The best knee brace I’ve found for hiking and backpacking is the Cho-Pat Knee Brace. I’ve used one when my knee bothers me from carrying too much weight and I have a few hiking buddies who swear by theirs. They wear two braces whenever they hike, one for each knee.
I’ve had knee problems in the past and lots of physical therapy, but I’ve found that strengthening my quadriceps and hamstrings has always resolved my symptoms. There’s no doubt that I have some patellar degeneration at my age and keeping up my leg strength helps resolve the pain issues.
The Cho-Pat knee brace makes it possible for me to hike without pain. The top strap eliminates the symptoms of ITB (Illio-Tibial Band Syndrom) that I have in my left knee (snapping tendon over the knee) by compressing my thigh muscle above the knee joint. The bottom strap helps align my quadriceps muscle with my patella better, lifting it, and reducing internal friction.
This photo shows a closeup of the Cho-Pat brace. It’s made out a Neoprene and encircles your leg fastening in front, using Velcro, which lets you adjust the tightness. After an hour or so, I simply forget that I’m wearing it. It doesn’t constrict my movement in any noticeable way and doesn’t get hot and sweaty.
So if you’re having knee pain while backpacking, which can be very difficult to localize and isolate, I recommend trying a Cho-Pat brace. It can provide your knee with more internal stability and keep you on the trail without further intervention.
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