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Can I wear a knee support during a football match, or am I breaking the rules?

With the Brazilian World Cup now in full swing, we’re going to examine one of the most regular injuries in football.  Knee injuries are common in football due to the contact element of tackles, as well as the fast paced cutting and turning manoeuvres. In order to get back to playing as soon as possible and to feel more confident in the joint’s stability, many players make the decision to wear a knee support. But have you thought about the safety impact of other players, and are all types of knee support allowed to be worn during a match?

What does FIFA say about Knee braces?

FIFA is the Federation Internationale de Football Association which governs football across the world. Their ruling on knee supports and braces states that: “The vast majority of commercially manufactured supports are safe to use. These items pose less of a hazard than players accidentally banging heads, for instance. The major concern is not the hardness of the equipment alone, rather it should be whether any part of it can cut or wound another player. Any support must be safe for all players and adequately padded if necessary.”

The aim of wearing a knee support can be to: Provide support to the knee joint, Reduce lateral and rotational movements which may cause injury or aggravate an old injury, Stabilise the knee cap and prevent excess movement, Provide warmth, compression and increased blood flow and Act as a psychological aid after injury.

Which Knee Support is best for Football?

If you have made the decision to wear a knee support for football, it is important to carefully consider the type of brace or support you purchase. This decision should be motivated by the rules of the sport, the type of injury sustained, the level of instability at the joint and the movement required versus the support required. Due to the wide range of knee supports and braces available, FIFA say it is impossible to apply a blanket rule for their use. Therefore, the decision on whether a brace is suitable is down to each individual Referee, who may permit or deny the player the use of the support in question. With this in mind, we believe that the use of hinged knee braces is not forbidden, but players choosing to wear supports with solid metal parts should expect inspections from referees and the possibility that the brace may not be permitted. In order to avoid this situation, we recommend opting for a stabilised knee support which has lighter weight and more flexible metal stays or springs which are embedded into the material of the support. If a hinged brace is a necessity, ensure you opt for one which has padding covering the metal hinges. A knee support for football must also be comfortable to wear throughout a match. An uncomfortable support will take your mind off the game and mean you are less likely to wear it in the future. Most simple knee supports with no metal parts are comfortable and will not noticeably affect your knee range of motion, making them perfect for sports like football where the need to bend the knee to near full range is required for kicking and running. Stabilising (or medium level) supports with metal stays will generally allow adequate movement, although you may want to stay clear of supports with additional strapping as these can feel quite restrictive. In cases where a hinged brace is required, these will mostly allow near full movement at the knee, although many have hyperextension stops to prevent the knee over straightening to protect it from certain injuries. Some also have settings to allow the user to limit the range of movement permitted. These should not be used in sport and are more for early stage rehabilitation of severe injuries. Whilst hinged braces should be comfortable enough to wear for long periods, the extra weight and width of them may take a while to get used to.

See our Suggested Medium Level Football Knee braces with Stabilising Stays

Or our more supportive High Level Knee Braces with Hinges


See our full range of Knee Supports and Knee Braces

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