Best Knee Brace For Basketball
All of the gear that professional basketball players wear to protect their knees are also available for amateur players, so even if you aren’t playing for keeps like they are, you can still stay protected on the court with the best knee brace for basketball players.
When you tune into a basketball game on television, it’s rare that you’ll look at the legs of the players and see any sort of skin exposed around the knees.
It quickly becomes evident that everyone is wearing some kind of protection—usually pads, braces or sleeves.
In the NBA where players are made to go through around 82 games in only five months, it makes sense why they would want to reduce the amount of stress, pressure and wear put on their legs, especially their knees.
Basketball is one of the highest impact sports out there due to all of the running and jumping and the stress that is put on the knees.
There are different reasons that professional and casual basketball players alike wear protective items on their knees, because basketball can put a variety of different stresses and strains on your knees depending on your play style.
Common reasons basketball players wear protective gear include:
To prevent bruises, aches, pains and other discomfort caused by falling on the court or colliding with other players
To reduce the chronic pain that often comes with playing basketball all of the time
To give support after an injury has occurred, such as with an ACL tear
To prevent re-injuring yourself once you have recovered from the injury
There are differences between kinds of protective gear like sleeves, pads and braces, and protecting your knees from damage means knowing what kind of gear best suits you.
Think about the needs you have specifically before choosing one or more of these support systems to ensure you are playing as comfortably, efficiently and safely as possible.
A knee sleeve is usually made out of flexible, yet tight material that gives additional protection for the knees.
There are several benefits to these sleeves, one of which being the increase of blood flow around the knee, which can help you recover after a game or a workout.
Sleeves may also be able to actively reduce the pain that comes with stressing the knee.
Knee sleeves could improve upon proprioception, otherwise known as the active recognition of the joints in the knee by your central nervous system.
Knee braces are one of the best ways to protect your knees from injuries and are a natural step up from every day, simple sleeves.
Even though knee sleeves give you plenty of compression, knee braces are going to help improve the stability of your knees and give both the patella and the anterior knee the external support it needs.
Sewn-in support helps to increase the stability of the knee due to the hinges that help to eliminate the risk of dangerous hypertension.
Knee braces are commonly used after injuries and are an important part of the recovery process.
They are able to help prevent re-injuring the knee and to make recovering basketball players feel more confident in their ability to perform when they get back out there.
If you are looking for a knee brace, you should check with a professional to make sure you’re getting the best one for you.
Knee pads are a bit different than sleeves and braces in terms of purpose.
The main purpose of a set of knee pads isn’t to prevent damage to the tendons and ligaments but to provide external protection against impact both from the floor and from other players.
Knee pads are very popular with basketball players lately for that reason as well as giving players more confidence in making more aggressive moves without feeling insecure in their steps.
Alongside providing plenty of helpful compression, they are also able to help prevent floor burns while also lowering pain levels after knees have been banged up against other opponents or the floor.
This means that players who play with a more attack-style approach can do so without fear of experiencing aches, pains and bruises after the fact.
Should You Buy Sleeves or Braces?
In your specific case, it might be hard to determine which one of these protective items will help you the most.
Knee sleeves are going to be best for those who have chronic pain in the knees, people who want to increase their stability and those who are trying to recover from an injury.
Those who are trying to recover from an injury to their MCL, ACL and similar afflictions should opt for a knee brace.
Furthermore, if you are looking for acute external protection against banging your knees on objects and want to stop knee contusions, knee pads are going to benefit you the most.
Top 6 Best Recommendations
1. Nike Pro Combat Knee Sleeve
Nike is still considered to be one of the top sports brands and the number one company for basketball gear, making the quality of their Nike Pro Combat Knee Sleeve speak for itself.
This sleeve is great for those who want to keep plenty of compression on their knees while playing, and because of its warming nature, it is good for trapping in soothing heat and keeping your knees warm on chilly courts or while playing on cold days outdoors.
If you deal with chronic stress and pain from putting stress on your knees, these sleeves are particularly good for getting rid of discomfort. Not only that, but they look awesome with their vibrant style.
Part of the stylishness of the Nike Pro Combat Knee Sleeve comes from the ariaprene material and the strategically placed mesh on the front that gives them their unique geometric design while also ensuring that they are both breathable and comfortable.
This helps to stop sweat from building up over time no matter how long you play and won’t make the sleeve feel heavy on your knee.
