See related patient information handout on knee braces, written by the authors of this article. Knee braces In: Baker CL, Flandry F, Henderson JM, eds The Hughston Clinic sports medicine book. Patellofemoral pain syndrome: a critical review of the clinical trials on nonoperative therapy.
The efficacy of a prophylactic knee brace to reduce knee injuries in football: a prospective, randomized study at West Point. Prophylactic knee braces are designed to protect uninjured knees from valgus stresses that could damage the medial collateral ligaments. Functional knee braces are intended to stabilize knees during rotational and anteroposterior forces.

Brace wearers also have noted significant differences in joint position sense between braced and unbraced legs, but this noted difference has not been consistently confirmed.10At best, prophylactic knee braces offer limited resistance to lateral knee impact and provide little meaningful rotational stress protection. Several studies have demonstrated significant improvements in patellofemoral pain symptoms with the use of patellofemoral knee braces,18,19,21,23 but others have found them to be ineffective.6,24This lack of consensus stems from the absence of well-controlled studies addressing their efficacy. They offer a useful adjunct to the treatment and rehabilitation of ligamentous knee injuries. Patellofemoral knee braces have been used to treat anterior knee disorders and offer moderate subjective improvement without significant disadvantages. Additional well-designed studies are needed to demonstrate objectively the benefits of all knee braces. Details of various functional knee braces are given in Table 2.Accurate sizing will limit brace migration and improve brace effectiveness.

Knee braces should be used in conjunction with a rehabilitation program that incorporates strength training, flexibility, activity modification and technique refinement.
Musculoskeletal injuries are commonplace in family practice patients, and many knee joint disorders are common among them. Finally, prophylactic knee braces should be assessed daily by trainers and players for positioning and structural integrity.

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