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We are exposed to injuries in every sport. BJJ is no exception here. Actually, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is even particularly known to be hard for the joints. And the worst nightmare for grapplers when it comes to joints is knee injuries. It is no wonder then that many people are looking for ways to prevent or reduce the effects of such injuries. And one such method is using the BJJ knee brace. Below you will find everything you need to know about knees and jiu-jitsu and a list of the best knee braces for BJJ.
BJJ and knees
Knee problems are generally one of the most common injuries. And when it comes to grappling, the knee is actually the most commonly injured area of all of them. In jiu jitsu knees are just under a lot of pressure. We use them all the time, they withstand our weight, we kneel on them, etc. They are simply necessary to perform all the positions and techniques in BJJ. Unfortunately, it is relatively easy to get your knee injured with such techniques as kneebar, heel hook, toehold, etc. Of course, there is no point in demonizing such techniques. If done correctly and slowly they are not dangerous. Unfortunately, many people do them quickly, which can be injurious. This is because in such positions the knees are just very sensitive. Sprains and cartilage damage can easily occur. So such fast, unexpected movement can be very dangerous to them.
So it can be said that the knee-BJJ relationship is quite difficult. However, it is not worth giving up jiu jitsu for this reason. Instead, it is worth paying more attention to your knees and it is better to take care of them to simply practice BJJ with more comfort. More on one such great way to take care of your damaged knees in jiu jitsu below.
BJJ knee brace
One of the methods of supporting stressed, injured knees is using the BJJ knee brace. Below you will find everything you need to know about the BJJ knee brace, what it is, how to choose one etc.
What are knee braces?
Knee braces are a type of support that you wear in case of knee pain or injury. They can be also used as a help to prevent knee injuries during training. Braces are made from combinations of various elements such as metal, foam, plastic, some elastic materials, and straps. They come in many sizes, colors, and designs.
Types of knee braces
There is no one universal type of knee brace, but there are several. And they can be divided in various ways and variously named. Due to their application, we can distinguish four main groups
- Prophylactic braces – made for protecting knees from injuries
- Functional braces – giving support to knees that have already been injured
- Rehabilitative braces – used to limit harmful knee movement while a knee is healing after an injury or surgery
- Patellofemoral braces – helping the kneecap move smoothly over the knee joint.
And according to another, more pictorial division/naming we can distinguish the following types:
- Knee Sleeves – brace that you can slip right over your knee to provide knee compression, which helps control swelling and pain. This type of braces works well for moderate knee pain and can help minimize arthritis. Sleeves are comfortable and can fit under clothing.
- Wraparound/Dual-Wrap – the good type of brace for mild to moderate knee pain. It provides more support than sleeves. Easy to put on and take off.
- Hinged Knee Braces – often used post-surgery, because they provide a higher level of protection and support. To help heal and avoid further injuries this type of brace keeps your knee in the proper alignment when it bends.
- Closed Patella – brace with a closed patella (there are no holes). It offers high compression and support on the whole knee.
- Open Patella – brace with an open patella (a hole in the center of the brace). Relieves pressure on the knee and provides additional support to the knee pad with proper movement.
Why use a BJJ knee brace?
In general, braces should be worn if you’re having knee pain, want to protect your already damaged knee, or wish to prevent subsequent injuries. Braces can also be used for rehabilitation purposes. It is because the brace provides slow, limited movement thanks to which the patient can gradually regain the range of motion. Knee braces also come in handy for arthritis sufferers as they can aid in reducing pain and inflammation.
Choosing the BJJ knee brace
When choosing the knee brace you must decide which level of support you need. Rigid braces provide more support but are a bit stiff, while compression sleeves allow for more movement but less support. This decision is however based on whether or not you’re recovering from surgery, the type of injury you have, and how much movement your knee should be getting.
When choosing a BJJ knee brace, look also for levels of protection. Most often they are ranging from 1 to 3. Where 1 offers the least amount of support but is the most flexible. Higher levels offer more protection but their flexibility decreases. The highest level offers you the most support but the movement is limited. This type of brace is also generally heavier.
Moreover, when looking for a BJJ knee brace you must also pay attention to its tightness. It is because you want to have compression, feeling of tightness in your knee when using a knee brace. It should feel comfortable and provide the level of support necessary based on your individualized needs. However, remember also it can’t be too tight. If the brace is uncomfortably tight and you’re losing circulation, you need to loosen the straps or even buy a larger-sized brace.
Best BJJ Knee Brace
The choice of knee braces is really huge. Therefore sometimes it is really hard to choose something, even if you know what type of braces you are looking for, etc. And that’s why below you will find the list of the best BJJ knee braces.
