Best Patellar Tendon Strap
Patellar tendon straps are highly popular due to the high prevalence of associated knee conditions. We will cover these conditions in a separate article, but briefly, most of these result from patellar tendonitis, which is chronic injury to the patellar tendon. They function similarly to tennis elbow or golfer's elbow straps, decreasing symptoms and allowing you to return to activity.
If you're someone who plays a sports that involves repetitive jumping, such as basketball or volleyball, you are way more likely to develop patellar tendonitis. Similarly, long distance runners can also have a predisposition to patellar tendinitis, as well as anyone who performs repetitive strengthening exercises at the knee joint. For example, the quadriceps extension machine that can be found in most gyms can place a lot of stress on the tendon, increasing the risk of developing this condition.
Therefore, in this article, we would like to review our Top 5 picks for the best patellar tendon straps. These can all be used for conditions like jumper's knee, and even though the basic design among all five is quite similar, there are some subtle differences worth noting that could make a difference in your selection. We'll try to keep it brief, sticking to the main points that really matter, including some practical considerations.
Top 5 Best Patellar Tendon Straps
The first thing worth noting about the Mueller Jumper's knee strap is the extremely low cost. Normally, this would raise a certain level of suspicion; however, given that Mueller is a highly reputable brand for these types of items, you will have a hard time finding something of the same, or better, quality at the same price.
This patellar tendon strap has a very simple design. Basically, it's just a....strap! It's made from a polyester fabric and the overall design is quite slim, but they still manage to fit in a tubular insert, which is used to focus pressure onto the patellar tendon without causing pain. Fortunately, it can fit a wide range of sizes, from knee sizes measuring 10-22".
While the design is as basic as it gets, this isn't necessarily a bad thing, as you know you won't be spending money on fancy features that may be highly questionable. This knee band is good for any condition associated with patellar tendinitis, such as jumper's knee and Osgood-Schlatter disease.
Overall, if you're looking for a cheap knee band for patellar tendinitis, this could be a great option, as there really isn't much else cheaper on the market, and this is still a highly reliable brand. It's a great way to give a knee strap a test drive, which could allow you to figure out exactly what it is that you prefer. Given this is simply polyester fabric with a Velcro connection, we wouldn't expect the durability to be anything superior, but at such a low cost, there is still great value in this knee strap.
This is one of the most popular knee straps out there. There isn't any real difference between a "strap" and a "band", but many people refer to this as a band simply because of the wider appearance. It still has a slim design, but the band covers a wider area just below the knee for comfort, but still concentrates pressure in the desired areas.
Unlike the polyester construction of the Mueller knee strap we reviewed above, this knee band is made of a blend of nylon and neoprene, making it lightweight and stretchy. The fabric absorbs sweat, which prevents a wet surface accumulating on your knee, thus preventing slippage. However, the only downside to this is you may need to wash the band a little more frequently to avoid any buildup of odor.
The design and fit of this patellar tendon strap allows you to align it with your kneecap more accurately, and the dual adjustable straps also prevent any offset that you may have previously found uncomfortable. The main downside to this strap is that the Velcro, while strong in the short term, may stop binding after a few months of regular use. The knee is a highly active area, and even though the Velcro can keep the strap in place while you move, it will eventually break down over time.
Overall, we voted this as our #1 pick for best value, as the cost is quite low, almost as low as the Mueller knee strap, but a little more comfortable. It can be a great starter strap, but there are also customers who have moved on from other straps to use this one as well. It's great for jumper's knee or any other related condition, and so long as you wash it form time to time, chances are you shouldn't have any issues with the durability for at least a few months.
The reason that "straps" is plural in this case is because there knee straps often come in packs of 2, so they can be a good option for those who have problems with the tendons in both of their knees. These straps are quite similar in design to the Abco Sport straps reviewed above, but some people find the pressure is a little more dispersed, making it a little difficult to target. Nevertheless, the basic functionality is still there, and they do serve their purpose fairly well.
These knee straps fit up to 18 inches, and they do come with dual adjustable straps, which when combined with the curved design, allows for a symmetrical and anatomical fit. The fabric is mainly neoprene, which is quite comfortable, but once again, the absorbance of sweat can lend itself to becoming stinky a little sooner. That being said, the main thing that matters is the function.
