I typically refer to my left knee as Snap-Crackle and Pop and for a few years I have been using a McDavid hinged knee brace that I purchased at Walgreens. While it has done a seemingly good job, it's a bit clunky with large side hinges and larger metal inserts that provide laterial and medial patella support. It's also fairly hefty at 11 1/4 ounces.
With that said, the McDavid is the first knee brace I've used and I didn't really have anything to compare it against.
As luck would have it, I recently had the opportunity to test drive the BRDG18 Knee Brace. Please note that this knee brace was sent to me free of charge. You can read CFBs product review disclaimer here.
The first thing I noticed out of the box was how light it was, weighing just 5 3/8 ounces according to my scale. The second thing noticed was that it looks and feels more like a compression garment than a knee brace. That was something that took some getting used to in terms of getting it on/off. What also took some getting used to was the amount of compression when wearing the brace (something that I've learned to appreciate after several runs).
According to BRDs literature the G18 knee brace is specifically recommended for
Feeling of instabilities
Post operative and trauma
The brace itself is latex free and I found it to be very breathable. Features of this particular brace include
3-dimensional knit offers anatomically contoured fit. This design minimizes bulk and bunching behind the knee and I found it to be fairly comfortable over the course of my runs.
Viscoelastic insert redistributes pressure away from the patella to surrounding soft tissues.
Knee activity moves silicone resulting in massage to soft tissue.
Stainless steel spiral stays offer medial and lateral support.
The photo I've provide shows an inside out view of the brace so that you can clearly see the metal flexible stays that run the length of the brace, and the doughnut shaped silicone insert.
With 3 uses under my belt, I'm pretty pleased with this knee brace. It provides good support, stays in place during runs, is breathable and lightweight.
If you have ongoing joint pain, it's always best not to self-diagnose. Speak to a doctor to determine what type of knee support they would suggest for your specific condition.
If like me, you're simply looking for something to help stabilize the patella when running, I do feel the BRD G18 Knee Brace is worth a closer look.
Always interested in feedback from Catapult Fitness Blog Readers on what gear preferences they may have! Feel free to post here or send an email to AskTheTrainer@CatapultFitnessBlog.com letting me know what product categories you would like to see reviewed!