Skip to content
Woman in shorts shown from hips down wearing a black hinged knee brace

Your Guide to Using a Hinged Knee Brace

Your Complete User’s Guide for Wearing a Hinged Knee Brace for Maximum Safety and Benefit 

Hinged knee braces have a hinge on one or both sides of the knee for support, stability, and knee-injury prevention and recovery. Since they have more moving parts than a common compression sleeve, in order to get the intended benefit from your hinged knee brace, choosing the right type and getting a proper fit is essential.  

In this article, you will learn about different types of hinged knee braces and their intended benefits, as well as how to use and wear them properly.  

What Type of Hinged Knee Brace Do I Need? 

The two main types of hinged knee braces are prophylactic and functional. Your health care provider is your ultimate guide in choosing the right type of brace, but here is a general guide. 

Prophylactic Hinged Knee Brace 

A prophylactic hinged knee brace has hinges on one or both sides and provides more support and protection for the knee than a non-hinged compression knee sleeve. The hinges encourage controlled, linear bending of the knee.  

This type of hinged knee brace is used to prevent a sports-related injury to the knee or prevent aggravating a medial collateral ligament (MCL) injury or repair. People who play contact sports, which are prone to impact injuries, or have previously had an MCL injury or surgery, can benefit from this piece of protective equipment. 

How Does a Prophylactic Hinged Knee Brace Work?  

This brace protects the knee from side-to-side stress by preventing your shin bone from moving too far past your thigh bone, which can damage your medial collateral ligament (MCL). 

Functional Hinged Knee Brace 

man's knee in knee-cap-stabilizing hinged knee brace

A functional hinged knee brace is used after knee surgery or a knee injury, most commonly a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), or reconstructive knee surgery. This brace also helps prevent damage to your MCL or posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) typically incurred in sports which require fast directional changes like football, soccer, and tennis. 



How Does a Functional Hinged Knee Brace Work?  

This brace restricts movement during the healing process. These hinged knee braces are bilateral, meaning that they have support on one side or the other, depending on the nature of the injury or surgery.  

Can I Walk in a Hinged Knee Brace? 

 You can walk in a prophylactic or functional hinged knee brace. However, how much you should be walking post-surgery or post-injury is between you and your doctor.  

How Do I Know if My Hinged Knee Brace is Fitting Properly?  

Ensuring a proper fit for your hinged knee brace can mean the difference between injury prevention and injury aggravation. To determine the proper fit, slide two fingers between the brace and your skin. If you have wiggle room, the brace is too loose. If you can’t get two fingers under the brace, it’s too tight.  

Can I Wear a Hinged Knee Brace Over Pants? 

Hinged Knee Braces cannot fit and stay in place properly through your pants. If you have form-fitting leggings, you may be able to get by with wearing those under your brace, but it is not recommended. In fact, if the brace you’re using is equipped with a technology that responds to the moisture in your skin to stay firmly in place, you most definitely need to wear the brace directly on your skin. 

How Long Should I Wear a Hinged Knee Brace? 

woman's knee in black, hinged knee brace

Many hinged knee braces may be worn daily, whether playing sports, going for a stroll, or working around the house. How long and at what times you should wear them depends on the injury you are preventing, treating, or recovering from.  

A prophylactic hinged knee brace should be worn as long as you are performing any activity that puts added stress on your knee that could result in a possible injury. A functional brace, usually worn post-surgery, or post-injury, should be worn as prescribed by your physician.  

Have the Best Hinge Knee Brace for Your Needs Shipped Directly to Your Home 

At Orthopedic Outfitters, we offer the best braces to support you with your joint stabilizing needs. When you shop with OrthOut, you benefit from our more than 20 years of experience working with clinicians and consumers. We continually provide compassionate, timely customer care, so you can get on with your recovery, sports activities, and physiological wellness goals. Plus, when you spend $50 or more with us, shipping is free! 

Shop All Hinged Knee Braces 

Previous article 15 Simple Stretches and Exercises to Relieve Shoulder Pain
Next article The Best Sports Protection Gear to Prevent Injury