10 Best MCL Knee Braces 2022 | Buyers Guide + Comparisons

Written by on August 10, 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 medial collateral ligament might be at risk, we have reviews of the best MCL knee braces that you can find.

The knee is one of the most injury-prone parts of the human body. And, among the most frequently injured is your MCL. Different types of knee braces can help you either prevent this injury or help you recover from it.

There’s a lot out there, though. To help save you some time, we scoured and tested dozens of them, wrote our reviews, and even included a short buyer’s guide that you can follow. Without further ado, here are our the best knee braces for MCL injuries:

Our Top Picks: 

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

Best for Recovery: 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 10 best knee braces for MCL tears

1. ArmaJoint Compression Sleeve

Pros

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

Cons

  • Not for moderate to severe MCL tears

ArmaJoint Compression sleeves are the best knee braces for pain and inflammation.

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 strips lined on the inside of our sleeve also help keep it still, so you won’t have to constantly pull the knee braces back up.

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

  • Material: 80% nylon, 20% spandex.
  • Size: S-XL.
  • Color options: Black, green.

2. Cocoon Knee Flex Pros

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

These Cocoons use weighted compression and thermotherapy to heal your body.

The Cocoon Knee Flex Pros are the best knee braces comfort and recovery. So, expect your knee to feel as cozy as a bug. They do this with lycra – an expensive but superbly comfortable type of fabric.

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

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Moreover, these knee braces for MCL injuries 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 medial collateral ligament recovery buddy. But, it does come with a steeper-than-average price.

  • Material: Lycra, hydrogel
  • Size: Free size
  • Color options: Blue

Recommended: Is heat or ice better for knee pain?

3. Braceability Hinged ROM Knee Brace

Pros

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

Cons

  • Slightly pricier than average

The hinges on this knee brace make it one of the best knee braces 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 for MCL injuries. Plus, have you seen the size range?? It runs 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.

  • Material: Neoprene
  • Size: S-6XL
  • Color options: Black

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 that offers great functionality.

We consider this our go-to hinged knee brace, suitable for a large variety of uses and support levels. One of the all-around best knee braces for MCL injuries indeed.

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 from 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.

  • Material: Neoprene
  • Size: S-XXL
  • Color options: Black

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 uses bidirectional straps to support your knees.

The bidirectional adjustable straps do 2 things: 1) it helps prevent the knee brace from slipping, and 2) it adds support and compression all around your knee.

Not to mention, it uses an open patella design that helps optimize your knee cap’s mechanisms.

That’s a pretty solid strategy and, according to our testing, it works! It also comes in wide array of sizes, so there’s going to be something for everyone.

However, wearing this knee brace can quickly become cumbersome. The adjustable straps, although helpful, also aren’t the most durable. And, lastly, it sends off bad smells from sweat fairly quickly.

  • Material: Neoprene
  • Size: M-3XL
  • Color options: Black

6. NEENCA Compression Knee Sleeve with Patella Gel Pad & Side Stabilizers

Pros

  • With side stabilizers to support your injured MCL
  • Anatomically contoured patella gel pad for comfort and knee cap tracking
  • Uses medical grade silicone to prevent slipping
  • Massive color and size options

Cons

  • Center strap covers the patella hole

This knee support from NEENCA is a compression sleeve on steroids.

Knee compression sleeves are designed to provide warmth, circulation, and pain relief. You get all of that with this knee sleeve from NEENCA – plus so much more!

It also comes with a patellar gel pad that’s anatomically contoured for comfort and optimized knee cap tracking. It also comes with bilateral side stabilizers to support your medial collateral ligament, as well as medical silicone strips to help keep it from slipping down your legs.

Oh, and did I mention the massive color and size options? It’s as customizable as these things can get!

It’s not the perfect product, though. For one, the brand’s sizing chart can be a bit inaccurate at times. Mine fit me just fine but some in our team had issues with theirs. It’s also costs just a little bit more than average.

  • Material: Nylon, polyester, spandex
  • Size: S-XXXL
  • Color options: Black, blue, aqua, gray, high copper, pink gray, pink white, beige, gray/black, navy blue, skin

7. Pure Support Knee Brace

Pros

  • 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 does offers great compression, comfort, and ease of use but it’s not the most durable.

Everything you want a knee sleeve to do, the Pure Support Knee Brace does. It compresses your knees to improve circulation and provide warmth. This, in turn, gets you effective pain relief from your MCL tear as well as bolstered recovery.

Plus it’s easy to wear, breathable, comfortable, and washes well. The simplicity of it is largely why we have this on our list of the best knee braces for MCL injuries.

However, we found that it’s not as durable as advertised. It’ll do great for when you’re still recovering from your MCL injury but it doesn’t look like it’ll last much longer than that. Moreover, some of us had issues with fit.

