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10 Best Patellar Tendon Straps Reviewed & Tested

last updated Oct 04, 2019
The Patellar Tendon connects your kneecap to the upper quad and shinbone. We tend to take this tendon for granted, which is the primary support for mobility in every step we take. Athletes are more likely to need more support in this area over years, however, sometimes life throws your knee out.

Our list of the 10 best patellar tendon straps and braces was put together for anyone looking for added support in this area. Patellar tendonitis straps are designed to wrap and support the tendon when you need a little extra.

You can scroll through and check out what we found as well as get some good info on the designs and functionality of these little helpers in our FAQs and Criteria section. It’s our job here at RunnerClick to make sure you're getting the best information; information geared to making sure you're getting the best gear.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 23 hrs of research

icon
Mueller Max
97/100 our score
Use
97
Application
97
Support
98
Style
97
Durability
96
Mueller Max
Why is it better?
  • Targets both the patellar tendon and quadricep muscles
  • Fairly comfortable fit
  • Breathable mesh back
In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Mueller Max
Test Winner: Mueller Max
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Researched Sources
32
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
8.5k
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
23
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
10
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
By Gabby Gabbard:

This update added 3 new Patellar straps to the line up. Copper Compression, Kootek, and PrettyCare all offer unique designs that support and aid in knee pain. Each one offers a different texture and speacial features to the 10 Best Patellar Tendon Strap list. Our FAQs and Evaluation Criteria below can help you in finding which one is best suited to fit your needs. Scroll down and get more informed on what makes one stand out aboove the rest.

Sorting Options
Use Application Support Style Durability By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97
Use
97 %
Application
97 %
Support
98 %
Style
97 %
Durability
96 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (15.10.19)
Amazon Link
$15.27
Holabird Sports Link
$19.99
See Deal
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.6
Use
97 %
Application
95 %
Support
95 %
Style
96 %
Durability
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (15.10.19)
Amazon Link
$10.99
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.4
Use
95 %
Application
94 %
Support
96 %
Style
93 %
Durability
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (15.10.19)
Amazon Link
$12.99
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.2
Use
94 %
Application
94 %
Support
94 %
Style
90 %
Durability
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (15.10.19)
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.2
Use
93 %
Application
94 %
Support
92 %
Style
92 %
Durability
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (15.10.19)
Amazon Link
$9.99
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.4
Use
88 %
Application
87 %
Support
87 %
Style
88 %
Durability
87 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (15.10.19)
Amazon Link
$12.55
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84
Use
85 %
Application
85 %
Support
83 %
Style
82 %
Durability
85 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (15.10.19)
Amazon Link
$12.99
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83.8
Use
86 %
Application
83 %
Support
83 %
Style
83 %
Durability
84 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (15.10.19)
Amazon Link
$9.99
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.4
Use
83 %
Application
83 %
Support
82 %
Style
82 %
Durability
82 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (15.10.19)
Amazon Link
$13.95
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.4
Use
83 %
Application
82 %
Support
82 %
Style
80 %
Durability
80 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (15.10.19)
Amazon Link
$17.97

Top 10 Patella Knee Braces

1. Mueller Max

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97
Mueller Max
Amazon Link
Use
97
Application
97
Support
98
Style
97
Durability
96
best offer for today
more shops
Amazon Link
$15.27
Holabird Sports Link
$19.99
See Deal
Pros:
  • Targets both the patellar tendon and quadricep muscles
  • Fairly comfortable fit
  • Breathable mesh back
Cons:
  • Straps tend to slip some

Trending more in the direction of a knee brace than strap, this strap from Mueller offers full support and stabilization to your Patellar tendon. For runners needing a certain type of extra support this is probably a wise choice. The patella knee brace features compression tubes surrounding the knee area, which help to stabilize the patella and generally keep things in good alignment. There is also a strap above the knee with this model, compared to most other straps having the singular coverage. Here is where that extra bit of support and functionality comes in.

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- Lower compression tube targets the patellar tendon providing just the right support

- Upper compression tube targets quadricep muscles to help prevent misalignment

- Breathable mesh fabric on the back for a cushy fit

- Hook-and loop closure adjusts for just the right fit

Specs:

Best use: Multi-use

Material(s): Latex-free Neoprene, Nylon

Weight: 3 ounces

2. Run Forever Sports

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.6
Run Forever Sports
Amazon Link
Use
97
Application
95
Support
95
Style
96
Durability
95
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$10.99
Pros:

Lightweight

Easy to put on

Wicks away sweat

Lifetime guarantee

Unique curve forms to fit you comfortably

Cons:

Only real complaint is it can be hard to tighten correctly at times

Run Forever Sports figured out how to make a supportive patella strap that fits just about anyone. Easily adjustable for a perfect fit that won't scratch or irritate your skin. It also absorbs and wicks away sweat which will prevent any wet or slippery feeling on your knees.

