Having trouble with your knees? You should consider looking into some of the very best BJJ knee pads to give your knees comfort and help prevent injuries. Oh, we’re already too late with that advice? Well, for those of you currently injured, nursing a chronic injury, or coming back from a massive knee trauma, knee pads are not going to cut it. You need something stronger. You need the good stuff. And the good stuff comes in the form of the Best BJJ Knee Braces as opposed to knee pads. If you have a messed up knee, you need to provide it with some real serious support. Your best (and most affordable) options for 2023 are listed below.
A knee brace can save your life! Well, ok, perhaps not your life, but certainly your Jiu-Jitsu career! Take it from someone coming back off a serious knee injury. Rest and rehab are fine and they’re essential pieces of coming back to full health. However, getting back to the gym only once you’re fully healed and cleared to go without any support is something none of us grapplers has the patience to see through. So, coming back to the train means you need some heavy gear to make sure your knees stay safe. Of course, you also want to be able to move as much as possible and have support particularly in the area of movement associated with your injury. Our selection of the best BJJ knee braces for 2023 covers all of the above, and then some! Check them out!
Knee Injuries in Jiu-Jitsu
Injuries in Jiu-Jitsu are a normal thing, just as in any martial art. Trauma to the small joints of the fingers and toes is arguably the most prevalent. Neck injuries are also very common, but I do think knee injuries can give them a run for second place. I do not have precise statistical data, though, nor does anyone want to see it. We all know knee injuries happen in grappling, Chances are you know someone who has one, or you’re dealing with one yourself.
On the subject of knee injuries, we can basically deliver trauma to every possible structure of the knee when we’re grappling. Sudden movements in an inward or outward direction easily tear the collateral ligaments (LCL and MCL) on each side of the knee. Twisting motions under pressure and weird angles, which have ample in Jiu-Jitsu, are the main culprits behind ACL/PCL injuries to ligaments in the inside of the knee. The best BJJ knee braces are highly useful in such cases.
The menisci or cartilage of the knee also get a beating in BJJ. Although they’re spared from the usual trauma of standing martial arts, they’re exposed to much more severe trauma. Triangle chokes, and all similar positions can easily damage a meniscus, given that they’re always done against resistance. A whole myriad of sweeps also has the potential to destroy any of the two menisci present in the knee.
Finally, there are much rarer, but difficult to come back from tendon and muscle injuries. Patellar tendons are the most likely to suffer, although tendons of larger attaching muscles also sometimes snap. Knee-related muscle trauma is rare, and usually accompanies serious ligament and/or meniscus damage.
The Best BJJ Knee Braces:
Ultra Flex’s knee braces are intended for people coming back from injuries that are not overly serious or complicated. If you have a grade 1 or 2 tear of a ligament, for example, and have gone through rehab, the Ultra Flex should be your best friend.
This unisex knee brace comes as a compression sleeve with some built-in brace-like properties. Areas it covers are stress relief and injury recovery. In terms of associated injuries and issues, arthritis, patellar trouble, and joint stress are a perfect fit for this brace. The brace helps relieve muscle stiffness, and the pain associated with arthritis, tendonitis, osteoporosis, etc. The special breathable fiber acts as a thermal stabilizer, providing your knee joint with both warmth and sufficient air circulation. Ergonomically designed with no irritation and chafing Comes in three colors (red, blue, and black) and two sizes (M and L).
Shock Doctor is a go-to brand when it comes to protective gear for grapplers. They have a very wide range of products and only the highest quality material. They’re also on the pricier side, but for the purposes of this best BJJ knee brace guide, we only include top products at a cut-price!
The Ultra Knit Knee Support Brace offers bilateral support unlike any other brace out there. It features a dual wrap and special hinges, along with state-of-the-art compression technology. This is a Level 3 brace, meaning it can help you deal with even the most devastating knee trauma. These include ACL/PCL injuries, patellar instability, meniscal trauma, and more. The dual wraps allow you to adjust the brace and provide additional comfort. Easy to wear under Gi pants and extremely performance-oriented. You can choose between the full support dual wraps and hinges version, moderate support wraps & stays one, or a gel and stays combo for less serious knee injuries. Sizes go from small to extra large. Comes in black.
McDavid’s knee compression sleeve is a Neoprene brace that’s well suited for lesser injuries. It is a unisex brace that is really affordable, ultra-comfortable, and provides great support, particularly in case of muscle and tendon injuries.
The McDavid knee compression sleeve features an open patella and provides extreme compression for your knee joint. It is specifically designed to improve blood flow, allowing your knee to heal faster even during training. Helps protect the knee during occurrences of arthritis, tendonitis, bursitis, patellar injuries, meniscal tears, etc. High-quality 5-needle stitching means the brace will not fail even under the most stressful of conditions. The Neoprene makes it extra elastic and provides great breathability. This, in turn, guarantees the brace will stay in place and not slip down the leg. Available in black, with the McDavid logo in red and white. Comes in sizes small through XXL.