It is important to consider going down a size if you order them online, as they commonly run large.
Overall, the Nike Pro Combat Knee Sleeve is a good choice for anyone who is looking for a stylish knee pad that will give relief from pain and just the right amount of support.
2. Shock Doctor 865 Knee Sleeve
Shock Doctor has long been known as one of the best manufacturers of premium sports equipment designed to protect, and their knee sleeves fall into the same category.
Shock Doctor knee sleeves come in a variety of different styles that range from the simplest designs and most affordable materials to high-tech, expensive sleeves for those who need a little something extra.
The Shock Doctor 865 Knee Sleeve is a good sleeve for those who are looking to get an entry-level knee brace to try and see if it is going to benefit them without spending a lot of money.
The Shock Doctor 865 Knee Sleeve is crafted out of high density Neoprene.
Neoprene is a material that is remarkably tough and can withstand plenty of wear and tear from constantly playing basketball.
Neoprene on its own is also known for its potential to help players avoid injuring their knees.
When contrasted against the Nike Pro, this brace is complete with a space that is open to expose the area around the patella in order to offer a more comfortable fit while giving you plenty of range of motion, ensuring that you can still move easily and sharply on the court while getting all of the support you need.
The Shock Doctor 865 Knee Sleeve works well for athletes that already deal with light to moderate pain from tendinitis, arthritis or patellar alignment.
For those who are looking for support to relieve themselves of pain in the knees after and during games without restricting mobility and range of motion, the Shock Doctor 865 Knee Sleeve is a good choice.
3. McDavid 6440 HEX Knee Pad
When discussed, knee pads are often likened to a knee sleeve that has been padded, which is a fair assessment.
The right knee pad will fit over the knee with the same elasticity and ability to move as you move while still providing plenty of padding and protection against external stressors.
Furthermore, because of the sleeve aspect, they still provide you with plenty of compression which goes a long way toward supporting the knee against internal stressors while straining your knees on the court.
The McDavid 6440 HEX Knee Pad is the best knee brace for basketball players that need something to protect them from collisions and falls without feeling restricted in the way they move around.
When you first look at the McDavid 6440 HEX Knee Pad, it may surprise you because of its thin design, but it offers a remarkable amount of cushioning against collisions and falls.
The texture of the knee pad also features a sort of geometric pattern that gives you a bit of grip when you fall on the court to stop you from slipping around on your knees, allowing you to easily and quickly get back up and get back in the game.
Therefore, the McDavid 6440 HEX Knee Pad makes a great choice for the player who habitually dives to the floor for balls or otherwise sacrifices themselves similarly for the team.
One convenient fact about the McDavid 6440 HEX Knee Pad is that it ships in pairs unlike some other knee braces that only come with one, so you will have a brace for each knee straight out of the package.
4. McDavid 6446 Hex Padded Compression Leg Sleeve
In comparison to the 6640, the McDavid 6446 Hex Padded Compression Leg Sleeve covers more space on the leg instead of only focusing on the knee.
This provides additional compression along the lower thigh, knee and upper calves to give you the support you need over some of the most important parts of your legs during play.
The sleeve also gives you a better fit that conforms to the leg and will not slip around during games.
Even so, the main functionality of the McDavid 6446 Hex Padded Compression Leg Sleeve is the same as any knee sleeve in the way that it provides you with ample compression to help reduce inner stressors.
On the exterior of this leg sleeve is padding that will also serve as a knee pad to stop you from injuring the knee when it is knocked against other players or against the floor.
The pads also have a geometric, textured sort of design that, while protecting your knees during falls, will not allow you to slip and slide around the floor after a fall, allowing you to more quickly get up off of the ground and start playing again.
Because of this, they are particularly good for those players that are constantly diving to the floor and taking risks, giving you more confidence in each move.
5. McDavid 429X Hinged Knee Brace
Since knee braces are considered the obvious and logical next step when moving from knee sleeves, the knee brace that you choose should be one that gives you all of the compression that you came to expect from your favorite knee sleeve while also providing you with the benefits of a knee brace specifically.
One of the best knee braces that brings together the best of both worlds is the McDavid 429X Hinged Knee Brace.
The McDavid 429X Hinged Knee Brace brings you plenty of compression in the way that is provided by a knee sleeve, helping you to protect yourself against internal stressors and reduce pain, but also provides plenty of stability on the court.