Read more

Details:

-Unisex design
-Fully adjustable
-Universal size fits most
-High quality material
-Absorbs sweat
-Money back lifetime guarantee

Specs:

Best Use: Walking, Running, Hiking, Etc.

Material(s): Neoprene and nylon

Weight: 2.4 Ounces

3. McDavid 414

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.4
 McDavid 414
Amazon Link
Use
95
Application
94
Support
96
Style
93
Durability
94
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$12.99
Pros:
  • Latex free
  • Adjustable for most body types
  • Lightweight, minimal design
Cons:
  • The one size fits all design of the newer version may run a bit small

Another household name when it comes to knee braces, guards and straps is McDavid. The 414 Patella Strap from McDavid is another solid choice, and is designed to help you overcome different types of knee pain. This strap has a specialized non-slip buttress which applies full compression right on the tendon. It is also a latex-free product (for anyone with an allergy) and it features an adjustable hook and loop closure apparatus that will fit most knees. There are quite a few different colors you can choose with the 414, and best of all its price tag is budget-friendly.

Read more

Details:

- Designed to fit the left or right knee, versatile
- Innovative tubular, non-slip buttress gets the pressure just right
- Designed to fit most body types
- Customize your fit with an adjustable hook and loop closure
- Designed specifically to help lessen the symptoms of patellar tendonitis (runner’s/jumper’s knee)

Specs:

Best use: Multi use

Material(s): 100% latex-free 3.2mm diameter neoprene

Weight: 2 ounces

4. PrettyCare Knee Support

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.2
PrettyCare Knee Support
PrettyCare Knee Support
PrettyCare Knee Support
PrettyCare Knee Support
PrettyCare Knee Support
Amazon Link
Use
94
Application
94
Support
94
Style
90
Durability
94
best offer for today
more shops
Amazon Link
$12.95
Pros:

Silicone forms to knee

Flexible

Breathes well

Stays in place

Holds shape

Cons:

Velcro can irritate

PrettyCare Knee Support offers a unique design as well as stellar comfort for the worst of knee pain. Their silicone design absorbs shock, supports and is resistant to deformation over extended use. Every time you strap on your PrettyCare patellar tendonitis brace you get a soft comfort that forms to your knee.

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Features

Absorption is built into both the silicone pressure pad for shock and movement as well as the fabric to keep sweat from irritation the knee. This also helps the patellar tendon support strap stay in place.

PrettyCare Knee Support made the patella stabilizing brace diamond shaped to add to the non-slip design. This also allows for a more enlign compression to the tendon, aiding in more support throughout the length of the tendon.

It has a double adjustable loop added to the silicone padded structure of the actual support area. This makes for a more customized fit, molding to the knee with each move.

Moreover, Lycra supporting fabric keeps the whole system intact. Holding together with added flexibility while preventing early wear and tear of the material.

Style

It’s a band-aid in the sense of it wraps around and aids in pain and fatigue associated with patellar tendon stress. It is made with the other ligaments in mind.

It’s shape, material, and security are well thought out for the perfect style. Making this one an easy to use with top-rated Patellar Support, and nothing says style like being able to walk upright and without pain.

Durability

As we shared before, the Lycra material is hefty. Not in weight but in durability. The material covers every part of PrettyCare Knee Support’s unique design. The built-in memory silicone boost healing while never losing shape. It changes shape with every movement but never loses its ability to do so, giving you continuous durability and comfort with every movement.

5. Abco Tech

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.2
Abco Tech
Amazon Link
Use
93
Application
94
Support
92
Style
92
Durability
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$9.99
Pros:

  • For great for either prevention or rehab
  • Unisex sizing
  • Fairly breathable design
  • Machine washable
Cons:
  • Sizing runs smaller than the original version

Nike’s foray into Patellar tendon straps is predictably more sporty than many of its counterparts. The Combat Patella Band 2.0 is made from a blend of nylon, polyester, rubber and even a bit of spandex for good measure. Its trim, very lightweight and it breathes better than your average patellar tendonitis brace. Not everyone cares too much about aesthetics, but for those who do this is a good choice, as it looks quite sharp. If you are looking for a bit of support for your knee and prefer to keep things stylish this made be the ticket for you.

