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.
The Best Knee Brace for Meniscus Tears to Reduce Pain
Knee pain is a common symptom that affects people of all ages and athletic abilities. Though it is often the direct result of an injury, it can present itself over time from overuse or misuse of the joint, or simply with age. It can also be a symptom of a more serious medical condition, such as a Meniscus Tear.
Whatever the cause, our knees are weight-bearing joints and they are vital for much of the activity an average person performs throughout the day. Needless to say, they take on a lot of stress and proper care is crucial to maintain an active lifestyle.
For the full functionality of the knee, the Meniscus cartilage plays a central role, as it acts as a buffer zone between the thigh and shin bones. A meniscus tear, although one of the most common and treatable knee injuries, can be detrimental for athletes and physical laborers, and a major setback for more sedentary individuals. Thankfully, depending on the type and location of the injury, rest, individualized physical therapy and exercsies for meniscus tears, and the potential use of a knee brace are often all that’s needed.
What are the Meniscus
There are two menisci in the knee joint––the lateral and medial meniscus. They are C-shaped pieces of cartilage that work together with ligaments and the overall knee structure to act as a stabilizer and as a cushion between the tibia and the femur. The meniscus is also largely made up of water, which, when compressed, acts as a great shock absorber. Though damage to the meniscus is often treatable, if you have any knee discomfort, taking immediate action can be the difference between a good prognosis and a bad one.
In the late 19th century, the meniscus was grossly misunderstood and total meniscectomies––or the complete removal of the meniscus––were an all-too-common medical procedure. Today we have a greater understanding and respect for the cartilage and its function and we take conservative measures before surgery, such as rest, physical therapy, and the use of knee braces.
Symptoms of a Meniscus Tear
The signs of a torn meniscus may vary depending on the type, severity, and location of the tear. Swelling, pain, and limited mobility are common but symptoms can range from mild discomfort to more severe sensations. Here are some signs and symptoms of a torn meniscus:
- Swelling, particularly after an injury
- Pain, often on one side of the knee
- Weakness and buckling
- Inability to fully extend the leg
- Popping or grinding sensations
- A feeling that the knee is “locked” in place
Can a Meniscus Tear Heal By Itself
Will a Knee Brace Help for a Meniscus Tear
The answer is “Yes, but maybe no…” The knee is a weight bearing joint, therefore anytime that we are in a standing position the knee and the meniscus are loaded. No matter how hard we try there is no brace that can completely unweight one knee while in a standing position and fighting the effects of gravity. So there are some types of meniscus tears that a brace will not make a difference and may not help.
On the other hand, if you have minimal pain while standing still but have pain with other activities such as twisting than a knee brace may be beneficial. The knee brace will help stabilize the knee so that the forces applied to the meniscus are reduced and decrease the pain in the knee. Wearing a knee brace may make you feel more stability at work, or help you kneel with less pain. Overall, there is little risk to trying a knee brace and may be the difference between staying active and remaining sedentary.
We do want to re-iterate that a knee brace will not heal your meniscus but it may allow you to do your daily functions and activity easier and with less pain.
Benefits of a Knee Brace for a Meniscus Tear
A knee brace is a great option if you have a torn meniscus, as it is a nonsurgical, noninvasive treatment and is often all that’s needed for long-term recovery. But whether it’s used as a treatment in itself or for post-treatment rehabilitation, there are many benefits of wearing a knee brace.
- Increased rotational stability –– Wearing a brace can support your joint during activities that would otherwise put unwanted stress on your meniscus. This support can speed up your recovery time and enables you to remain moderately active while you heal.
- Less hyperextension –– Hyperextension of the knee is a common cause of injury and reinjury. A brace will prevent you from extending your joint to the point of possible damage.
- Improved confidence –– A knee brace can provide a sense of confidence that is often integral to recovery, enabling you to perform rehabilitation exercises without the fear of reinjury.
- Better mobility –– After an injury, mobility is rarely taken for granted. Not only will you feel grateful for the ability to be active, but your body will also heal faster as there will be increased circulation to the affected area.
- A decrease in pain –– Though pain is a useful tool that alerts us when there is something wrong with our bodies, enduring it is never fun. A knee brace will minimize pain by taking the pressure off of the injury.
- Quicker return to normal function –– The recovery process includes getting back to the life you had before the injury. Wearing a knee brace will enable you to take these steps and quickly return to your normal activities.
The Best Knee Brace for a Torn Meniscus
Mcdavid 429X Meniscus Knee Brace
The Mcdavid 429X Knee Brace has substantial support and compression features, and is designed with comfort and flexibility in mind. It is made from breathable neoprene material, has adjustable straps for a personalized fit, and padded patella support.