Because of the stability that is offered, it is particularly useful for those athletes that are recovering from hardcore knee injuries including MCL and ACL tearing, helping to speed up recovery time and then make you feel more confident in your steps when you finally do get out on the court.
Wearing this knee brace may also help you prevent re-injuring yourself once you are healed enough.
On both sides of the McDavid 429X Hinged Knee Brace are steel hinges that go above and beyond the usual knee braces to protect your knees against lateral damage that a lot of other knee braces neglect to take into account.
It does this by stopping excessive lateral movement which also helps with the aforementioned protection against re-injuring yourself after recovering from a tear in the ligaments of the knee, especially in the LCL and the MCL tendons.
The hinges in this product also protect the knee from dangerous hyperextension, which could cause further injury.
When you put the McDavid 429X Hinged Knee Brace on, you’ll be surprised that, even though it features adjustable straps, it doesn’t take long at all to situate on yourself like some other knee braces do.
All you have to do to put on the brace is to slip it over the ankle and pull it all the way up to the knee.
Finally, close up the straps on the top and the bottom of the knee brace as well as the ligament x-straps and you’re good to go.
When you compare it to the sleeves for knees, this particular knee brace is a bit bulkier and may therefore feel a little strange to move around in at first, but if you rehabilitating from a serious injury, all of the extra protection and support is more than worth it.
6. Shock Doctor 875 Ultra Knee Brace
The Shock Doctor 875 Ultra Knee Brace is one of the most advanced, if not the most advanced, knee brace that comes from the Shock Doctor brand.
This durable, supportive brace is characterized by its bilateral support hinges, which help to stop any excessive exertion and action on either side of the knee to prevent lateral injuries.
The tempered aluminum in the brace also helps to provide stability, as it won’t bend and move no matter how you personally are bending, standing or falling.
This provides infallible stability no matter what you’re doing, helping to increase your performance and letting you play with greater confidence knowing you won’t be injuring yourself when playing enthusiastically.
The Shock Doctor 875 Ultra Knee Brace does require a bit of a break-in period, but it doesn’t take long.
In fact, just wearing it around the house or while playing a laid-back game a few times is going to be enough to get it worn in to the perfect point and to reduce both the stiffness and the feeling of bulkiness.
But, of course, the break-in period just speaks to its immense levels of rigid support that won’t let you down when you need it most.
Once it is worn in, it becomes remarkably comfortable.
After playing with the brace on for a while, the bulkiness becomes hard to notice, and you could almost forget that you are wearing a brace at all.
When you do try the Shock Doctor 875 Ultra Knee Brace on for the first time, it’s likely you’ll be surprised by how much support you instantly feel from the brace itself.
This comes from the x-straps that are used on the back of the brace as well as the hinges working in harmony to provide you with unmatched support.
The brace locks onto the knee tightly to provide you support where you need it most without fail but won’t feel bulky or restrictive whatsoever, giving you total control over your movements.
This makes it a particularly good knee brace for basketball players that tend to give it their all and end up with a good deal of knee pain and stress because of it.
The Shock Doctor 875 Ultra Knee Brace is also one of the most popular knee braces among basketball players who are currently rehabilitating from an injury and for those who have healed but are desperate to ensure that they do not re-injure themselves on the court.
It provides enough support for long games played again and again without becoming uncomfortable during those lengthy play times.
With the proper knee brace and or sleeve, you can make every basketball game you play something that is more comfortable and efficient—especially if you are an enthusiastic type of player that consistently makes daring dives down onto the floor to save the ball.
Much of playing any sport comes down to talent and skill as much as it does confidence in your performance, and knowing that you have the proper protection against knee pain and injury can have you putting everything you’ve got into your game.
Basketball ranks among the top of high-impact sports, and that is because the constant running, jumping and jogging on hard courts that the game asks of you places remarkable strain and stress against the knees.
The result of this could be aches, pains, bruises, sores, general discomfort or even injury.
By having the right knee protection, you can prevent your knees from having to deal with this sort of damage preemptively, which could eliminate the need to take time off to recover from serious injuries in the future.
Knee braces are also good for recovering and rehabilitating from injuries as well.
In this article, we have detailed several different types of knee sleeves and knee braces that you can use to suit any needs that your knees specifically have while playing the game.
We have done most of the legwork for you to help you narrow down the best option for you.