Products that we reviewed are:
- Shock Doctor Compression Knit Knee Brace
- McDavid 402 Knee Support with Open Patella
- Ultra Flex Athletics Brace
- Win Zone Knee Brace
- Exous EX-701 Knee Brace Support
Shock Doctor Compression Knit Knee Brace
The Shock Doctor is one of the top companies which produce a-class knee braces. This knee brace is very well constructed with knitting, that claims to have compression points, support for knee movement for a wide range of motion, and quick recovery and relief. It is made of a very durable material and the knee brace is very thin so it can be worn under pants.
NEENCA Professional Knee Brace
The fit of this brace is just great. It stays in place and does not slip down on your leg no matter what you do. Actually, it doesn’t move at all. NEENCA brace is also very comfortable, you hardly feel it while wearing it. The material from which the knee brace is made is also very nice, the leg does not get hot and sweat heavily in it. And most importantly, this brace simply does its job well. It stabilizes the knee giving soft comfortable compression, while at the same time allowing full freedom of movement. An additional advantage is also a very wide size, from small to even XXXL, and many colors in which the brace is available. It is just a great product at a good price.
McDavid 402 Knee Support with Open Patella
This Knee brace is very durable and a hard one, once bought the fighter does not need to worry about buying any other knee brace. It is a complete package. The material of this knee brace is made of latex-free neoprene which gives ultra-comfort. This Knee brace has thermal and compression traits which give knees a breathable effect while sweating in the fight. The knee has an open patella space that allows the fighter to move easily without any resistance. This knee brace is one of the best protection available in the market. This knee brace gives the best relief and recovery.
Ultra Flex Athletics Brace
This knee brace is very popular in the market due to it a slim fit trait. The design of this knee brace is amazing as it gives ultimate efficiency while fighting or training. This knee brace is made of anti-slip silicone which gives the best grip. It is also very stretchable so the when buying the fighter does not have to worry about the fitting. Due to the hard grip of the knee brace, it protects the fighter from all knee injuries. This Knee brace has thermal and compression traits which give knees a breathable effect and relieves from swellings and inflammations. This knee brace is one of the best choices for those who do BJJ on regular basis.
Win Zone Knee Brace
This knee brace has a lot of great traits that make is a good choice to buy in the market. It is a durable knee brace that can last for years. It is made of latex-free neoprene that is best at giving comfort while fighting or training. It minimizes the tension and compression on the knees and reduces pain to very low. It is super comfortable so it can be worn under pants at all times.
Exous EX-701 Knee Brace Support
This knee brace has great durability and it is very good at giving relief from pain. It suppresses swellings and inflammations. It is designed for athletes as well as BJJ fighters; it gives well protected against all injuries regarding knees such as; dislocations, tearing of ligaments, or sprains. This knee brace has an open patella that gives a breathable effect to knees from sweating and it also relieves pain while fighting or training. This knee brace has a very good grip as it is made of anti-slip silicone, this trait makes it the best fit for any physical activity sports.
Pure Support Knee Brace with straps
This knee sleeve with straps provides great comfort and support. It is a firm fit but not too tight, it supports the knee while still allowing good movement. The brace stays in one place even with prolonged use. The material is stretchy but stays in one place without the bunching behind the knee. Extra support double straps are an added advantage. They give a lot of support especially to the side of the knee. You can also adjust them according to what areas you need support and extra tightness. Moreover, the material from which this brace is made is very good. It is properly balanced, strong, and soft at the same time.
DOUFURT Knee Brace Stabilizers
This BJJ knee brace is very supportive. It just provides great support and tightness without cutting off circulation. The straps are of great help in achieving the adjustment that is perfect for your needs. Thanks to them you can adjust the fit to be as tight as you need. This brace is also very comfortable. It comes together with a sleeve for under the brace which makes the general comfort even greater. There is also some extra cushion added for the better protection of the knee and making the whole thing generally more comfortable. It is just a well-made product at a good price.
How to use a knee brace?
When putting the brace on make sure that the hinges are where the knee bends. Moving parts such as straps hook and loop tapes should be fastened adjoining around your leg. While using a knee brace, from time to time, check if its place hasn’t moved. This is because a poorly positioned brace can hurt rather than help.
Taking care of your BJJ knee brace
Braces often get damaged during use. That’s why you should often inspect your brace for wear and tear. And when it comes to cleaning your BJJ knee brace, regular cleaning with soap and water will be the best for the brace fabric. It is worth taking proper care of your brace because it extends its use time.