10 Best MCL Knee Braces 2022 | Buyers Guide + Comparisons

Written by on May 15, 2022 — Medically Reviewed By Mich Torres (PT)

hinges on this knee brace will help prevent excessive movement on your knees and add support to your ligaments

If you’re feeling pain or discomfort in your knee and you think your MCL might be at risk, you’ve come to the right place. 

The knee is one of the most injury-prone parts of the human body. And, among the most frequently injured is your MCL (medial collateral ligament). Because of this, finding the best MCL knee brace is crucial, especially among athletes. 

There’s a lot out there, though. But, we scoured and tested dozens of them to help streamline your search. Here are our 8 best knee braces for MCL injuries:

Our Top Picks: 

Best Overall: Knee Force Compression Sleeve
All-around compression, warmth, pain relief, and optimized blood flow to help boost MCL sprain recovery.

Best Overall: Cocoon Knee Flex Pro
The Cocoon Knee Flex Pro combines all the benefits of compression with the therapeutic effects of heat and cold. Perfect for all stages of MCL recovery. 

Best for Support: Braceability Hinged ROM Knee Brace
The hinges on this knee brace will help prevent excessive movement on your knees and add support to your ligaments. Of course, this includes your MCL.

Reviews of the top 10 MCL knee braces

After doing some in-depth research, we came up with this list of our top 5 choices:

1. Knee Force Compression Sleeve

Pros

  • 360-degree compression
  • Warmth, blood flow, inflammatory and pain relief that boosts recovery
  • Comfortable and breathable
  • High quality and durable
  • Supportive enough for mild MCL tears

Cons

  • Not for moderate to severe MCL tears

Our very own Knee Force Compression sleeves have features that make it perfect for dealing with the pain and inflammation that comes with MCL tears.

First, its compression is equal all around your knee. This gives all parts of your knee feel the warmth, improved blood flow, and inflammatory management that also nurtures recovery.

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It’s also made with top-quality materials that make it both durable, comfortable, and adequately breathable. The silicone straps lined on the inside of our sleeve also help keep it still, so you won’t have to constantly pull the sleeves back up.

However, I would only recommend this for mild MCL tears. For more severe MCL injuries, you would need more support.

2. MyCocoon Hot and Cold Compression Sleeve

Pros

  • Lycra offers both immense comfort and durability
  • Double-stitched with leakproof hydrogels for even more durability
  • Great for all stages of recovery
  • Weighted compression with heat and cold capabilities
  • Can also be used on other parts of your limbs

Cons

  • A bit more expensive than average
  • Not supportive enough to help with severe instability
  • Only comes in black

Designed for any knee injury, Mycocoon uses weighted compression to heal the body while also using hydrogel that can be both heated or frozen to provide pain relief on the go.

Comfort and Stability

MyCocoons are specially designed for comfort. So, expect your knee to feel as cozy as a bug. They do this with lycra – an expensive but superbly comfortable type of fabric.

These cocoons also have customizable temperature packs using hydrogel. You can use the cold immediately after your injury or after exercise to help reduce swelling. The heat, in turn, can help warm up your joints while also promoting recovery.

Moreover, these sleeves use weighted compression. They don’t bunch up behind your knee, stay well in place, and wick away moisture. 

To us, it’s the consummate MCL recovery buddy. But, it does come with a steeper-than-average price.

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Durability and Quality

Lycra is a durable fabric used for sporting gear, so there’s that. But, these cocoons are also double-stitched and have leakproof hydrogels.

Who this brace is for

This brace is for virtually anyone with any patellofemoral injury. For one, all of its properties help with pain and inflammation. Used right, the compression, warmth, and cold can even boost recovery. 

Who this brace isn’t for

This might not be best if you plan on wearing knee braces while your knees are still unstable. MyCocoons don’t have hinges, so they won’t be sufficiently supportive. 

But, you can still use them in this stage to warm up your joints before starting your rehab. Or, use the cold to minimize swelling after your sessions. 

