Hiking is one of the most relaxing and fulfilling outdoor activities around. Going out and communing with nature while also burning off a ton of calories. Unfortunately for people with chronic knee pain all that walking over rough terrain can be really uncomfortable. With a quality knee brace though you can get back out on the trails without fear of pain or injury. Today we’re looking for the best knee brace for hiking to help you get back on the trails.
- 1 Best Knee Brace for Hiking
- 1.1 Cho-Pat Dual Action Knee Strap
- 1.2 IPOW Knee Pain Relief & Patella Stabilizer
- 1.3 UFlex Knee Compression Sleeve Support for Hiking
- 1.4 PowerLix Compression Knee Sleeve
- 1.5 Pro-Tec Gel Force Knee Sleeve
- 1.6 Bracoo Open-Patella Knee Support Brace
- 1.7 Winzone Best Knee Brace Support
- 1.8 TechWare Pro Knee Brace Support
- 1.9 Vive Hinged Knee Brace
- 1.10 Shock Doctor Hinged Knee Brace
- 1.11 Price
- 1.12 Types of Knee Brace
- 1.13 Styles
- 1.14 Size
- 1.15 Adjustment Capabilities
- 1.16 Material
- 2 Other Methods to Prevent Knee Pain While Hiking
- 3 Final Thoughts
Best Knee Brace for Hiking
Knee pain is one of those things that’s different for every person. For some of us it’s a minor ache that shows up every now and then while for others it’s a persistent pain.
Picking out the best knee brace for hiking really comes down to your level of pain, the intensity of your activities and any other medical conditions you’re dealing with. If you’re experiencing persistent knee pain we highly recommend you mention it to your doctor.
Our review today covers a variety of different knee supports and braces. We tried to pick out some excellent products across the price and capability spectrum.
Cho-Pat Dual Action Knee Strap
The Cho-Pat Dual Action Knee Strap provides you with substantial support above and below the knee. It does this using two adjustable straps that give maximum support without restricting range of motion.
It’s made from a lightweight and breathable fabric and comes in a variety of sizes. As a knee strap it’s great for reducing knee pain and preventing overuse. It’s adjustable straps make it easy to find the perfect amount of pressure for your needs and prevent it from moving around while you’re out on the trails.
The Cho-Pat Dual Action Knee Strap provides excellent support without limiting your mobility. It’s a great choice for hikers trying to reduce minor knee pain.
IPOW Knee Pain Relief & Patella Stabilizer
The IPOW Patella Stabilizer Knee Strap is designed to prevent improper motion of the knee. It straps into place with a hook and loop fastener for snug comfort and protects your patella while active.
The IPOW stabilizer is designed to provide preventative care for your knee. It stops you from moving your knee poorly and helps encourage the proper tracking of the knee joint.
The soft and comfortable material also helps to reduce impacts from jarring steps and hiking over rough terrain.
The IPOW Knee Stabilizer is a lightweight yet supportive brace. It’s great at encouraging the proper movement of the knee but doesn’t offer the kind of compression needed for inflammation relief.
UFlex Knee Compression Sleeve Support for Hiking
The UFlex Knee Compression Sleeve is designed to support your healthy range of motion while reducing pain and inflammation. It provides firm compression all around your knee without restricting your movements.
It’s designed to add warmth to your knees and limit the movement of the patella itself. This keeps you from accidentally damaging your knee with poor movements. It’s made using a knitted design for maximum flexibility.
UFlex also added in silicone slip resistant points to prevent the brace from moving or sliding around while using it. This is great when you’re hiking under a hefty pack and can’t afford to stop every few minutes for adjustment.
If you’re dealing with persistent knee pain the UFlex Compression Knee Brace offers relief. It’s designed to cocoon your knee in a firm and comforting pressure.
PowerLix Compression Knee Sleeve
The PowerLix compression knee sleeve is a four way compression sleeve for active wear. It gives you excellent support and stability for your knee and extends for five inches above and below the knee cap.
It’s made from a breathable and easy to clean knitted fabric with integrated silicone slip resistance. This prevents it from slipping even when sweaty and allows you to keep moving.
The sleeve provides compression from every necessary angle. It’s designed to protect your knee joint without reducing your field of movement.
The Powerlix compression knee sleeve is great for reducing the pain from minor knee injuries. It’s larger than many similar sleeves and provides excellent support from every angle.
Pro-Tec Gel Force Knee Sleeve
The Pro-Tec Gel Force knee sleeve combines a four way stretch fabric knit with thick gel supports. This gives you excellent inflammation relief and provides moderate knee joint stability.
It’s a closed patella brace with a ring of gel that surrounds the knee cap. This helps keep the patella stable without reducing your range of movement.
The material itself is lightweight and breathable. This makes it great for hikes during warm weather where overheating is a concern.
