6 Best Knee Braces For Chondromalacia Patella (2022) | Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

Written by on September 14, 2022 — Medically Reviewed By: Mich Torres

Best Knee Braces

The best knee brace for chondromalacia patella is one that effectively keeps your kneecap in place. This, in turn, reduces pain, helps you move better, and even prevent your injury from getting worse.

There are many types of knee supports that can do this, including sleeves, straps, and others. Our team of physical therapists tested and examined dozens of these products and put together a list of the most effective ones. Reviews and buyer’s guide included. Check them out!

Our Top 3 Picks:

Best overall: BraceAbility Patella Stabilizing Knee Brace
This was specifically designed for this injury. Its open patella design and U-shaped buttress help keep your kneecap in place while relieving pressure on your patellar tendon.

Best for recovery: Cocoon Knee Flex Pro
Combines hot and cold therapy with the most comfortable compression we’ve ever felt.

Best knee sleeve: ArmaJoint Knee Compression Sleeve
Does everything a knee sleeve should do, including relieve pain and encourage recovery – all at an incredibly practical price.

Reviews of the best knee braces for chondromalacia patellae

1. BraceAbility Patella Stabilizing Knee Brace

Pros

  • Designed specifically for this injury
  • Effectively stabilizes and relieves kneecap pain and pressure
  • Comfortable even while moving
  • Durable
  • Wide size range (can fit petites and plus-sized)

Cons

  • Bulky
  • Not for severe instability
  • Only one color

Braceability’s design for this knee brace was made specifically so you can move despite chondromalacia patellae

It comes with an open patella design and a U-shaped buttress that cradles your kneecap and keeps it in line with the rest of your leg.

It also has side stabilizers and an opening behind your knee so your joint feels more stable and comfortable while moving. The straps feel like they’re high quality, too, and are effective in keeping the knee brace in place.

To add, the wide range of sizes means this knee brace can fit those of you who are larger or smaller than average. All of its features make it bulky, though. Also, despite the side stabilizers, it’s not an actual hinged knee brace, so I wouldn’t recommend this for severe knee instability.

  • Material: Neoprene alternative
  • Size options: S-4XL
  • Color options: Black only

2. Cocoon Knee Flex Pro

Pros

  • Weighted compression
  • Can retain both heat and cold
  • Perfect for all stages of chondromalacia patella recovery
  • Super comfortable because of the lycra
  • Leak-proof hydrogel

Cons

  • Limited size and color options
  • Slides down more often than usual
  • Expensive

The Cocoon Knee Flex Pro combines luxurious comfort, weighted compression, and thermotherapy.

We’ve seen many others try and combine heat, cold, and compression but none of them, and I mean NONE of them have done it quite like these cocoons.

First, they use lycra, making it super comfortable. Next, they house their hydrogel inside the knee sleeve instead of strapping a bunch of gel packs. This gives its compression more weight while also simplifying the process of putting it on.

Buy using our coupon code and get a 15% discount on your purchase!

Thermotherapy paired with weighted compression makes the Cocoon Knee Flex Pro perfect for before and after your activities. But, I wouldn’t recommend wearing this during exercise because it slides down quite often. It’s also pretty pricey.

But, if you decide to add this to your shopping cart, our discount code can help tone the price down.

  • Material: Lycra, hydrogel
  • Size options: M-L
  • Color options: Blue only

These might help:

3. ArmaJoint Knee Compression Sleeve

Pros

  • Does everything a knee sleeve should do
  • Competitively priced
  • Can alleviate pain, manage inflammation, and promote recovery

Cons

  • Only comes in black
  • Minimal support
  • No opening for patella

Consider the ArmaJoint Knee Compression Sleeve as your safest choice.

Everything a knee sleeve should do, ArmaJoint does well. Providing compression? Solid. Warmth? Check. Comfort and breathability? It’s got that, too. Is it durable? Reasonably so.

All these features promote anterior knee pain relief, inflammation control, and recovery. Plus, it’s not all that expensive. So, really, it’s the safest choice you can have for managing chondromalacia patella and other knee injuries.

Use this code and get a 15% discount on your purchase!

That being said, it does have its limitations. For one, it’s nowhere near as supportive as hinged knee braces. It also doesn’t have an open patella design. So, all in all, this won’t work if your injury also comes with knee instability.

  • Size options: S-XL
  • Color options: Black only

Recommended: Our full review of the ArmaJoint Knee Compression Sleeve

4. Bodyprox Patella Tendon Knee Strap

Pros

  • Effectively reduces pressure on patella tendon
  • Manages painful symptoms of chondromalacia and tendonitis
  • Affordable (comes in pairs)

Cons

  • No size and color options
  • Irrelevant if you don’t have issues with your patellar tendon

BodyProx’s Patellar Tendon Knee Strap works if your chondromalacia patella came with tendonitis.

