Efficacy of Prophylactic Knee Bracing in Sports

J Knee Surg. 2022 Feb;35(3):242-248. doi: 10.1055/s-0041-1740930. Epub 2021 Dec 24.


Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL) injuries are common knee injuries, which can result from contact and noncontact during sports, recreation, or work-related activities. Prophylactic knee braces (PKBs) have been designed to protect the knee and decrease risk of recurrence of these injuries. Despite their success, PKBs have not been proven to be consistently effective and cost of the device must be evaluated to optimize its use in sports, particularly American football. Biomechanical studies have suggested that increased hip and knee flexion angles may reduce frontal plane loading with bracing which can protect the knee joint. This is essential with knee loading and rotational moments because they are associated with jumping, landing, and pivoting movements. The clinical efficacy of wearing PKBs can have an impact on athletic performance with respect to speed, power, motion, and agility, and these limitations are evident in athletes who are unaccustomed to wearing a PKB. Despite these concerns, use of PKBs increases in patients who have sustained an MCL injury or recovering from an ACL reconstruction surgery. As the evidence continues to evolve in sports medicine, there is limited definitive data to determine their beneficial or detrimental effects on overall injury risk of athletes, therefore leading those recommendations and decisions for their usage in the hands of the athletic trainers and team physicians' experience to determine the specific brace design, brand, fit, and situations for use.

MeSH terms

  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / surgery
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries* / prevention & control
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint
  • Sports*