A Parent’s Guide to Buying a Football Knee Brace for Your Child

buying a football brace for child
By Fara Rosenzweig

Whether your child suffers from chronic knee pain or an ACL injury, knee issues are common among young athletes—especially football players. Prevention is the key and can be achieved by making sure your child is properly conditioned for the football season, has adequate recovery time between practices and games, and protects their body with helmet, pads, and a knee brace. A knee brace can help prevent serious ligament injuries caused by trauma in football. However, if your child has been injured already, make sure they are following the physician’s advice for recovery.

Once your football player has been given a diagnosis, the next step is to recover properly. Treatment can range from surgery and rehab to rest and strengthening exercises. Somewhere in the middle from surgery to strengthening exercises, your child will need to stabilize the injured knee—and that’s where bracing comes into play.

With so many braces to choose from, it can be overwhelming to pin point which one is right for your child’s knee injury.

Why Wear a Knee Brace

  • Several studies suggest that bracing does reduce the risk of re-injury when worn during practice and games.
  • Bracing stabilizes and protects the knee
  • Bracing takes the load off of the injured knee, preventing pain during practice or exercise.
  • A combination of bracing with specific exercises will help reduce risk of re-injury.

Knee Braces: Types & Uses

hinged knee brace

Hinged Knee Braces

Hinged braces have one or two hinges that run along-side the knee to keep it stabilized. There are many kinds of braces that are designed to protect the knee ligaments and prevent from re-injury. Hinged knee braces are the best and most versatile for football players. They offer the highest level of protection for the common ligament injuries associated with football. These braces allow various amounts of range of motion while reducing swelling and pain if you have been injured. Ideal for ACL reconstruction, ligament strain, ligament protection, post-surgery. Football linemen are especially prone to ligament injuries and a hinged brace is the go-to for protecting them on the field.

custom knee brace

Custom-Fitted Knee Braces

A custom knee brace is tailored to fit your child’s leg specifically after measurements are taken. It provides maximum support and offers the best fit. They prevent the knee from entering the “at-risk” position for ligament tears and injuries. Not only is it custom-fit, your child can also choose to have the brace in their team colors. The top custom brace for contact sports like football is the DonJoy Defiance as seen on NFL linemen and NCAA athletes.

patellar tracking brace

Patellar Tracking Brace

Patellar Tracking Stabilizing braces offer an opening for the patella with straps, a buttress or webbing around the opening of the kneecap. The patellar tracking brace helps align the patellar, reducing dislocation or re-injury. Great for treating anterior knee pain.

knee sleeve

Knee Sleeves

Knee sleeves are usually neoprene braces, which pull over the knee. Sometimes you may find padding over the knee, an opening for the kneecap or a buttress around it. A basic sleeve is ideal for chronic or acute pain because it offers compression and knee support for the injured knee. Sleeves can be used to reduce swelling or treat patellofemoral discomfort. It’s important to know that a sleeve doesn’t provide knee stabilization that’s needed for post-surgery or immediately following trauma to the knee.

patella strap


Patellar straps are placed between the bottom of the kneecap and right above the shin, applying pressure to the patellar tendon. This will help take the stress off of the tendon and may relieve patellar pain or jumper’s knee.

As with any injury and brace, it’s important to speak with your doctor for the best recovery plan. For a fast and effective road to recovery, it’s recommended to rehab and strengthen the injured knee in combination with bracing.

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