Expert Physiotherapy, Chiropractic, and Orthotics Services for Optimal Health

Knee Braces: Supporting ACL, MCL & Meniscus Tears


Posted by Dr. Scott Wilson | 15-Oct-2023

Knee braces can be very effective at providing much needed support for anyone suffering from an ACL, MCL or meniscus tear. While these types of knee injuries are common among athletes, they can also happen to any of us. An ACL, MCL or meniscus tear can be painful and even debilitating, making it difficult to perform everyday tasks. In this article, we’ll explore the causes and symptoms of these types of knee injuries, along with the role that knee braces play in providing support for management and recovery. We’ll also explore the different types of knee braces available and how to determine the right solution for you.

Understanding ACL, MCL, and Meniscus Tears

Anterior Cruciate Ligament, Medial Collateral Ligament, and meniscus tears are fairly common knee injuries and often result form sports activities or accident-related trauma. The ACL is located inside the knee joint, running diagonally from the back of the thigh bone to the front of the shin bone. It provides stability and controls rotation. Conversely, the MCL runs along the inner side of the joint. It provides stability and support to the knee, especially against inward pressure and excessive side-to-side movement. The meniscus is a c-shaped piece of cartilage that acts as your knee’s shock absorber.

Tears are often caused by sudden twists, trauma or even from excessive wear and tear. They often lead to pain, swelling, and instability in the knee. During movement, you may also hear popping or clicking sounds. Another common symptom is difficulty walking or bearing weight on the affected knee. It’s essential to promptly evaluate and treat these injuries to prevent further damage. Knee pain, arthritis, stiffness, and tendonitis are also associated with these injuries. Finding the right brace can provide relief and support during recovery.

Injury Management and Recovery

Knee braces play a crucial role in injury management and recovery. They provide the much-needed stability and support during the healing process, helping to reduce pain and inflammation. By offering additional support to the affected knee, these braces can prevent further injury and promote faster recovery. While off the shelf braces can help, a customized knee brace can be even more effective because they can provide individualized support according to the unique characteristics of your knee and the particular nature of your injury. To determine the most appropriate brace for your specific injury, it is always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional.

Knee braces offer vital support and pain relief when dealing with ACL, MCL, or meniscus tears. For ACL injuries, braces stabilize your knee, reducing the risk of further damage while aiding healing. In MCL tears, they control sideways movements, allowing the ligament to heal correctly. For meniscus tears, braces limit unnecessary knee motion, promoting recovery and minimizing discomfort. They distribute weight evenly, reducing pressure on the injured area, which reduces pain. Additionally, some braces have compression features that combat swelling and improve blood flow.

Choosing the Right Knee Brace

There’s a variety of knee braces to choose from including sleeves, straps, and hinged braces. Some focus on compression and support, while others offer additional stability. Materials vary from neoprene and elastic to more rigid options. Even for ACL, MCL, and meniscus tears, there are options. A “functional” brace is often recommended for ACL injuries. It provides significant support and control over the range of motion. A “rehabilitative” brace is for more severe ACL injuries or post-surgery recovery. It offers maximum support and restricts motion. An “unloader” brace is suitable for meniscus tears. It shifts weight away from the affected area, reducing pain and improving mobility. And a “hinged” brace provides support for MCL injuries, especially when the side-to-side stability of the knee is affected. Custom-made braces are also available. By understanding what’s available, you can select the best knee brace for your needs.

Consulting with a healthcare professional is crucial to determine if a knee brace is suitable for your injury. Factors such as severity, lifestyle, and activity level will be considered. A knee brace may be recommended as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. Proper fitting and adjustment are important for optimal effectiveness. Be sure to follow the guidance and instructions of your healthcare professional.

Frequently Asked Questions About Knee Braces and ACL, MCL and Meniscus Tears

Q1. How long should I wear a knee brace for an ACL, MCL, and meniscus tear?

The duration for wearing a knee brace for an ACL, MCL, or meniscus tear varies based on your injury’s severity, your activity level and the nature of your recovery. Note that your healthcare professional’s recommendation may change as you recover.

Q2. Can a brace prevent ACL, MCL, or meniscus tears?

While knee braces cannot fully prevent ACL, MCL, or meniscus tears, they can offer support and stability, reducing the risk of injury. Anyone with a history of knee injuries or involved in high-risk activity often benefit from a knee brace. It’s best to consult a healthcare professional and choose the appropriate brace.

Q3. How do I know if I need a knee brace?

Factors such as severity, lifestyle, and activity level will affect your decision to use a brace. Proper fitting and adjustment are important for optimal effectiveness, so it’s best to consult with a healthcare professional regarding your specific condition and needs.


Knee braces play a crucial role in the management and recovery of ACL, MCL, and meniscus tears. They provide stability, support, and protection to the injured knee, allowing for proper healing and the prevention of further damage. They vary in type and design depending on the nature and severity of the injury so it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine which brace is right for you.

If you’re struggle with or are recovering with an ACL, MCL or a meniscus tear and would like to learn more about how a knee brace might help, we can help. Contact us today and let us show you why, at Physiomed…Healthier Starts Here.

Dr. Scott Wilson

Dr. Scott Wilson is the Founder & Chairman of Physiomed; one of Canada’s largest franchised networks of inter-disciplinary healthcare clinics. A graduate of Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, Dr. Wilson founded Physiomed in 1994 and has since grown Physiomed to over 30 clinics in Southern Ontario and British Columbia. With hundreds of practitioners from over a dozen disciplines, Dr. Wilson and Physiomed have helped over 100,000 Canadians with physiotherapy, chiropractic, massage therapy, orthotic therapy, compression therapy and clinical conditioning as part of a program of rehabilitation and health optimization. In addition to helping patients improve their physical and mental well-being, Dr. Wilson has also mentored hundreds of practitioners to provide better care while enjoying more fulfilling careers. He is also a keynote speaker on many health related topics including how physiotherapy, chiropractic and health & wellness treatment can help with stress, weight loss, and unlocking the true potential within to achieve lasting physical well-being.

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