Knee braces should be used if they are recommended or prescribed by a physician for anyone who is participating in a rehabilitation program after a knee injury and/or knee surgery. The knee brace should be used along with strength training, flexibility, activity modification, and technique refinement. (Paluska, McKeag) In some cases, a doctor may suggest a knee brace if a patient’s knee is not improving with strengthening and flexibility exercises. However, remember that knee braces are the least important part of preventing knee injuries or recovering from a knee injury or surgery: stretching, strengthening exercises, knee exercises and technique improvement are far more critical.
A recent study published in Sports Medicine reported that while a functional knee brace may offer stability for people who have an ACL injury, research is limited on how useful knee braces are for preventing knee ligament injuries in non-injured athletes. (Rishiraj) In fact, several researchers have suggested that there is no conclusive evidence that wearing a knee brace will reduce the rate or severity of ACL injury during sports. One reason for the lack of research may be that non-injured athletes do not want to wear a knee brace for fear it will hinder their performance. However, many athletes and coaches realize the importance of protecting the knees using a reliable knee brace.