Knee injuries are one of the most common injuries in football and can be caused from crunching tackles or the fast-paced cutting and turning manoeuvres carried out by players. So, to be more confident in your joints stability and to get back on the pitch as soon as possible many people will wear a knee support.
A player would be wanting to wear a knee support to provide support to the knee joint, reduce lateral and rotational movement, stabilise the knee cap or prevent excess movement. Additionally, a brace may provide warmth, compression and increase blood flow.
Although a brace will provide numerous benefits for the person wearing it what threats could it pose to another player on the pitch?
FIFA, the governing body of football across the world 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.”
However, due to the wide range of braces and supports available FIFA cannot apply a blanket rule, meaning the decision of whether a brace is suitable is down to each individual referee.
Which Knee Support is best for football?
If you require a knee support when playing football, it is important to carefully consider the type of brace or support you purchase.
Key factors to consider are the rules of the sport, the type of injury you sustained and the level of support you are looking for.
The use of a hinged knee brace is not forbidden and may be allowed by some referees, but players using a hinged knee brace should expect inspections from referees and the possibility the brace may not be able to be used.
But if a hinged knee brace is a necessity for your knee then you should look for a brace which comes with padding to cover the metal hinges.
However, in order to avoid this situation, we recommend using a stabilised knee support, as its lighter weight and more flexible metal springs and stays are embedded into the material of the support.
Another option may be using a simple knee support which has no metal parts, as they will not noticeably affect your knees range of motion. Which makes them suitable for sports such as football where the knee needs to bend to near its full range.
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.
If a hinged brace is required, it 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. These should not be used in sport and are more for early stage rehabilitation of severe injuries.