material
- Range of sizes available
- Lacks dedicated lateral supports
Golf and knee pain do not go together. Having knee pain can really mess with your swing and cause you to quit golfing as much. To help keep you on the greens we’ve shared our favorite knee braces for golfing and different variations. Give one of them a try and let us know what you think in the comments below.
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is for educational purposes only. This is not a substitute for a medical appointment. Please refer to your physician before starting any exercise program.