Read more

Details:

- Made of neoprene and nylon to prevent scratching or skin irritation
- Adult unisex fitted product
- Absorbs moisture and sweat
- Easy to wash, machine ready
- Velcro Closure

Specs:

Best use: Running, Hiking, Soccer, Weight Lifting

Material(s): Neoprene, Nylon, Velcro

6. Ipow

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.4
 Ipow
Amazon Link
Use
88
Application
87
Support
87
Style
88
Durability
87
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$12.55
Pros:
  • Segmented design allows customized fit for specific needs
  • Sizing is adjustable up to 18 inches (about 45cm)
  • Breathable
  • Easily washable
Cons:
  • Some find the plastic adjustment loops uncomfortable

The Ipow strap has a little more body to it than other patella stabilizing braces, and because of this you can count on it for a bit more support. It has premium slims inserted and is designed to be worn directly below the kneecap, over the patellar tendon itself. It acts as a great buffer for the force going between the tibia/patella in the tendon itself. This strap is fully adjustable so you can tune it to just the right size, its very well reviewed, and commonly recommended by occupational therapists. Overall it’s one of the safest picks there is in terms of patellar knee straps.

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Details:

- Segmented fix design adds extra support and allows for customization to specific needs
- Double knotted design, fits up to 18-inch in maximum size
- Built-in high quality flexible slims, reduce pressure and backup your knee
- Breathable, permeable, washes easily, high quality fabric

Specs:

Best use: Running, Multi

Material(s): Neoprene/ synthetic nylon

Weight: 1.5 ounces

7. Athlerus Reflective Support Strap

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84
Athlerus Reflective Support Strap
Amazon Link
Use
85
Application
85
Support
83
Style
82
Durability
85
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$12.99
Pros:

Neoprene material

Antimicrobial odor resistant technology

Reflective material

Ergonomic shape and low profile design contours to the form of your knee allowing maximum freedom of movement

One size fits most (8-18 inches)

Cons:

Size runs a little big

This extra thick patella strap is 1 centimeter thick to provide added support, and extra comfort. The Athlerus is made out of neoprene, and delivers superior knee support by cushioning impacts, and distributing force away from the patella tendon. It has reflective lettering on it for night visibility. This fits most adults, and children and is adjustable to fit just about everyone. Its ergonomic shape and low profile design contours to the unique form of your knee, allowing you maximum freedom and comfort. Has a no-slip plastic loop to keep the patella support knee brace from falling or slipping off your knee. It also has moisture wicking material, and antimicrobial technology that prevents unpleasant odors from lingering after your workout.

Read more

Details:

-Thick cushion for enhanced support.
-Made out of Neoprene insert which delivers support by cushioning impacts and distributing force away from the patellar tendon.
-Fully adjustable
-Reflective fabric boosts visibility at night
-No-slip plastic loop
-Moisture wicking material
-Antimicrobial prevents unpleasant odors
-Fits 8 to 18 inches

Specs:

Best use: Running, walking, hiking, basketball, etc.

Material(s): Lightweight Neoprene

Weight: Approximately .8 ounces

8. Kootek

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83.8
Kootek
Kootek set
Kootek
Kootek around a knee
Amazon Link
Use
86
Application
83
Support
83
Style
83
Durability
84
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$9.99
Pros:

Exta Felexable

Helps ligaments too

Stays in place well

Nice knee shape for added support

Relief from pain

Cons:

Runs Smaller

Kootek offers a unique design that adds pressure throughout the middle of the patellar tendon to help support both upper and lower mobility. The neoprene patella brace is also more flexible than most designs, which gives more relief to the back of the knee for more than normal activity: jumps, laterals, marathon style running and sprints for example.

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Features

Kooteck has a loop latch design that connects securely and helps with slippage associated with other style straps. It works well with the tubing that is sewn into the neoprene material to add compression and flexibility.

Its Pro-tech is there to reduce vibration and ground feedback to the femoral groove by becoming a dampener, a flywheel for the whole mechanics of the knee. This SBR-buffer reduces pressure and pain, preventing unwanted movements that can create accidents.

Furthermore, Kootek is made with a light airy fabric that keeps the sweat from building up throughout your daily activities, whether they are work or gym related.

Style

Kootek made this patellar strap small and with smooth soft fabric that doesn't irritate or make the knee sweat. Fitting a knee up to 17”, the unique adjustable loop latch helps eliminate the side glide you can get with lack of proper knee support.

