The patella is rounded-triangle shaped bone that's connected both to the shin bone and to the thigh bone via two tendons. Children born without a patella, and the patella forms during early childhood.
As the patella wears a large load and is fairly exposed it can get injured easily. You can break your patella if falling, overload your patella tendons which can lead to tendonitis and tears. Some injuries or malformations can lead to the patella jumping out of place too.
As with other knee problems, the RICE protocol - Rest, Ice, Compression, Eleveation - usually improves patella problems too. As knee braces both compress the knee, and (the open patella designs) stabilize the patella, these can help reduce the symptoms, or improve the healing.
Injuries braces can help with:
Injuries for which braces are not enough:
The open patella designs are good for kneecap dislocation and knee stabilization, while the patella straps are best for patellar tendonitis, also known as jumper's knee.
Kneecap pain is often the result of runner's knee or jumper's knee. As the name implies runner'd knee often hits runners, and even though not all the causes are well understood, knee straps or braces can help with the problem. So if in doubt get one of the braces which support your patella, the Winzone Brace is a good choice.
The Techware Pro knee brace comes as a single. It has a 90 day warranty, which is a plus, as most sleeves come without warranty.
For sizing, measure your thigh circumference 3" above your kneecap, and measure your knee circumference at center of kneecap.
|Size code||knee circumference||thigh circumference|
This brace is great for sports which require quick movements, such as skiing - both on snow and on water, running, basketball, zumba, cycling, tennis, crossfit. You can use it in the pool too, just make sure you wash it with running water afterwards, to remove any chlorine.
it's also great for sports which involve a lot of bending, for example weight lifting and squatting, it provides good support and it's not too bulky to hinder your movements. Fortunately it bunches up only rarely behind your knee.
The brace provides a good amount of lateral support, while not limiting your movements too much. The open patella design stabilizes your patella too, so it works well if you have runner's knee. While it provides a good amount of stabilization it lacks the side hinges, so if you need really strong lateral support, please check the stabilizing braces. It's also good for jumper's knee, ACL, LCL, MCL, PCL and meniscus problems due to the compression and support it provides.
Arthritis and bursitis are two more issues you can expect this brace to help with. The sleeve also provides support if you are waiting for total knee replacement.
This brace does not tend to slip, the sizing chart is accurate. It contains a bit of metal in the from of stabilizing springs, however these rarely trigger the airport metal detectors. It has only a bit of neoprene smell. The brace contains no latex so you will have no issues with it even if you have latex allergy. The brace rarely slips.
You can wear it both over your clothing (think thin leggings) or under your clothing.
For best results only hand-wash this product.
Jumper's knee is simply patellar tendonitis, which comes from the overuse of the patella tendons. Get these if you are jumping a lot, for example play basketball, and have knee pain:
The Kootek patella straps comes as a pair, and one size fits all, so you will not have problems with the sizing (by the way most patella straps are one size fits all).
Unfortunatelly there's no warranty information for this brace, and no information if it contains latex, so buyer beware!
As for sports, this patella strap helps if you need to bend your knees - either for everyday chores or for squatting and weight lifting. However if you do deep squats the straps could irritate the back of your knee.
It also helps with sports where you do lot of running: running itself, tennis, basketball and football. Hiking can get easier too with the strap on.
As this product is just a strap, it will not help if your knee needs strong lateral support. Just go for a hinged brace if this is the case.
The strap is effective against patella problems, it will keep your patella in place throughout your day. As such it helps with conditions which are due to a patella injury, for example runner's knee, jumper's knee, and to some extent helps with other ligament issues too - for example ACL and LCL tears. Arthritis sufferers can expect relief from this strap too.
The strap contains neoprene, and unfortunatelly it smells like that too. On the upside this strap holds up well and does not tend to slip. As the strap is small it hides well under your clothes. It also washes well on a light cycle.
The IPOW knee strap comes as a pair, and fits knees up to 18 inches. It's a one size fits all solution, and it comes as a pair so you will not have to buy two for both knees.
If you have large knees, measure their circumference right bellow your the patella to check if this strap will fit you.
Unfortunately the warranty is unknown for this knee strap.
As for sports, this product helps if you need to bend your knee or do squats, running, wrestling, basketball, weight lifting, pilates, zumba, cycling, tennis, hiking and even swimming. As this is a small and light product it can help both with power sports and sports which require quick movements. The strap does not tend to slip as you move around.
On the health side this strap can help after accidents, runner's knee, jumper's knee, arthritis. It does not really help with MCL or LCL.
It also helps the patellar tendon absorb shocks, so it's great if you have patella problems, patella stability/tracking issues. For best results place it right bellow the knee cap on the patella tendon.
This can help to reduce the pain while you are waiting for total knee replacement too.
However this product is not for you if you need lateral support - you'll need to get a hinged knee brace for that.
The materials: the strap contains a small amount of metal so it could cause issues at the airport. It's made of neoprene so it smells a bit initially.
On the upside it's so small that it won't make your knees sweat. The product is latex free, you can use it even if you have latex allergy. The velcro holds up as expected.
For best results wear it under your clothing - it may slip if worn over pants. The device is small, and will be visible only under tight clothing.
Washing the straps is easy, either hand wash these or use a light duty cycle with your washing machine.
The best knee braces for patella tracking all have an open-patella design, which helps enclosing the patella and keeping it in place. These designs effectivly help keeping your patella where it's supposed to be. The support and compression they provide also helps unload the knee which is an additional benefit
The Winzone brace is a one size fits all, both left and right knee brace. This flexibility is great because you just can't mis-size this brace. The brace is bit on the shorter end so if you need a long brace this might not be good for you.
The brace comes as a single, so you'll have to buy two if you need a pair. The manufacturer does not advertise warranty for this brace.
As for sports this brace is good for skiing, running, squats, wrestling, basketball, weight lifting, zumba, and tennis. It may not be suitable for pro basketball players though. It bunches up a bit behind the knee, however most sleeves without hinges do this.
The brace does not hinder bending your knee, so it's great for squats and weight lifting.
Among health issues, the brace tends to help with runners's knee, ACL problems (stabilizes the knee even if your ACL is in a bad condition), and helps with MCL, LCL and PCL sprains too. As arthritis sufferrers benefit from the stablization, it helps them too as it prevents the buckling. As such it's good if you are waiting for total knee replacement too.
The brace provides both patella support and lateral support (even though the lateral support is not as strong as if it had hinges).
The material is not hot, so you will not get all sweaty under it, even in warm weather.
The brace does not have metal hinges, so it should not pose problems at airport security. The brace contains neoprene so it has some odor initially. It is latex free too, however this could be manufactured in a factory that also handles latex - allergy is not expected, still, be careful with it if you have latex allergy. It has a silicone strip and it does not slip. The velcro is good quality, but not great.
You can wear this brace under your clothes. Due to it's size this will be visible under tight clothing however works well with regular clothing.
For best results only hand-wash this brace.