The ACL is a ligament behind your patella, inside of your knee. It connects your thigh bone to your shin bone. It protects your knee from two main forces: it stabilizes the knee so the lower part of it can't slide behind the upper part, and also stabilizes it agains inward rotation.
This on the other hand means that these two forces can tear your acl, in particular the quick direction changes you do during basketball, football and skiing are very suspectible to this injury.
A torn ACL hardly ever heals by itself, so it's a great idea to protect this ligament using a brace if you are doing sports.
The ACL braces which best protect your knee have side hinges. With the help of the hinges these braces can keep your knee for rotating or sliding back. However these braces are just too confining to do football or basketball in them, so your best bet is to go for thick and supporting fabric sleeves. Neoprene tends to be to thick too.
Besides wearing a brace for the activites that can cause an injury, training your back thigh muscles can help a lot too in preserving your ACL.
The overall best acl knee brace for sport is probably the Blitzu Flex knee brace.
The Blitzu knee brace is a great and comfortable all-rounder brace, which helps by reducing knee loading and pain, and increases endurance if you are sporting. It works well for pain caused by tearing, arthritis, injuries and surgeries. The brace comes as a pair, so it's more economical than other similar braces. The brace is essentially the same as the SB SOX brace. If you are looking for a thick sleeve for crossfit or lifting, check out the Bear CompleX sleeve.
|suitable for most light sports||not for swimming or lifting heavy|
|thin enough to fit under clothing||no padding, no protection in an accident|
|does not contain metal||no lateral support|
|works well against knee-pain||does not help everyone|
|fits well if sized well||sizing is a bit hard, XL not available|
|economical, comes as pair||only hand wash for best results|
|one year warranty||arrived damaged for some|
The sizing chart for the Blitzu brace is essentially the same as the chart for the SB SOX brace. You'll have to measure your thigh circumference four inches above the top of your patella.
|Thigh size||Size code|
|14.5 ... 17 inches||S|
|17 ... 19.5 inches||M|
|19.5 ... 22 inches||L|
If you do not measure 4 inches from the top of your knee cap you may get a too tight or too loose fit.
The length of this brace is about 10.5 inches from top to bottom, the rear side is slightly shorter.
XL size is not available.
The Blitzu brace is especially suitable for light sports which include lots of walking and running, for example basketball, soccer, football, tennis or dancing. The sleeve can also help with climbing too. The brace takes over some load from your knees, so you'll be able to run and walk more with the brace on.
If you had an ACL or MCL injury, you will find that it's easier and less painful to move around with the brace on.
The brace has a silicone strip on the top so it does not slip. It breathes very well so you will not get sweaty from wearing it.
If you are into weight-lifting or crossfit you may want to check the Bear CompleX sleeve.
The brace is not padded so it's not suitable for sports where you slide on your knee.
The brace was not designed for pool use, the chlorinated water may reduce it's lifetime. You can still use it in a pool just make sure you wash it thoroughly in running water once you are out of the pool.Helping your health
If you feel knee pain after overloading your knee, this brace is for you.
It's a good choice if you had a knee injury, or if your knees are damaged for arthritis. Wearing the brace for shorter times, for example during arthritis flare-ups works really well too.
As the brace works by taking over some load from your knees, it works well for ACL and MCL injuries, meniscus tears and runner's knee too. Wearing the brace will lower the chance of injury too - just make sure you do not push it too much.
The brace is very comfortable and helps if you had an accident or a knee surgery.
The sleeve stabilizes the whole knee, including the patella, so you'll feel less popping and clicking there.Wearing the Blitzu sleeve
This sleeve is suitable for wearing under and over your clothes too. The sleeve is not thick so it will not be visible unless you wear thin and tight pants.
The brace has a silicone strip on the top and bottom to prevent slipping, so it's better to wear them under pants as they are more likely to stay in place that way.Washing it
For best results simply hand wash the brace in your sink, and let it dry by itself. Do not twist, as this may damage the material.
According to Blitzu, the material is "POWER+ Premium Performance Fabric". In reality this is a mixture of nylon and spandex, with wavy silicone strips on the top and the bottom. The brace contains no metal, and probably no latex either, still it's better to be careful if you have latex allergy.Good to know
The brace does not have lateral side support, so if your knee is exceptionally instable it will not help. It's not FDA certified, however these knee braces are rarely FDA certified.
The brace comes only in orange color - if you want other colors you may want to check the SB SOX brace too.
The brace comes as a pair, so you'll get one for both knees. Other braces usually come as single.
The brace is overall well made and very comfortable. It's not padded so it will not protect your knee in an accident.The issues
The Blitzu and the SB SOX brace seem to be the same - make sure you go for the cheaper one. There is no XL size from this brace.
These sleeves are ideal for basketball as they hardly ever slip, provide good comfort, compression and a bit of stabilization.