They made it this way to add to the comfort and style, minimizing bulkiness and noticeability. Furthermore, you can just throw it in the wash when needed and it drys fairly quick.

Durability

Neoprene is known for its extreme flexibility and having the durability to move over and over again without losing elasticity. The lock strap also has a closure for added security so the velcro doesn't come loose or undone, preventing unnecessary wear on the velcro material.

9. Copper Compression

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.4
Copper Compression
Copper Compression on a runner
Copper Compression on a body builder girl
Copper Compression
Amazon Link
Use
83
Application
83
Support
82
Style
82
Durability
82
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$13.95
Pros:

High pure Copper Content

Prevents Sweat Buildup

Good for daily use

Heps circulation

Steady compression

Solid therapeutic support.

Lightweight

Cons:

Velcro tabs can loosen

Copper has quickly become a favorite in compression and support gear among athletes and those suffering from tendon and muscle ailments. Their Compression Patellar Tendon Strap is a solid addition to their lineup of great products and offers the same high copper content consumers enjoy. All of their gear is also backed with a 30 day 100% Moneyback Guarantee, no questions asked.

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Features

Made for men and women, Copper Compression Patellar Tendon Strap has an adjustable velcro design to easily secure into place for as long as you are wearing it. Making this a great option for hikes or marathons.

Copper Compression not only uses higher copper content, but they also make their copper straps, as well as all their other products, with copper ions versus copper oxide. Copper ions throughout the material of the patella brace ensure the best quality copper content you can get in this type of knee support.

Style

Copper Compression Patellar Tendon Strap is a patent pending design that offers a simple and secure control around the tendon. It does not interfere with clothing while adding the extra support you are looking for, for those sore knees.

The velcro tab system allows for quick adjustments and no-slip security for a more comfortable activity enhancement without the pain or worries of it moving around too much.

Durability

Copper’s compression design is made for high activity. The added copper reinforces the durability and doesn't create sweat build up, which is also known to break down materials. Unlike most brands, the copper content is well above the average 4% margin.

They need to be durable to be able to function as good as they do. They were made for those feeling stiff or those who just can’t sit down and don't want to get stiff so they add a little support for longevity. Copper Compression Patellar Tendon brace lasts longer so you can too.

10. Paragon Sports  Patella Knee Strap for Running

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.4
Paragon Sports  Patella Knee Strap for Running
Amazon Link
Use
83
Application
82
Support
82
Style
80
Durability
80
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$17.97
Pros:

Secure stabile FIT

Easy To Adjust

Easy to put on

Breath-ability

Durable construction

Comfortable

Medical Standard

Cons:

No cons reported so far

A high performing knee strap which is comfortable while being worn, given ongoing targetted compression while not limiting or restricting movement. The padding built into the strap gives a soft, stable secure feeling and due to its light qualities, good breath-ability, this strap can be worn for a full day.

For convenience, the strap will FIT all sizes from 11 inches up to 22 inches and adjustment is easy via the two durable velcro strap systems. This two strap system ensures that the strap will hold for FIT and support and will not work loose while you are active.

If you have any problems with runners knee, chondromalacia, osteoarthritis, Osgoods Schlatters disease this knee brace strap will give the level of support you are looking to get.

Constructed of top quality nylon, good for all types of weather and you will not encounter problematic skin irritations.

This may well be exactly the type of support you want to add to your wardrobe of running gear.

Read on to get more details.

Read more

Details

►  A designed profile and shape which gives maximum FIT and hold for the kneee while ensuring zero restriction for flexible movement.
► The design is non-obtrusive and has very good non-slip capability. 
► The materials wick away moisture and have a high level of breathability.
► Odor problems are dramatically reduced through designed in anti-microbial tech.
► Easy for adjustment through two velcro straps working in conjunction to ensure hold and FIt and preventing slip.
► Use a soft detergent and easilly keep the strap clean.

Specs

Durable and irritation free comfortable nylon which performs well in every type of weather, twin straps prevent the strap from becoming loose or slipping even while exercising.

Suitable for a range of sizes which start at eleven inches up through to twenty-two inches, very easy to put on with easy adjustment and secure comfortable FIT.

Cost

Set at an affordable cost for a high performing and beneficial knee strap

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Use

These straps are essentially all designed to ergonomically move with your knee and not restrict movement.

The idea behind a Patellar strap is to provide additional support and compression directly to the tendon itself reducing the stress it's under.  