  • Size: S-XXL
  • Color options: Black with black stripes, black with blue stripes

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
  • Adjustable straps can be uncomfortable

Velcro straps, an open patella, and reinforced stitches for lasting and effective support for your MCL injury.

Truth be told, the EzyFit Knee Brace is very, very similar to TechWare Pro’s knee brace (also found higher on this list).

They both use bidirectional straps for medial collateral ligament support, an open patella design to stabilize your knee cap, and silicone strips to help keep them in place. They both feel equally comfortable, too.

The difference, however, is that EzyFit doesn’t have stabilizer coils, has fewer size options, and is somehow slightly more expensive (though still affordable).

  • Material: Neoprene
  • Size: M-XL
  • Color options: Black

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

  • Choosing the right size can be tricky.
  • Bulky.

The Shock Doctor 875 will be a great all-around tool during your recovery.

This Shock Doctor knee brace has removable hinges and adjustable straps that give you the ability to modify your support and compression levels. Its ability to be customized is largely why we have it on our list of the best knee braces for MCL injuries.

I recommend wearing it with the hinges on when the injury is still fresh and you’re still building strength. But, during the later stages of your MCL recovery, you can use it without the hinges and use it plainly for the compression that limits inflammation.

It’s sizing can be tricky though. Shock Doctor’s instructions account for knee circumference but not for your thighs and calves.

  • Material: Spandex, neoprene, aluminum
  • Size options: S-3XL
  • Color options: Black

10. Orthomen Hinged ROM Knee Brace

Pros

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

Cons

  • Bulky.
  • Excessive for minor MCL injuries.

The Orthomen Hinged ROM Knee Brace works best after MCL surgery

This sturdy hinged knee brace has a dial that restricts your range of motion. You will need this after surgery of any major knee joint ligament, including your MCL. However, do note that a medical professional should adjust the dial; not you.

The side stabilizers on this knee brace provides as much lateral support as you can get from these productions. Moreover, they act as hyperextension stops as well – which works great if your MCL tear also came with a damaged ACL.

The velcro, hinges, and fabric are all durable and will last the entirety of your rehab and beyond. Although, this hinged knee brace is excessive for those with minor MCL tears that won’t require surgery.

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

What is a MCL?

Running on the inside of the body, the MCL is designed to prevent or protect your knee joint 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 joint (such as pivoting), the MCL, as well as other ligaments, are stressed. If that force is strong enough, it can cause the ligament to fray or even tear.

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

How to Choose the Best Knee Brace for MCL (Buyer’s Guide)

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

There are many different types of knee supports – all often used interchangeably. But, for MCL sprains, there are 3 types of knee braces you need to pay attention to:

  • Knee compression sleeves
  • Hinged knee braces
  • Knee immobilizer

Compression sleeves add warmth and compression to your knee joint. It’s great for blood flow as well as pain and inflammatory relief for milder MCL injuries. ArmaJoint Knee Sleeves are a basic but great example whereas the Cocoons come with more bells and whistles.

Hinged knee braces, such as Braceability’s hinged brace, are more supportive because of the metal on one or both sides. This will be the better option if your knee injuries have moderate severity and come with instability as a symptom.

Knee immobilizers, on the other hand, limit your range of motion to allow for optimal recovery. These will generally be recommended by your surgeon should you opt for surgery.

For further reading:

Size

An improperly fitted knee brace will either be ineffective – or worse – make your MCL tear feel more painful.

These knee braces should feel snug. Too tight and you risk cutting off circulation and adding more painful pressure. Too loose and it’s basically useless.

Most manufacturers will provide you with a sizing chart. But, while some are accurate, others will require a bit of luck and trial and error. Remember to read verified customer reviews of your prospects to determine if it’s the right fit.

For further reading:

Style

Knee braces come in many different flavors.

For example, some come with copper to minimize odor-causing bacteria. Some use fabrics that are thinner and can be hidden under clothing. Some use plain, solid colors but are still extremely effective. Some, you slip on while others you wrap around.

There’s many more designs and styles out there. But, whatever it is, make sure of 2 things:

  1. You actually like it. If you feel way too conscious about your knee brace, chances are you won’t actually wear it.
  2. It’s actually beneficial. A knee brace that looks cool is useless if it doesn’t get you what you need – be that support, compression, or anything else.

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.

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

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

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 knee joint injuries, including MCL sprains.

He also has his fair share of knee ailments – from full-grade ACL tears, torn menisci, and even torn MCLs on both knee joints. 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, 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

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. 

But, if you needed a short recap, here it comes:

The ArmaJoint knee brace is your safest best for compression that leads to pain and inflammatory relief. Cocoon Knee Flex Pros are perfect for recovery because it combines comfort, compression, and thermotherapy. But, should you need more support that neither of the former knee braces provide, Braceability’s hinged knee brace is the ideal choice.

And, lastly, if neither of the knee braces we recommended suit your needs, you could always go back to our buyer’s guide. Good luck!

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