8 Best Brace Brands of 2019 & How to Choose

From their use in athletics and manual labor to rehabilitation and safety, braces are perhaps the most ubiquitous and widely recognized piece of medical equipment on the market. 

Braces serve the vital role of providing support and protection to areas across the body. They do this by applying compression and rigidity to help limit unwanted movement and support healing. While some of the most common braces include back braces, knee braces, ankle braces, and elbow braces, there are braces for nearly every region of the body. 

To help break down braces into categories, the design of a brace can be viewed as having one of two intents: preventative or rehabilitative.

What this means is that some braces are designed to help provide support and limit pain after an injury, while others are designed to be worn during activity in order to prevent an injury in the first place. 

For example, some back braces are designed to be worn during physical activity in order to prevent injuries caused by lifting or turning, whereas some ankle braces are designed to offer support and promote healing after an ankle injury. 

Because of the many regions of the body that can be supported by braces and the range of functions they may serve, it likely comes as no surprise that the market for braces is equally sizeable and diverse. 

This means that there’s a brace out there for every individual’s needs, but it also makes finding the right brace feel like a daunting task. 

To help break it down into more manageable tasks, we’ll walk you through some of the important features to consider when searching for the right brace for your needs, and then highlight some of the top brace brands of 2019 to ensure that you receive a high-quality product.

What to look for when choosing a brace

Area of Support

While it likely goes without saying, the thing to consider when purchasing a brace is what part of the body the brace will support. However, this consideration extends slightly beyond the obvious connections of purchasing a back brace for your back, for example. 

Certain body regions—such as the ankles, wrists, or shoulders—have multiple types of braces that are designed for different injuries to those regions. Therefore, when purchasing a brace it’s worth reviewing braces for a mention of what specific musculoskeletal structures they are designed to support. 

When in doubt, it is worth discussing the matter with your doctor or physical therapist to be sure you’re getting the right brace for your needs.

Purpose of Brace

As previously noted, not all braces are created equally; some braces are designed to prevent injury while others are designed to help patients recover from injury. And, there are a number of differences between these two categories. 

Preventative braces are typically lighter and designed to allow more movement, whereas rehabilitative braces tend to be bulkier, heavier, and more restrictive of movement in order to provide more support and protection. 

Given this significant difference in design based on the use of the brace, it is worth considering how you’ll need to use your brace before making a purchase. 

Materials

Depending on how they’re intended to be used, braces are often constructed with different materials to serve a range of functions.

Some braces feature a combination of elastic cloth, padded elements, and plastic, while others are simpler in their construction. 

The composition of a brace can influence its use and its utility, but it also can impact how the brace feels to the patient. 

So, when choosing a brace it’s important to try to balance the function of the brace with what you know will be most comfortable for your lifestyle.

Size

The size of a brace is an important consideration in several ways. 

First, you should always check to make sure the brace you are purchasing is available in the right size for you. 

Many products are designed using Velcro and elastic materials to allow the brace to fit many sizes. However, braces with more rigid structure will often be available in a number of sizes, which are typically explained on the product pages. 

The second way size comes into play is the brace’s size relative to the user. This is an important consideration that is most noticeable when browsing braces that cross a joint, such as the wrist, elbow, ankle, or knee. 

Some of these joint-crossing braces extend past the joint some distance—for example, a wrist brace that continues past the wrist and ends several inches up the forearm—while others are limited to a small frame around the joint. 

Based on the intended use of the brace, it’s important to make sure that the brace you choose will not only fit the girth of the body part, but also the length and width, hitting the correct area of support.

Additionally, you should ensure that the brace fits appropriately at the correct angles of support. This is more important for braces with rigid components or hinges that need to be adjusted to appropriate angles.

Optional Features

Beyond the considerations listed above, there are also a number of optional features that may or may not be included with a product. 

While some of these optional features might not make or break a product’s worth, they can certainly add value to the brace. 

Some commonly seen optional features include options for coloring the brace, additional materials for cleaning and maintaining the brace, and replacement parts such as straps and clasps for the brace, among many others. 

These optional features are worth reviewing before making a purchase, as the convenience gained from such items might be the factor that pushes you to choose one selection over another.

Top Brace Brands of 2019

Now that we’ve reviewed some of the important factors to consider when purchasing a brace, let’s introduce some of the top brace manufacturers on the market for 2019. 

We’ll also highlight some of the features and details of each brand that give them their spot among the best of the best.

Allard USA

Allard USA offers one of the largest selections of braces available at Rehabmart. The brand’s products range from rigid walking casts and dense splints to lightweight slings and breathable braces. They also offer a selection of unique braces and abduction devices that are not available from most other brands.

Aryse

Aryse offers high quality, durable braces at an affordable price. Most of their braces feature a lightweight and breathable design that includes the ability to adjust the level of restriction to your comfort and needs.

Bracelab

Along with the traditional selection of common braces, Bracelab offers innovative, unique braces for regions that are often not considered by other brands. Their braces expand the normal selection of products to include braces for regions such as the patella tendon and the lower elbow, for example.

Chattanooga

Chattanooga braces join Bracelab in providing products that support specific regions of the body and/or specific types of patients. Among many others, they provide braces for maternity support, belts that support the sacroiliac region of the lower torso, and sports braces for small regions like the thumb. 

Core Products

As the brand name implies, Core Products primarily features products designed to provide core support. The brand offers braces for each region of the back, as well as braces for specific patient types, such as maternity support or postpartum support. 

DR Medical

DR Medical is a diverse brand that offers one of the widest selections of splints for different regions of the body. These splints and braces are especially useful for gentle stretching of injured regions to help relieve pain and reduce swelling. 

GForce

GForce is a dynamic brand that specializes in braces that can provide compression and/or cryotherapy. These forms of therapy are extremely useful in reducing pain and swelling while also promoting healthy circulation through the injured region of the body.

Vertaloc

Vertaloc offers a large selection of highly durable braces that are designed to restrict mild to moderate movement in targeted regions of the body. The brand offers most of its braces in an array of sizes, which allows the products to more closely fit the dimensions of the patient.

Summary

There is a huge, diverse market for braces. From lightweight, preventative supports to durable, rehabilitative splints and braces, these tools have a wide range of designs and applications. 

With the sizeable market of braces in mind, we encourage you to consider each product’s design, construction, intended use, and size before making a purchase. Evaluating each of these features will help to ensure that you are getting the right product. 

The brands featured in this article offer some of the most highly regarded products on the market. Their braces are regularly praised by customers for their high quality, durability, reliability, and overall value. 

To learn more about any of the high-quality brands listed above or to browse their selections, visit Rehabmart.com where you’ll find each brand’s dynamic selection of products, as well as plenty of tools and services to help make sure you find the best product to meet your needs.

For more helpful buying guides like this one plus a range of therapy-centric tips, tricks, and tools, check out our full library at Caregiver University

Author:

Megan has been a part of Rehabmart since its inception nearly 20 years ago. For the past several years she has been enjoying her role as HR Director while maintaining her Physical Therapy license. When she isn't working on her next in-service or working to find a new team member, she enjoys her five children, helping those who have PT type ailments, baking, practicing yoga, and working out.

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