How it works is that the strap redistributes tension, alleviating stress on the tendon. There is some evidence that a counter-force strap helps keep the Patella and Patellar tendon in proper alignment. These straps are essentially all designed to ergonomically move with your knee and not restrict movement. There is a little bit of variation to how they are worn but generally speaking, the rest just underneath the patella itself. For experienced runners (or anyone with a medical background) this will be extremely basic. For beginners or casual runners, we aim to provide a simple primer and some advice regarding different types of straps.

If this post is relevant to you, first of all, we’re sorry. But don’t be discouraged, with proper medical treatment, care of your body and a strap there is no reason why patellar issues should keep you out of action.

Application

Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS for short), got its name for one simple and quite unfortunate reason, it's very common among runners.

The repetitive stress of running (legs hitting the ground) can cause irritation where the kneecap (patella) rests on the thighbone. This can manifest itself in a number of painful ways which to paraphrase Webmd can include:

Pain behind or around the kneecap
Pain when you bend the knee
Pain that's worse when walking down a slope
Swelling/inflammation in the kneecap area
Popping or grinding sensations in the knee, especially while in motion

How to treat Runner's Knee?
As our disclaimer states, we do not provide medical advice on this site, we do however exercise some common sense. A strap can go a long way toward alleviating some of the symptoms listed above.

Support

There is a set of metrics we applied when choosing the patellar tendon straps that made our list.

Running is a beautiful sport. As you run through your neighborhood, park, or local trail, you feel like a gazelle, or maybe even a cheetah, sprinting across the open land. The wind in your hair, the sun on your face.... nothing is greater.  And then, sometimes, we feel more like we are 115 years old because our joints hurt. One of the most commonly injured joints in runners are the knees, specifically the patellar tendon, and it can really hamper our training schedules. A patellar tendon strap, however, can be worn to help alleviate some of the pain and get us back on the road or trail in no time.

The metrics we used are based on product research and reviews about the straps that are available on the market, as well as questions that are commonly asked about this type over-the-counter remedy. Each of the key factors in creating our list of the best patellar tendon straps is explained in our guide here.

Style

There are two different types of knee straps, and they each provide a unique type of support:

An infra-patellar strap is worn below your kneecap. It applies pressure to the patellar tendon and spreads the pressure, and resulting pain, across a larger portion of your leg so that your tendon is less stressed. It is best suited for conditions that cause knee pain to occur from the kneecap and below.

A supra-patellar strap is worn above the kneecap, at the bottom of your thigh. In this position, the strap reduces stress related to IT band tightness and the resulting friction and soreness it causes in the knee. It is best suited for conditions that cause knee pain from your kneecap and up your leg.

Both straps do share one thing in common. They both have a proprioceptive effect on the knee joint, which means that they signal the brain that the muscles supporting the knee must be on high alert because extra support and strength is needed in that area. Additionally, the straps can be worn together to address multiple causes of knee pain in a more comfortable and mobile way than wearing a full knee brace would.

Durability

Some knee straps can be used as both infra- and suprapatellar straps, while some are designed to provide only one of these types of support.

Straps are, well a pretty basic thing. You securely wrap it around your knee and off you go. However, some knee straps can be used as both infra- and suprapatellar straps, while some are designed to provide only one of these types of support.

A strap that has multiple uses can be a great value and can adjust to your injury and support needs. A strap that only functions in one way may provide better support for a specific injury.

Another type of use to consider is the physical activity in which you participate. Some straps are designed to accommodate the movements required in multiple sports, while others are specifically designed for individual activities or categories of activities, like running, jumping, or field sports.

Other Factors to Consider

Features

It Must Stay In Place
A knee strap won’t provide you with adequate, or any, support if it isn’t staying where it belongs- around your knee. The ability of a strap to stay in place is really important because an improperly fitting device can actually cause more harm than good. We considered the material used to construct the device as well as its closing mechanism when ranking how well they stay in place.

Weight Matters
Runners live for speed, and most things runners use- clothes, gear, shoes- tend to be pretty lightweight so that they aren’t weighed down, and as a result, run more slowly.

The same principle applies to knee straps and other support devices. You don’t want the device to weigh you down and kill your times. A lightweight, supportive, and a properly fitted device will take you far (literally!).

Safety Hazards

There are other details that you should consider when selecting a knee strap to help alleviate knee pain. You should choose a strap that addresses the symptoms you exhibit and what is causing those symptoms.

To help make this decision a little easier, below are some extra features you should consider when shopping for a patellar tendon strap:

Allergies
These types of devices are made with a variety of materials, including latex. When you are deciding which strap to purchase, make sure to check the materials used to construct the device so you don’t buy one that is going to cause you the additional pain and suffering of an allergic reaction.