The Pro-Tec Gel Force knee sleeve is a good option for preventing knee damage or relieving minor pain. It isn’t as supportive as some of the other braces we cover here but it does a good job stabilizing the knee cap through light to moderate activity.
Bracoo Open-Patella Knee Support Brace
The Bracoo knee support brace uses an open patella design to keep the kneecap in its proper place during activities. It’s fully adjustable designed for comfortable all day wear.
The Bracoo brace is made from thick neoprene to provide the best combination of comfort and support. It uses a set of hook and loop fasteners to allow quick adjustments throughout the day.
The adjustable compression helps improve circulation and decrease inflammation. When combined with the patella support you wind up with a quality knee brace that’s highly adaptable and great for managing minor to moderate knee pain while active.
Winzone Best Knee Brace Support
The Winzone knee brace is a wraparound knee support designed to promote healthy range of movement and reduce pain. It uses an open patella style to stabilize the kneecap and encourage proper movement.
It has two hook and loop fasteners that let you adjust the tightness and positioning whenever needed. The Winzone gives you firm compression to prevent inflammation without restricting healthy movement.
Overall the Winzone knee support is an easy to apply and highly adaptable knee brace. It supports your knee while protecting the joint and reducing inflammation.
TechWare Pro Knee Brace Support
The TechWare Pro is a wrap style knee brace with an open patella design. It offers comfortable compression while helping to stabilize your kneecap.
One interesting feature of the TechWare Pro is its use of three straps. This gives you pinpoint control over the pressure and support the brace provides.
It’s made from moisture wicking neoprene with nonstick silicone strips. This makes it comfortable to wear all day without the need to constantly adjust it.
Because you can easily unstrap it and lay it out flat it’s easier to clean and air out the TechWare Pro as well.
The TechWare Pro is a well made knee support with interesting features. It gives you excellent patella stability and offers comfortable yet firm compression.
Vive Hinged Knee Brace
The Vive hinged knee brace is an adaptable brace that offers maximum support in a low profile package. It has two aluminum supports on either side to protect your knee after an injury.
It straps on for maximum compression and comfort and includes an open patella style stabilizer. This helps reduce pain and inflammation while preventing your joint from moving improperly.
One thing we really liked about this brace was how adaptable it was. The aluminum supports are removable, leaving you with a quality strap knee brace that gives you good support and a comfortable fit.
The Vive hinged knee brace is great if you’ve previously injured your knee but still want to enjoy hiking and camping. It gives you a range of support levels that fit how your knee is feeling on a day to day basis.
Shock Doctor Hinged Knee Brace
The Shock Doctor hinged knee brace gives you the ultimate protection for your knee and joint. It has dual hinges as well as a variety of straps and compression features.
It’s made from antimicrobial and odor resistant materials with two hook and loop straps. Its open patella design is made to help stabilize the kneecap while preventing improper or damaging movements.
This isn’t a brace to wear if you just want to encourage healthy range of motion or have occasional minor pain. It’s a highly protective and restrictive brace that’s designed for recovery after major injuries or for people with persistent pain.
If you fall into one of those categories and still want to enjoy a hike the Shock Doctor hinged knee brace is definitely one of the best options available.
Buyers Guide to Buying the Best Knee Brace
Picking out knee braces for hiking comes down to what level of knee pain you’re experiencing and the intensity of your activity. There are tons of different types and styles of knee brace to choose from.
We’ve tried to cover the most common varieties of braces and how they’re used. We also covered various ways you can help prevent knee injuries and reduce your knee pain.
Knee braces for hiking aren’t expensive. You can get a pretty good sleeve or support style brace for $10 to $20 no problem.
Higher end medical grade models can cost more but generally aren’t necessary for hiking. If you have a diagnosed medical condition relating to your knee you should check and see if your insurance company will cover it.
Types of Knee Brace
There are several
Patella Stabilizer – Patella stabilizing knee braces are designed to prevent the improper movement of the knee cap. They’re generally open to relieve pressure on the patella but provide firm support of the entire knee joint.
Knee Straps -Knee straps are the smallest type of brace available. They’re usually about two to three inches wide and designed to sit snuggly just above or below the knee joint.
They apply extra pressure to the patellar tendon and help maintain the proper motion of the knee joint. They’re great for preventing knee injuries and improving your overall range of motion.
Dual Action Knee Strap – Dual action knee straps are exactly what they sound like—a knee strap with two straps. They bracket the patella above and below the knee and help prevent knee injuries and improper movements.
There are lots of different styles of knee braces available today. We’ll cover the ones most commonly used for hiking and outdoor sports below.
Hinged and Stabilized – Hinged knee braces are the most restrictive heaviest. They have rigid or semi-rigid hinges built into the sides of the brace that limit the range of motion your knee can go through.