The Sable knee brace comes as a pair, with a very optimistic "lifetime" warranty.
Sizing the brace is straightforward, measure your thigh circumference 4" above your kneecap:
The sleeve provides compression and stabilization which tends to help most knee problems. It provides a bit of patella support, helps with runner's knee, ligament issues (ACL, MCL, LCL), arthritis, and buckling knees. It also helps if you are waiting for total knee replacement.
The sleeve is a straight design, it has no ergonomic bend. This makes putting them on easier, however they are less comfortable too.
It does not tend to bunch up behind the knee, and it does not tend to slip either, as it has anti-slip strips.
The sleeve is about 10 1/2" long, fits the calves nicely too.
The sleeve is fairly thin so you can wear it under your clothes. Wearing it over your clothes could result in more slippage though.
As it's a simple sleeve it has no metal in it, so it goes through metal detectors without an issue. While it has no neoprene, it still tends to smell a bit. It may have latex so if you have latex allergy, beware! This has no velcro, so no velcro issues either.
As usual for these sleeves, only hand wash it and let it dry by itself.
The sleeve provides compression and a bit of stabilization so it will give you more confidence skiing, squatting, weight lifting, running, wrestling, basketball, power lifting, zumba, cycling and even skateboarding.
The sleeve is not made of neoprene, so do not expect the kind of support you'd get from a 7mm neoprene sleeve. This is an issue if you want strong support for squatting. It also has no hinges, so it will not give you great lateral support. However the compression and stabilitation itself can help with lot of issues.
The PowerLix Compression Knee Sleeve is a simple sleeve which provides relief for many knee issues as almost every knee problem benefits from compression.
The sleeve comes as a single - you'll have to buy two if needed for both knees. The warranty is unfortunately unknown for this sleeve.
As for the sizing, measure your thigh circumference 5" above your kneecap:
|Size code||Knee circumference|
|S||11" - 12"|
|M||12.5" - 16"|
|XL||18.5" - 22.5"|
|XXL||23" - 25"|
The sleeve is great for tennis, skiing, running, jogging, hiking, soccer, basketball, cycling and and zumba too - so anything that requires fast movement and basic support.
It's good for wrestling too however it does not give you much lateral stability as it has no hinges.
This sleeve even survives in the pool, you can use it for swimming or for aquafitness.
It also supports your knee when squatting or lifting weight, however it's not the heavy-duty neoprene sleeve so it can't give that much support.
On the health side this brace is good if you need light patella support, it compresses and stabilizes your knee during the movements. It's also good for runner's knee, ligament issues (ACL, MCL, LCL and PCL sprains) and arthritis, as the compressions helps a lot.
The material is thin and breathes well. It contains neither latex nor neoprene. As a plus it does not smell - most braces tend to have some chemical smell initially, get this one if you hate the new-sleeve-smell.
It also rarely bunches up behind the knee and rarely slips, as it has an anti-slip strip.
It contains no metal hinges which means no airport security issues, and less lateral support.
The sleeve is thin, you can easily wear it under your clothes. If you wear it over your clothes expect less grip.
Sizing is not as good as it could be, if you have large thighs and calves you may find it compresses your calves and thighs more than your knees. If you are not sure if this sleeve will be a good fit get one with velcros.
For best results hand-wash this sleeve and let it dry by itself.
These sleeves work well for football because besides the compression they also give your knees basic stabilization, which is important for the quick turns and ball-handling.
The Cambivo knee brace comes as a pair, you can even choose between six colors. A wide variety of sizes are supported (measure your thigh circumference 4" above your kneecap):
|Size code||Thigh circumference|
This compression sleeve helps by compressing and stabilizing your knees. It's good for patella tracking problems (though open-patella designs are better for this), runner's knee, jumper's knee, ligament problems (think ACL and MCL sprains), arthritis,
As most simple compression sleeves, this will provide you with support and compression for sports like running, jogging, football, soccer, skiing, zumba or even taekwondo. It's also good for doing your daily chores, you can keep this on all day long, it will keep your knee from buckling.
This sleeve has no metal hinges, so it will not protect your knee from lateral load in sports which require lot of turns, such as basketball or skiing. Choose this sleeve if your knee has no issues with lateral load.
It's good for crossfit, squatting and weightlifting too, however it's not a heavy-duty 7mm neoprene brace, so it will not give you strong support.
It contains latex (those of you with allergy beware!), also nylon and spandex, no velcro and no neoprene - thus no neopren smell. It has no metal hinges so you will not get caught by the airport security with these on. The material breathes well, it will not make you sweat excessively.
It has an anti-slip silicon band which eliminates most of the slippage. Fortunately it bunches up only rarely behind your knees.
You can wear this sleeve under your clothing, it will only show if you wear something thin and thight. It will bunch up and slip more if you wear it over your clothes.
You can hand-wash this sleeve and then just let it dry by itself.
There's no information on the warranty for this sleeve.