Overall, the quality of these patellar tendon straps is a little lower than the Abco Sport straps, but from most sellers, you will receive two straps in the same package, thus increasing the value and appealing to those who need straps for both knees. The cost is low enough that if you do fall into this category, chances are you won't find anything much better for the same price.
We're big fans of McDavid products simply because what you see is what you get. With all of their products, they offer a good level of quality at a reasonable price, and the fact that they specialize in this area instills a little more confidence in their products.
In this case, the McDavid 414 patellar tendon strap combines the designs of the Mueller knee strap and the Abco sport knee strap by taking the tubular design of the Muller and putting into wider fabric like the Abco Sport. However, the this strap does not have a curved design and the hook-and-loop closure is from one side only, which means you need to take a little more care in finding the perfect fit and placement. This isn't a big deal, as after you do it once, you'll have it all figured out.
The material used is 100% latex-free 3.2mm neoprene (3.2mm is the thickness), which does not include the binding or cover fabric. The tube on the inside, which is used to provide uniform pressure over the tendon, provides resistance to slippage on that side, while still offering advanced protection. The only noticeable downside to this strap is that it can become somewhat uncomfortable when worn for a long time, let's say, for more than 5 hours at a time. This is mainly due to slight rubbing behind the knee where the seams are, and the problem is generally more pronounced on those who have sensitive skin.
Overall, this is a great knee strap that can provide relief of symptoms from Jumper's knee, Osgood Schlatter's disease, and really any degree of patellar tendinitis. The cost is reasonable, especially for a reputable brand that could potentially get away with charging more, but unlike the Ipow straps, you only get one in a package (good for either the left or right knee). In any case, there is solid value in the McDavid 414.
This Nike patella band is similar in size to the Mueller band reviewed above, but is more expensive due to an increase in quality of the material, as well as the stylish branding that comes with their Swoosh logo. The fabric is made of 40% nylon, 25% SBR, 18% polyester, 6% rubber, 5% CR, 3% EVA, and 3% Spandex. We couldn't find any info about whether or not there is any latex, but given there is 6% rubber, I wouldn't risk it if you are allergic.
The functionality of the Nike patella band isn't anything superior, basically on par with all the rest, but it is a bit better in terms of comfort and for staying in place. Personally, I find the smaller design is a little more comfortable. Less material means a lower chance of irritation in many cases (not all). Similarly, its ability to stay in place, especially while running, is a big bonus. The last thing you want in the middle of a game is to be constantly adjusting a knee strap.
Overall, Nike has crafted a nice patella band in the Pro Combat 2.0, but given it is the most expensive of the five we reviewed, we are hesitant to say it holds the same level of value. Of course, this will depend on your preferences. So if a small improvement in comfort and a stylish look is important to you, then it could be worth spending the extra few bucks. Otherwise, if your simply looking for something that works without anything fancy, or you want to try a strap for the first time to learn what you do prefer, then it could be a good idea to check out the other options.
How to Put on a Patellar Tendon Strap
For a great explanation and demonstration of patellar tendon straps, check out this this quick tutorial courtesy of myPhysioSA.
Who should use a patellar tendon strap?
We won't get into this in too much detail, as we have an upcoming article all about patellar tendinitis and related conditions, but we thought it could be helpful to briefly cover the basics.
As we mentioned previously, any sport or activity that involves a lot of repetitive jumping will automatically put you at higher risk of developing patellar tendinitis, or as it's often known in this case, jumper's knee. Runner's knee can be the same thing, but resulting from constant running as opposed to jumping. The only thing to watch out for here is that people often confuse it with the more general patellofemoral pain syndrome, which isn't necessarily a result of tendinitis.
So how do patellar tendon straps actually work? After all, it seems weird that applying pressure to an injured structure could cause more pain, not relieve it. The reason here is that the patellar tendon is meant to provide more leverage for the quadriceps to move the knee joint. The angle of the tendon as it crosses the knee and inserts on the tibia is fairly sharp, and by wearing the strap directly over the tendon between the knee and its insertion at the tibia, you slightly change the line of pull on both ends of the tendon, thus relieving it from the exact direction of strain that caused the pain to begin with.
For this reason, most people do not believe that patellar tendon straps can actually treat tendonitis, but rather, they are simply used to relieve the symptoms of this condition so you can maintain some form of activity. Actual treatments may vary, and these are discussed in our article on patellar tendonitis specifically.