- Provides maximum support enabling a range of activity
- Fits securely with minimal slippage
- Many customers report that it runs small
- Some customers recommend only wearing it for a few hours at a time
Shock Doctor Meniscus Knee Brace
The Shock Doctor knee brace is designed to assist in the prevention and recovery of a wide range of knee injuries. It features flexible materials with antimicrobial and ventilation technology, and an anatomical design. It both lifts and compresses to best support the joint and aid in recovery.
- Maximum support allows for stability throughout activity
- Solid and durable materials
- Secure fit
- Accurate sizing instructions
- Some customers have found it difficult to put on and remove
- Most customers say it is best worn for a few hours at a time
Sport Spartan Performance Meniscus Knee Brace
The Sport Spartan Performance Hinged Knee Brace is designed with versatile support and high-level performance in mind. It is stabilizing, adjustable, breathable, and lightweight.
- Comfortable and lightweight
- Offers more range of movement than other braces
- Discreet when worn under clothing
- Many customers report that it slides off with extended use
DonJoy Performance Bionic Meniscus Knee Brace
The DonJoy Performance Bionic Knee Brace provides an accurate fit and reliable support for maximum stability. Its anti-migration technology and perforated neoprene prevent slippage during workouts and provide breathability, while its reflective features ensure higher visibility for early morning or evening workouts.
- Sleek and simple design
- Easily worn under clothing or equipment
- Sturdy support
- Posterior closure makes it difficult to put on and adjust
- Velcro snags clothing
Bracoo Meniscus Knee Brace
The Bracoo Knee Support brace has fully customizable features and offers comfortable and versatile support. The brace assists in the recovery and prevention of injury or reinjury while allowing for a broad range of movement.
- Comfortable and lightweight
- Can be worn discreetly under clothing
- Great for exercise
- Good product for the low price
- Many customers report slipping and “bunching” and recommend using with a sleeve
Arrow Splints Meniscus Knee Brace
The Arrow Splints Knee Brace offers versatile support for a range of needs, whether its exercise or moderate activity. It boasts comfortability, moisture-wicking material, a quality build, reduced slippage, and a one year product warranty.
- Comes with a free neoprene compression sleeve
- Comfortable and secure
- True to size
- Easy to use
- Some customers report slippage with extended use
Whether you’ve torn your meniscus or you are looking for extra support and taking a preventative measure, knee braces offer support that enhances performance and assists in long-term recovery. A long time ago the meniscus may have been considered an expendable appendage, but today it is understood to be an immensely important component of a complex joint that is vital for optimal knee health and overall mobility. Meniscus tears are a well-understood condition that is highly treatable; there is no need to suffer or be immobilized by this common injury.
“Can Knee Braces Help You Recover From a Torn Meniscus Injury?” McDavid USA, 11 Mar. 2019, https://www.mcdavidusa.com/blogs/posts/can-knee-braces-help-you-recover-torn-meniscus-injury . Accessed 21 Sept. 2019.
D’Lima, Darryl D., Benjamin J. Fregly, Shantanu Patil, Nikolai Steklov, Clifford W. Colwell, Jr. “Knee joint forces: prediction, measurement, and significance.” Proc Inst Mech Eng H, Feb. 2012, pp. 95-102. US National Library of Medicine, doi: 10.1177/0954411911433372 . Accessed 21 Sept. 2019.
“Knee Pain.” Mayo Clinic, 7 Mar. 2019, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/knee-pain/symptoms-causes/syc-20350849 .
Accessed 21 Sept. 2019.
Makris, Eleftherios A., Pasha Hadidi, & Kyriacos A. Athanasiou. “The knee meniscus: structure-funtion, pathophysiology, current repair techniques, and prospects for regeneration.” Biomaterials, Oct. 2011, pp. 7411-7431. US National Library of Medicine, doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2011.06.037 . Accessed 21 Sept. 2019.
Rath Ehud, & Richmond, John C. “The Menisci: basic science and advances in treatment.” Br J Sportsmed, pp. 252-257, 11 May 2019, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1724227/pdf/v034p00252.pdf . Accessed 21 Sept. 2019.
“Torn Meniscus.” Harvard Health Publishing, May 2019, https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/torn-meniscus-a-to-z . Accessed 21 Sept. 2019.
“Torn Meniscus.” Mayo Clinic, 7 Mar. 2018, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/torn-meniscus/symptoms-causes/syc-20354818 . Accessed 21 Sept. 2019.