3. Braceability Hinged ROM Knee Brace

Pros

  • Works great for moderate MCL sprains
  • Helps prevent injury and reinjury
  • Durable material and velcro straps
  • Wide size range

Cons

  • Slightly pricier than average

The hinges on this knee brace make it the ideal knee support for moderate MCL sprains.

The hinges on both sides of the brace help prevent excessive knee movement that causes sprains – from ACL, LCL, and, of course, MCL tears. Think of them as reinforcements for your ligaments.

The material of the sleeve itself is also durable. The velcro strips are surprisingly also durable – which isn’t something I can say for many other knee braces. Plus, have you seen the size range?? It run from S to 6XL!

But its’s pricier than the average. Not too much that I’d call it overpriced, though. Still worth every penny.

4. McDavid Knee Brace

Pros

  • Padded buttress isolates
  • Nylon exterior later
  • Made from latex-free neoprene
  • Perforated back panel

Cons

  • Isn’t the most comfortable

The McDavid 422 is a highly-affordable brace by a reputable brand, offering great functionality. We consider this as a go-to knee brace, suitable for a large variety of uses and support levels – a great all-round product.

The most obvious difference between this and various other braces is the bilateral hinge, where on both sides of the brace lie metal stabilizers that connect it to the middle to create a hinge on either side.

These hinges, in a way, act like ligaments in supporting the knee. What this means is, if you’re partaking in an activity that can stress the knee, the hinges protect it from sharp movements by preventing the knee moving past a certain angle.

Although certainly not as strong and supportive as actual ligaments, they provide a similar type of support and function. When it comes to ultimate support, this is the best MCL knee brace.

5. TechWare Pro Knee Brace Support

Pros

  • Open patella design
  • Adjustable support
  • Comes in many sizes
  • Made of quality materials

Cons

  • Gives off an unpleasant odor
  • Velcro doesn’t always work

The TechWare Pro adjustable knee brace is available in three different sizes and uses Velcro fastening straps to hold it in place.

Being made of a neoprene material allows a form of compression, resulting in a significant amount of support for the knee, not to mention being comfortable to wear.

Customers have said that this brace in particular not only gave them the level of support they needed but also stayed in place.

This is due to both the size options available and the ability to adjust the knee brace. We’re impressed with the quality of the product and we like the open patella design.

On the negative side of things, some customers have mentioned that the Velcro, though certainly helpful, isn’t of the best quality.

This is because the knee brace isn’t always as tight as they needed it.

The material of the knee brace caused their leg to perspire, creating an unpleasant odor after long-term use.

6. Ultra Sports Gear Knee Brace

Pros

  • Lightweight and comfortable material
  • Two sizes available
  • Supports a complete range of motion
  • Easy to fasten and adjust
  • Top and bottom straps for effective positioning

Cons

  • Center strap covers the patella hole

This Ultra Sports Gear knee brace is designed to offer protection to the knee and prevent MCL strains and irritation.

It features an open patella design, as well as straps on the top and bottom in order to adjust the tightness and keep the brace in the correct position.

Many customers agree that it’s simple to put on, and stays in place when fastened properly.

Most people have been happy with the level of support that this brace offers, some even reported that their levels of pain and discomfort have been noticeably reduced when wearing the brace.

It features a lightweight design and is made of appropriate materials.

The brace is also comfortable to wear.

Having said this, a few customers found that the knee brace was bulkier than other braces they had tried.

Some reported that the brace has a tendency to move and slip around if not fastened properly.

So, you have to keep adjusting it yourself.

Not only this, but one of the straps actually covers the patella hole, occasionally making it uncomfortable.

7. Pure Support Knee Brace

Pros

  • Strap-free, and easy to put on
  • Uses compression technology
  • Dry and breathable material
  • Effective at preventing joint injuries
  • Can aid in athletic performance

Cons

  • May be too tight
  • Shows signs of wear quickly

The Pure Support knee brace is strapless and instead, it slides over the leg and on top of the knee. Made from a nylon and spandex material, and available in three different sizes, it provides added compression.

