Slip-On Knee Brace vs. Wrap-Around Knee Brace. Which one do I get?
Many athletes have asked me if I should get a wrap around knee brace or a slip-on knee brace. What is the difference in support? What is the difference in comfort? What is the difference is function?
LETS TAKE A LOOK!
What is the difference between these two types of knee braces?
A slip on knee brace is exactly how it is described. It is also called a pull on knee brace. You have to pull it over your foot and slide it up your leg.
A wrap-around knee brace can be placed directly on the knee and "wrapped" around the knee joint. It is open or flat and requires Velcro to hold it together around the leg.
There are advantages and disadvantages that you should know about when deciding which type of knee brace to purchase.
1) Slip on knee braces provide a better fit
Slip on knee braces tend to fit better than wrap around knee supports. These knee braces provide better compression around the knee and fit better than wrap-around knee braces. The caveat in this statement occurs if you have a quote: "normal knee". If you are a heavier individual or have a large thigh in relation to your calf, slip on knee braces are not for you. When you choose the size of the knee brace, the thigh measurement may match, but you leg measurement will be off. So save your money and stay away from slip on knee braces if you have a larger leg.
1) Slip on knee braces are not adjustable.
You get what you get. Some will stretch out a little over time and wear, but essentially you have to get the correct size or it will not fit.
2) Slip on knee braces will loose effectiveness over time.
Any type of slip on brace (especially elastic) will loose its strength and compression over time. Therefore, the life expectancy of these types of knee braces are limited. Since these braces are not adjustable, after about 6-8 months, you will have to get another one in order to provide the compression effects that you had when you first put it on.
3) Slip on knee braces are easier to put on.
This statement is true to a point. All you have to do is slide it on and your good to go! But if you have shoes, you have to take your shoes off before you put the brace on. If you are a skier that can be a problem. What happens when you have to take it off? Same thing. You maybe an older patient that can't bend down or has arthritis in your hands and don't have the strength to "pull" it up.
4) Wrap around braces are adjustable.
This is the best feature of these types of knee braces. Unlike slip on knee supports, wrap around styles are more adjustable to fit your leg, especially if you have large thighs. Wrap around knee braces have Velcro attachments above the knee and below the knee, so you can adjust the compression separately on your thigh and leg. This is a great feature to have, and a must for any heavier individuals.
5) Wrap around knee braces last longer.
Because you can adjust wrap around knee braces you do not have to worry about stretching as much. For this reason, wrap around knee braces tend to last longer than slip on knee supports. There will come a time when the knee brace will just wear out (Velcro stops stitching), but in generally, wrap around knee braces will last 5-6 months longer than slip on knee supports.
6) Wrap around knee braces slide down
This problem occurs with all knee braces, but happens more often with wrap around knee braces. This can be avoided by making sure your skin is not too oily, or wearing a sleeve under the brace for greater traction. Slip-on knee braces slide down as well if they are worn and not fitting well,
In conclusion, if you have a slim leg stick with slip on knee braces and if you are heavier or bulkier in the thigh get the wrap around style knee brace. This applies even if the knee brace has hinges on the sides of the brace.
You will save yourself money and much aggravation.