As someone recovering from an LCL tear at the moment, I can personally vouch for this particular knee brace. Bauerfeind is a brand that specializes in high-level protective gear for professional athletes. They’re arguably the best producer of high-quality braces, including knee braces.
The GenuTrain Knee Support series features a brace that’s perfect for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu athletes. It provides targeted support for your injured knee joint. Injuries it covers include all kinds of knee pain and strains, meniscus tears, swelling, instability, osteoarthritis, and collateral ligament damage. It delivers gradient medical-level compression and promotes circulation while maximally supporting your knee. The fabric is ultra-soft, featuring a special Bauerfeind knit, breathable, and moisture-wicking properties. There’s an incorporated viscoelastic Omega pad around the kneecap to relieve pressure. Gel nubs provide additional massaging during training. There are two spiral stays at each side of the brace to guarantee lateral and medial stability. Includes specialty meniscus pads. Available in three colors and a dozen different sizes. Certainly one of the very best BJJ knee braces in existence!
As we near the end of our list of best BJJ knee braces, we need to take a look at a heavy-duty option for those with significant damage. You know you’re really on to something when there’s a lifetime warranty attached to it. The Winzone knee brace wraps around the knee and is made of the highest quality material.
The first significant characteristic is the open patella region, which additionally compresses the kneecap and associated tendons. As far as abilities to help with injuries go, this brace can help you deal with arthritis or internal ligament damage, like PCL or ACL. It greatly reduces the stress to the knee joint during any kind of physical activity. This brace is incredibly comfortable for such a heavy-duty product. The fact that it wraps around with two straps means it offers double the amount of support compared to regular knee pads. Comes in black and one adjustable size that fits all.
The EXOUS Knee Brace is, in essence, a hug for your knee. As far as the best BJJ knee braces go, this one is a top contender. It can do anything, from preventing abrasions to helping severe cases of ACL tears and/or patellar tendonitis.
This knee brace features a unique 4-way compression system that covers every angle of the knee that needs support. It is the best option for stabilizing particularly weak knee joints, like post-surgery or after long-term injuries. This system also helps keep the brace in place. There are 4 straps that go strategically around the knee, making this the most secure knee pad ever. The maximal measurement this brace can successfully cover ar 16-18 inch calves and 20-inch upper thighs. Comes in black.
Rounding off our selection of the very best BJJ knee braces for 2023 is another SHock Doctor brace, albeit a very different one. This wrap-around brace is a unisex brace that fits on either knee and helps provide support covering a very wide range of knee ailments.
This time, Shock Doctor offers a premium quality N-Tex Neoprene brace that offers therapeutic warmth and extensive healing properties. The dual center strap design ensures a tight-fitting wrap and comfort and flexibility. Moreover, built-in pre-curved support guarantees instant pain relief and amazing support. Increasing blood flow is the main characteristic of this Shock Doctor brace, which it achieves through state-of-the-art targeted compression. Comes in black and in one size only, given its adjustability. 100% money-back guarantee or replacement policy. Helpful for all muscular and meniscal injuries, as well as grade 1 and 2 ligament tears.
The dangers of coming back from a knee injury too soon, or rolling without the help of one of the best BJJ knee braces are potentially devastating. If you’re really careful, re-injury of the same structure is not very probable. However, favoring a certain part of your knee, or training with one that’s not strong enough results in trouble for other structures in your knee. For example, if you injure your LCL, and come back too soon, you’re very likely to also tear your ACL. the reason for this is that favoring your knee for certain motions puts more strain on other structures. it also means can end up with a useless knee and wave goodbye to sports. In severe cases, you might even end up injuring the opposite side knee as a result, of your ankle or hip, as a result of compensation.
While some people still think knee braces are giant pieces of equipment that impede movement, you know from our guide above that this is not the case. A solid knee brace means you can move freely while making sure that your knee has the support it requires. Even better, you can now go with a knee brace that supports all knee structures, or a highly specialized one. Whatever the case, you now know which are the best BJJ knee braces and where to get them!
All in all, whenever you end up clutching your knee, you’ll be in need of a knee brace. Our guide is not only the most comprehensive one but also features only the highest grade, best-priced braces. Choose whatever you need, from specialized and lightweight to complete protective gear that’ll keep both your knee joints safe from further injury.
As a final note, make sure you’re not wearing a brace at all times (apart from the period right after an injury). This can make your knee musculature weaker. Instead, use the brace only when you’re training/rolling and forget all about knee pain!