It also offers basic support for the knee, whilst remaining breathable. It retains moisture to keep you dry. This means that the sleeve washes well and retains its elasticity.

Customers are happy with the simplicity of the design. They like the ‘slip-on’ style of brace, rather than one with straps that many find fiddly. The level of support the knee brace offers helps with MCL strains. For ease of use, this is one of the best MCL knee braces on the market.

Having said this, some customers found that the sleeve is prone to move around and that both the bottom and top are too firm around their legs.

Some even claimed that the sleeve started to wear down after just a few uses, indicating that it possibly isn’t as durable as it seems.

8. EzyFit Knee Brace

Pros

  • Durable and comfortable
  • Comes with 3 sizes
  • Made with quality material
  • Designed for athletic use
  • Easily washable

Cons

  • Sometimes it’s hard to fasten
  • Straps can be uncomfortable

The EzyFit knee brace is made of 3.5 mm neoprene material with a blend of nylon and polyester to ensure maximum comfort and durability and it comes in 3 sizes.

This knee stabilizer has strong non-slip silicone strips for optimal adjustment, allowing the brace to support the knee whilst providing an amount of compression as well. In terms of the compression it offers, this is one of the best MCL knee braces.

You can use this knee brace when working out or playing sports because it’s flexible so it allows for easy movements.

Customers were impressed with the product’s quality, as well as the fact that it washes well too. Some reported that, as the knee brace stays in place well, it allows the pain they experienced due to their MCL to subside slightly, making it more bearable.

Having said this, some customers have also mentioned that the straps can be somewhat uncomfortable, causing the brace to dig into their leg.

9. Shock Doctor 875 Maximum Support Compression Knee Brace

Pros

  • Provides maximum knee stability
  • Freedom of range of motion.
  • The fabric molds to your knee. 
  • Removable hinges.
  • Open kneecap, slip-up design.

Cons

  • Feels tight at first.
  • Bulky.

This is one of the most sturdy MCL knee braces we’ve checked.

It will be a great ally during your recovery – the removable hinges and adjustable straps give a variety of support levels.

Comfort and Stability

This knee brace has two metal stabilizers to enhance overall stability. You can remove them to advance in your healing journey.

Also, its adjustable straps give another layer of stability. They also let you customize the level of compression.

It may feel tight at first, but it breaks in and molds to your skin the more you wear it.

Size options: S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL.

Color options: Black.

Durability and Quality

The high-quality fabric blend of spandex and lycra will be durable as long as you follow the washing instructions.

Who this knee brace is for

An MCL sprain with mild to moderate swelling. It can also protect the knee if other ligaments are involved, like the lateral collateral ligament or the ACL.

Who this knee brace isn’t for

This isn’t an immobilizer. A complete tear of the MCL needs a more restrictive brace, at least at first. If that’s you, check the Orthomen brace below.

10. Orthomen Hinged ROM Knee Brace

Pros

  • Limits ROM.
  • Ample support.
  • Extra-long straps.
  • Extremely customizable.
  • Easy to put on.

Cons

  • Bulky.
  • A bit flimsy.

This sturdy knee brace has a dial that restricts your range of motion. You will need this feature after knee surgery for a major ligament injury.

IMPORTANT: A medical professional should adjust the dial. This will guarantee the safety of your knee joint.

Comfort and Stability

The Orthomen has side knee stabilizers that provide as much lateral support as you can get. The dial can function as a hyperextension stop as well.

Its straps keep it in place at the thigh bone and shin bone – the brace won’t shift.

Also, the straps are extra-long. This gives space for the dressing and swelling post-surgery. You can cut them short afterward for more comfort.

Size options: One size fits all. You can alter its length without tools.

Color options: Black.

Durability and Quality

The velcro and frame are durable. It will get the job done – immobilize your knee during your recovery process.

Who this knee brace is for

This is the right knee brace for a severe MCL tear that involves other tissues, like the ACL and/or meniscus injuries.

