A good knee brace?
April 24, 2007 3:35 PM   Subscribe

Please help me choose the right knee brace for hiking that does not cause further pain.

I'm experiencing what I believe is tendonitis in my knee when hiking. I've seen my doctor, and he suggested exercise, anti-inflammatories and a knee brace.

So, I got this McDavid 421 and just tried it for the first time on a 12-mile hike. My knee was fine, but I've also given it a several month (winter) rest, so I'm not sure if it was the brace, the ibuprofen, the rest, or some combination.

Anyway, I have two issues with the brace:
1. Now that I've done some research, it seems like this one isn't even made for tendonitis, but rather for patella support
2. The back of the knee brace pinches with each footstep. About halfway through the hike, it was painful enough that I just took it off. Mainly because of this, I won't be using it again.

Does anyone have a recommendation for a comfortable and supportive brace?

I have seen this thread, but it got so few responses, I thought I'd give it another shot.

posted by SampleSize to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (2 answers total)
There are many different kinds of knee problems, three kinds of knee tendonitis that I know of, and telling the difference between all of them is not easy. I would not use a knee brace for hiking unless specifically prescribed to you by a specialist for this purpose(not your general practitioner). Knee braces can aggravate existing conditions and their primary benefit besides warmth is that of a placebo or distraction by causing secondary discomfort. In some cases they can be useful by adjusting tracking of the patella, limiting range of motion, or serving as a reminder not to do certain things. But these are only helpful in combating specific problems.

If you want to buy something to help your knees buy an orthotic footbed or superfeet sole inserts for your hiking shoes and some trekking poles.
posted by Manjusri at 5:22 PM on April 24, 2007

I guess I should come clean and mention that I do use a jumper's knee strap in conditions with unpredictable footing or that require deep knee bends. It can help cope with patellar tendonitis, but I take it off as soon as I get to more level terrain where it causes more irritation of the patellar tendon than it prevents (but not as much as the standard sleeve braces).
posted by Manjusri at 5:36 PM on April 24, 2007

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