They aren’t generally recommended for hiking because of how heavy they are. If you need to wear a hinged knee brace while hiking you should stick to lower intensity and duration trails.
Sleeves – Knee sleeves are the most basic type of knee brace available. They’re just a tube of elasticized material that’s designed to slip up your leg and apply pressure to your knee.
They’re great for hiking as they’re lightweight, easy to clean and provide good amounts of pain relief and support.
Knee Wraps – Wrap style knee braces are designed to wrap around your knee and leg with hook and loop fasteners. This allows you to adjust the pressure and positioning of your brace depending on the pain you feel.
They’re great for hiking as you can adjust the level of support on the fly.
Closed Patella – Closed patella knee braces don’t have the small hole found in open patella braces. This applies greater pressure to the knee itself and can help support your knee.
Open Patella – Open patella braces have a small circular opening that helps relieve the pressure on the kneecap. They’re great for hiking as they allow proper movement and tracking of the knee joint.
To find the right size knee brace you need to measure your knee and leg. Start by finding the point on your knee that the pain is centered on. Measure around this point and mark it with a marker.
Take measurements around your leg 6 inches above and 6 inches below the mark you made. Take these numbers and compare them to a sizing chart for your chosen knee brace.
Depending on what kind of knee brace you choose you’ll have more or less adjustment available. Basic knee sleeves generally can’t be adjusted.
Straps and stabilized knee braces on the other hand are usually highly adjustable. You’ll be able to loosen or tighten them to change the pressure and adjust how they sit in relation to your knee cap.
The bulk of knee braces are made from a sturdy and elastic non-latex material like neoprene. This gives them excellent strength, good ability to apply pressure and makes them non allergenic.
If your brace has supports built in they’ll usually be either metal or polymer. If you plan to hike in hot weather conditions look for braces that are breathable and easy to wash.
Other Methods to Prevent Knee Pain While Hiking
Knee braces can help keep your knees moving in the correct way. A lot of knee pain is caused because of improper movement in the joint.
This leads to inflammation and can contribute to tears in the cartilage of your knee.
Hiking Poles – A lot of people discount the benefit quality hiking poles can provide. They give you greater stability and actually take some of the weight of your body off your knees and legs.
For many people living with knee pain an injury was the original cause. Hiking poles make it a lot less likely that you’ll lose your footing and twist or tear your knee.
Correct Footwear – One of the most common causes of knee pain among hikers is improper footwear. Too many people pop on their largest, heaviest boots without considering if they’re the right choice for conditions.
There’s an old saying among hikers—a pound on your feet is the same as 5 pounds on your back. If you aren’t hiking on extremely rough terrain lightweight trail running shoes will usually do the job.
Boots are heavier and less flexible. This puts more strain on the muscles of your leg and requires you to move your knee joint more to avoid obstacles.
Losing Weight – Being overweight is one of the biggest contributing factors to knee pain. If you can commit to a healthy diet and exercise plan you’ll be shocked how much better you feel at a healthy weight.
The reduced pressure on your knee just in everyday walking will go a long way to reducing pain.
Correct Walking Posture and Gait – More than 80% of Americans don’t practice proper posture. This affects everything from organ health to back, leg and knee pain.
Gait has a more direct effect on the knees. Poor gait can cause the muscles and tendons of your leg to put pressure on the knee or rub against it. By improving your gait you reduce a lot of these stressors.
Massage Rollers and Balls – The benefits of massage for aches and pains has been understood for a long time. It’s not always possible to see a massage therapist when the pain kicks in so massage balls and rollers are a good alternative.
They allow you to apply your preferred amount of pressure right where it hurts just by rolling the tool over your body.
Joint Supplements – Many people choose to take joint supplements to help with inflammation and aches. There isn’t firm medical evidence to support their effectiveness but there’s no harm in giving them a try. Some of the most commonly used include:
- Green Tea
Knee Exercises – Before we get into any of the stretches and exercises it’s important you understand when and how to use them. If you experience chronic or frequent knee pain you need to see a doctor as soon as possible.
It could be a sign of a potentially life altering injury that might be made worse by additional exercise. As long as your doctor signed off on them there are several easy exercises you can do to help strengthen your knee.
The goal with these exercises is to help stretch and strengthen the muscles that support the knee.
Lighten Your Pack – The heavier the load on your back, the more strain you’re putting on the muscles and joints of your legs. If you can reduce the amount of gear you carry or replace it with lightweight versions you go a long way towards reducing the risk of knee injury and preventing knee pain.
In the end it all comes down to what you need. If you’re just trying to prevent knee injuries later in life a basic knee strap will serve you well.
If on the other hand you’re recovering from a serious knee injury and still want to enjoy mother nature you should definitely look into something more supportive.