Patella Brace
What is a Lateral Release?

Occasionally, those suffering from patellofemoral pain syndrome end up having surgery. A Lateral Release is a surgical procedure usually done arthroscopically. It involves the cutting of the lateral retinaculum, the fibrous tissue on the outside of the kneecap. If this structure is too tight it can pull the patella towards the outside of the knee, leading to patellofemoral pain.

Those undergoing a lateral release also require a rehabilitation program with a physical therapist and often use taping or a patella knee brace.

Often in these cases, long-term support is required for the patella and a patella brace is tolerated better by the skin than repeated taping.

Patella Taping and Skin Irritation

Taping the Patella has been a successful treatment for many years but skin irritation is a common problem. The effectiveness of taping is reduced when an underwrap is used.

Anyone likely to need patella support for the medium to long term should investigate patella braces.

A Patella Knee brace is easy to apply and can be very cost effective in the long run.

Can You Use A Patella Brace in Water?

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome is common in active people, generally more so with women than men.

A common question asked by those suffering it is: “Can I use a Patella Brace for Water Sports?”

As most patella braces don’t have rigid components such as hinges, they are well suited to water sports in both fresh and salt water. Most manufacturers include cleaning instructions with their products and it is also common to state the suitability of the product for use in certain environments. 

Even the few products that have hinges can usually be worn in water if the stated procedures are followed. The bottom line is that a patella brace is designed to allow you to do all of the activities that you want. In the majority of cases this includes watersports.

Taping Vs Patella Braces

Taping has been used as a treatment for patellofemoral pain for many years. How do patella knee braces fit into the treatment of this condition?

As a general rule, if taping works, a patella brace will work.

They are often used by those who previously taped but have now stopped due to:

  • The ongoing cost of taping
  • Skin irritation
  • Those who have difficulty applying tape themselves
  • Those looking for a quicker solution to taping.

If patella support is required in the medium to long term, a patella brace is usually a good option.

Patella Alta

Patella Alta is a condition where the kneecap sits higher than usual on the knee. Rather than sitting within the deep walls of the groove in the bottom of the femur, it rests above the standard position and receives less stability from the thigh bone.

People with Patella Alta are more at risk of patella tracking issues  and a Patella Knee Brace can often help.

In cases such as this, getting a medical professional to assess your knee and help choose an appropriate patella brace is vital.

Patellofemoral Pain in Women

The incidence of Patellofemoral pain is higher in women than men. This is due to the different angle formed between the hips, knee and the ground.

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is also more common in growing bodies so teenage girls frequently experience this type of pain.

A Patella knee brace is valuable when taping has been effective but is starting to irritate the skin.

Low profile patella braces are popular with active women and allow the user to continue with a wide range of sports.

Patellofemoral Pain Glossary

Medical Jargon can be confusing when researching a Patella Knee Brace.

Here is a glossary to help out:

Patella = Kneecap

Femur = Thigh Bone

Tibia = Shin bone

Patellofemoral = The relationship between the kneecap and thigh bone

If in doubt, consult a physical therapist about which Patella Brace is best for you.

Do Patella Braces Need Hinges?

As a Patella Brace aims to address the abnormal tracking of the kneecap in isolation it does not need hinges. Hinged braces are generally used when there is ligament instability. Basic hinged knee braces are used when the collateral ligaments are damaged and more complicated designed address ACL injuries.

Some Patella Knee Braces have hinges but this is often due to factors such as medical rebates requiring them rather than their being a clinical need. The only time hinges would be truly indicated would be if someone happened to have two separate conditions simultaneously. 

Patella Dislocation

Another use for a Patella Brace is to protect the knee when returning to sport following a dislocation of the kneecap. When injured, the patella dislocates to the outside of the knee. An appropriate patella brace pushes the kneecap towards the inside of the knee resisting the forces that led to the initial dislocation.

In the case of dislocation, the smaller braces offering only mild to moderate support may not be suitable. If in doubt it is best to discuss with your health professional.



A Patella Brace is a device used to treat the symptoms of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. These braces apply a force to the patella, pushing it towards the inside of the knee, resisting the outward movement that causes the pain.

Each brace is specific to either the left or right leg and cannot be swapped onto the other side.

They are particularly useful for those who benefit from taping as they can be used long term without skin irritation.