Previous Injuries
Patellar tendon straps that can be purchased at the pharmacy or sporting goods store are not intended for people that have had previous, doctor-treated knee injuries or major knee surgery, like a knee replacement or ACL repaired. If you have had a previous, doctor-treated knee injury, it is best to see your doctor or physical therapist to obtain a custom strap that will provide the exact type of support your knee needs, especially considering your previous injury.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: For which conditions should I wear a patellar tendon strap?

a:

There are a variety of conditions for a which this type of device can be useful. All of them involve having knee pain. Three of the most common conditions for which a strap may be beneficial are described below:

Patellar tendonitis (also known as “jumper’s knee) is a condition where the patellar tendon, which connects your kneecap to your shinbone, is injured. The initial symptom of this condition is pain between the kneecap and shinbone, especially after physical activity or playing your sport. Eventually, the pain may worsen during intense physical activity or occur during daily activities like standing up from a chair or going up a flight of stairs.

Runner’s knee (formally known as patellofemoral pain syndrome), is when the impact and stress of running cause irritation where the kneecap and thighbone meet. The pain can vary from sharp and sudden to dull and chronic and can occur only during running, but also during other non-running activities.

IT Band Syndrome is when the iliotibial band (henceforth IT band syndrome) becomes inflamed or tight because of overuse. It runs down the side of your thigh from your hip to your shin to help stabilize and move your knee, and when it is injured, it causes knee pain because your knee is not properly supported.

q: What is the difference between a strap that goes under my knee and one that goes above my knee cap?

a:

Before we get into the differences, it is important to know that both types of straps have a proprioceptive effect on the knee joint, which means that they signal the brain that the muscles supporting the knee must be on high alert because extra support and strength is needed in that area. The specific support provided by each strap is as follows:

An infra-patellar strap is worn below your kneecap. It applies pressure to the patellar tendon and spreads the pressure, and resulting pain, across a larger portion of your leg so that your tendon is less stressed.

A supra-patellar strap is worn above the kneecap, at the bottom of your thigh. In this position, the strap reduces stress related to IT band tightness and the resulting friction and soreness it causes in the knee.

q: How do I know if I need an infra or suprapatellar strap?

a:

The strap you should use depends on the pain you are experiencing. If your pain is occurring from your knee down, an infra-patellar strap is probably your best choice because it is your patellar tendon that needs extra support due to an injury.

If your pain is in your knee but does not go below it, or if the associated pain is occurring in your thigh, a supra-patellar strap is most likely what you need because it will support your knee and quadriceps muscles, which help stabilize and move the knee.

If you aren’t sure what exactly is causing your knee pain or don’t feel confident in selecting a strap or identifying the area that is affected, your best bet is to schedule an appointment with your physician or physical therapist.

q: What are the benefits of wearing a patellar strap?

a:

Studies have shown that the greatest benefit of wearing either type of knee strap (or both) is that there is improved quadriceps muscle timing imbalances because of a delayed timing of the vastus laterus. This helps address the knee pain you are experiencing by providing better stabilization and support.

q: Can a patellar strap worsen my condition?

a:

It’s not necessarily that wearing this type of device will worsen your condition. It is more than it will not help alleviate your symptoms, which can get worse from not being addressed. If you are wearing an ill-fitting strap or are wearing it inconsistently or incorrectly, it will not address your pain or symptoms. Similarly, if you have had previous knee injuries, it is better to get a load-bearing knee brace as it is better suited to deal with major knee problems. Load bearing braces can be obtained through your doctor or physical therapist, as they are custom made.

q: I am wearing a strap and still have pain. What is wrong?

a:

There are a few possibilities:

You are wearing the strap incorrectly. Make sure you are following the directions that came with the device.

You are not wearing it consistently or when needed. The strap may feel annoying at first when you run, but getting over a little irritation is preferable to running in constant pain.

There may be a more serious issue occurring. If you have adjusted the fit and placement and are wearing the strap when needed but are still in pain, it’s time to see a doctor or specialist. 

Sources

  1. Tom Kelso, Patellar Straps: Are They Effective for Knee Issues? , Informational Fitness Website
  2. Fleet Feet Sports, Straps, Braces, and Tape: Should I Wear Them? , Informational Running Website
  3. Mayo Clinic Staff, Patellar Tendonitis, Informational Health Website
  4. Scott Burg, DO, 5 Ways You're Making Your Knee Pain Worse, Informational Health Website