As physical therapists, our team has often encountered cases of chondromalacia patellae paired with patellar tendonitis. After all, they’re both caused by overuse, poor technique, lack of recovery, and biomechanical imbalances. So, it’s really not surprising.

That being said, you would benefit from knee straps such as BodyProx’s if you have this pairing. The strap applies pressure directly on your patellar tendon which, in turn, relieves pressure and pain around your knee.

Ultimately, this allows you to move more with less anterior knee pain. It’s affordable, too, especially considering it comes in pairs. However, it doesn’t support your knees whatsoever and it also won’t be useful if you don’t have patellar tendon issues.

  • Material: Neoprene
  • Size options: One size only
  • Color options: Black only

Recommended: The best knee straps for patellar tendonitis

5. Shock Doctor 875 Hinged Knee Brace

Pros

  • Supportive and great for moderate to severe knee instability
  • Open patella design for optimized patellar tracking
  • Durable hinges
  • Great for runners knee, sprains, and other common injuries

Cons

  • No color options
  • Expensive
  • Bulky and too tight at first (it needs time to break in)

The Shock Doctor 875 Hinged Knee Brace is perfect if your chondromalacia pain comes with knee instability.

While most of the previous choices we gave you didn’t offer a lot of support to your knees, the Shock Doctor 875 knee brace is the complete opposite.

Along with the its padded open patella design that helps with patella tracking while relieving pressure, this knee brace also comes with sturdy hinges that bolster your knee’s stability from all directions without compromising full range of motion.

This is especially good for athletes of sports with a lot of cutting and jumping, such as basketball, soccer, football, and volleyball since it helps prevent sprains while also managing patellar issues like chondromalacia, tendonitis, and PFPS (runner’s knee). It’s a bit expensive, though, and it can feel too tight.

  • Material: Latex free neoprene
  • Size options: S-3XL
  • Color options: Black only

6. NEENCA Professional Knee Brace

The NEENCA Professional Knee Brace is a compression sleeve on steroids.

Knee compression sleeves are usually just that: they compress your knees to provide warmth, better blood flow, and pain relief. NEENCA’s, though, has the additions of a patellar gel pad and side stabilizers.

The additions are exactly what makes this so good for chondromalacia patella and other related injuries (e.g. runner’s knee, jumper’s knee). The patellar gel pad applies gentle pressure around your knee cap while also keeping it in place. The side stabilizers, on the other hand, are there to add ample support.

The reason this fell lower on our list is that Braceability’s Patella Stabilizing knee brace already has these same features but it’s also sturdier. The comfort and compression of both the Cocoon Knee Flex Pros and the ArmaJoint Knee Sleeve also feels better. Still, for its price, the NEENCA knee brace is hard to beat.

  • Material: ‎Nylon, polyester, spandex
  • Size options: S-3XL
  • Color options: Black, blue, grey, high copper, pink/grey, pink/white, beige

Factors to consider when choosing the best chondromalacia knee brace (Buyer’s guide)

Comfort and Stability

Wrap around knee braces often takes time to put on. If you value immediacy, they may not be the best option for you. A slip-up design will be a better choice.

Also, if you need stability, look for hinged braces with an open patella design. Flexible hinges don’t give as much support as aluminum ones but tend to be more comfortable.

Durability and Quality

Chondromalacia patella is a chronic knee problem.

We suggest having at least a durable sleeve to manage the pain and swelling flare-ups. Prioritize high-quality materials, more so if you have some kind of instability on your in knee region.

Value for Money

If you’ll wear knee straps, keep in mind that they will inevitably stretch. Buying them in pairs can save you some money further down the road.

Also, we included several budget-friendly options because treating your chondromalacia patellae doesn’t have to be expensive.

Why you should trust Knee Force

Kris is a physical therapist who specializes in sports rehab and sustainable fitness. His expertise has led him to treat athletes from a wide variety of sports with an even wider array of joint injuries, including the overuse that leads to chondromalacia patella.

He also has his fair share of knee joint ailments – from full-grade ACL tears, torn menisci, and sprains on other knee ligaments. He’s also had to use a knee brace during his recovery from knee surgery and when he was getting back into his sport.

Hence, he draws his medical opinions from both evidence-based knowledge of physical therapy and experience.

For this article, he and our team of physical therapists tested dozens of knee braces and supports, took note of important features, and compared his own findings with other people’s experiences. Finally, he chose what he found were the best ones.

Conclusion

A knee brace for chondromalacia can be your best ally for this chronic issue. This is especially true if you mostly feel like you’re taking too much anti-inflammatory medication for your cartilage damage.

We hope this list saved you time and pointed you in the right direction so you can focus on your recovery.

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