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Braces and Supports

ACL Braces

Minute Read


Posted 6 months ago


Last updated: 29/11/2022


by James McCormack

The ACL, anterior cruciate ligament, is a strong ligament of the knee. It is one of the 4 key ligaments that control the major movements of the knee. The ACL controls and limits forward movement of the tibia, which is the shin bone, relative to the femur, the thigh bone. It also helps to control rotational movements of the femur relative to the tibia. When the ACL is injured, the strong collagen fibres that it is made of are torn. The grade or severity of the injury will depend on the percentage of torn fibres. The more fibres are torn the more the function of the ACL is impaired so it may have less control of these movements.

Braces and supportive sleeves can be used to help stabilise the knee if the ACL is injured, recovering or recovered. There is a wide variety of braces. They range from braces that provide no support but good contact on the skin which can help with movement awareness. Up to highly structured, long, hinged braces that are suitable to be used with a total rupture or following surgical repair. As these braces provide additional support, many people find them useful to wear an ACL brace for sports. This is especially the case for sports that are high stress on the ACL ligament, and if they have previous had an ACL injury. An ACL brace for return to sports can reduce risk re-injury, which is greater than with a non-injured knee.

James McCormack is a Physical Therapist who specialises in knee, foot & ankle injuries. www.james-mccormack.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. The money earned from this helps us to create free educational content.

Post Op ACL Brace

ACL knee surgery entails taking a graft, usually part of the hamstring tendon and anchoring it in the knee where the ACL once was. This graft site is vulnerable for a long period of time after surgery and needs to be protected.

This hinged knee brace offers a lot of support to minimise stress to the ACL. It is good for the initial phase after surgery when the muscles around the knee are not working effectively and the knee is weak and poorly controlled.

This is a great knee brace for ACL surgery recovery. 

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When can I sleep without brace after ACL surgery?

Most surgeons will require you to wear a brace following an ACL reconstruction for up to 6 weeks. In many cases they will request that you wear it in a locked position to sleep in for up to 2 weeks. Whether this is required and for low long should be guided by your surgeon and will depend on your specific injury and procedure.


The brace is usually to be taken off to wash and to exercise. You should wear it as directed by your consultant as wearing it for too long can weaken the muscles around the knee and make you reliant on it.


ACL Brace For Football

When returning to football after an ACL injury a knee brace for ACL stability can offer physical support as well as help with confidence. Many people feel very apprehensive that the injury will happen again.

This soccer ACL knee brace is easy and quick to put on and offers high stability in 4 directions. Preventing forward movement of the tibia on the femur, rotation, and preventing hyperextension. It does this while being comfortable and flexible enough to allow you to play unencumbered.

This can also be a good ACL knee brace for wrestling and can be worn with a cover sleeve over the top to prevent it catching. 

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ACL Brace For Skiing

Skiing is a challenging sport and puts a lot of stress on many parts of the body, especially the knees. The squat position that is held, as well as the forces applied when turning can strain the ligaments of the knee. To some extent out of your control are factors like a collision or fall which can further increase the risk of injury. Knee injuries are prevalent with skiing and about 50% off all knee injuries involve the ACL.

Therefore, wearing an ACL knee brace for skiing is one of the best ways how to protect knees while skiing.

The above Don Joy brace can work well, but as less flexibility and agility is needed compared to with playing football a more stronger structured brace can be used.

This is one of the best knee brace for skiing after ACL repair or for those that want high support to prevent injury. 

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Should I wear an ACL Brace?

Wearing an ACL knee brace is optional in most cases. After surgery it may be more heavily recommended but is not always necessary. Ultimately a knee brace can offer your knee support but cannot o stop every injury from happening. A brace may offer physical restraint but also improve proprioception, making you more aware of your positioning and movements.


Braces should be worn appropriately. That is for an appropriate duration after injury or surgery and for appropriate activities. Wearing a brace all the time can build a reliance on the brace and can lead to weaker muscles around the joint, as well as reduce your confidence. Our bodies are well designed and with the guidance of an experienced physical therapist you should be able to rehabilitate after an injury to improve your bodies capacity to stabilise and control itself

Physiotherapy with James McCormack

This is not medical advice. We recommend a consultation with a medical professional such as James McCormack. He offers Online Physiotherapy Appointments for £45.

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