Who this knee brace isn’t for

It can be excessive for an isolated MCL injury.

What is MCL?

Running on the inside of the body, the MCL is designed to prevent or protect the knee from lateral or sideways movement. 

This is something that can be hazardous for a joint of this kind.

When a force like this interferes with the knee (such as pivoting), the MCL, as well as other ligaments, become under strain. If that force is strong enough, it can cause the ligament to fray or even tear.

Because of this, the MCL plays a crucial in stability and control, not just for the lower body, but for the entire body.

How to Choose the Best Knee Brace for MCL

In order to find the ideal MCL knee brace that will provide you with the type of support you need, there are a few key things to consider in order to make sure you end up picking up the one that’s perfect for you:

Brace Type

One of the first things to consider is the different types of knee braces out there. Familiarizing yourself with these varying types, as well as what they’re capable of, should be your first step.

There are four main types of knee braces – hinges, supports, stabilizers, and sleeves.

When it comes to hinges, they’re best at allowing your knee to move in a specific way, one which replicates its natural movements, and therefore they’re considered an advanced type of support.

The knee support is an adjustable material that’s wrapped around the knee, offering a less-noticeable level of protection than hinges.

Knee stabilizers contain steel springs that lie on either side of the knee, giving a more advanced level of support.

Knee sleeves are available in specific sizes and slip onto the leg to be pulled up and onto the knee. These are commonly used by weightlifters in order to support and protect the knee.

So, depending on the type of support you think you’ll need, pick from one of the mentioned types in order to find the best MCL knee brace for you.

Size

It goes without saying that getting something that’s the ideal size is very important, especially if you’re looking for something with a high level of support.

Just keep in mind that, like different types of shoes can often have a different fit depending on the style and use, the specific type of knee brace you’re looking for will have an impact on what size will fit you best.

Having said that, manufacturers often provide good information on what measurements you’ll need to get in order to choose the correct fitting brace. Some types of braces require just one measurement, whilst others require a few more, such as around the upper calf or lower thigh.

So, depending on what type you get, make sure to pay attention to the sizing or measurement chart that’s provided, just to make sure that the one you choose is the right size for you.

Style

As well as the type of support you’ll need, it’s also good to bear in mind the style of the knee brace too.

For example, a good option for someone wanting support that can be added or removed when necessary is a slip-on brace, which is placed on simply by placing your foot through the hole and pulling it up to the knee.

These types of braces are often size-specific because of this, as better support can be given by something that’s a more specific or measured fit.

Wrap-around knee braces are another type of style to consider, which is placed in front or behind the knee, and wrapped around and adjusted using Velcro straps.

Protection

Another important factor in deciding what type of knee brace is ideal for you is the level of protection it offers. This is usually measured on a scale between 1 and 3+, with 1 offering the lowest level of protection, and 3 or more offering the highest level of protection.

This difference in protection and support provides a great amount of flexibility when it comes to options, as it’s obvious that not everyone will require the same amount of support.

Level 1 knee braces are the most flexible kind. However, they don’t offer as much support as other levels. Although level 2 knee braces offer more protection, they aren’t as flexible as level 1.

Having said this, it’s rare that braces of level 1 or 2 support restrict movement to a high degree. Options like knee straps and sleeves offer moderate support, but still allow you to complete most of your daily tasks with no issue.

As for level 3 braces, they provide the greatest level of support, and because of this often limit movements due to their rigid structure and added weight.

So, when choosing what type you’re looking for, it’s often best for you to decide on the level of support you’re after, rather than the type of brace.

Verdict

All in all, every one of the knee braces that we reviewed benefits various levels of knee pain. They offer different levels of compression and support, too, with some others even having special features for better recovery. 

They’re all great for people who suffer from MCL strain. But, we believe the best knee brace for MCL strain is MyCocoon and the McDavid Knee Brace

MyCocoon is especially useful for all stages of your recovery, from start to finish. McDavid, on the other hand, is great for when you’re in need of stability. 

If neither of these fit your needs, there’s always more here to choose from.