Do you wear a custom knee brace to combat knee ligament instability?

Do you wear a custom knee brace to combat knee ligament instability? ACL, Custom Knee Brace, DonJoy, Knee, Knee Injury, Knee Instability, MCL, Ossur, PCL Bracelayer® Canada | Knee Compression Gear

Custom Knee Braces and Rehab are the Best Non-Surgical Options to Fight Knee Instability

I've been wearing a custom, rigid, hinged knee brace due to an ACL injury, which resulted in severe stability problems in my left knee, for over 20 years. I have experienced a few chronic issues with these braces over the years, which I will discuss shortly, but all-in-all, customized knee braces are a true lifesaver for those wanting to maintain an active lifestyle while dealing with knee advanced problems. 

Bracelayer Compression Pants DonJoy Defiance ACL Knee Brace

When knee ligaments are damaged the result can be severe knee instability and pain, not to mention all the other ways it can impact one’s daily routine and lifestyle. And the best, non-surgical option to combat knee instability is to get fitted and wear a custom knee brace. Most custom braces are rigid and have one or two hinges. Sometimes, the orthopedic technician fitting you for your brace will make a knee and leg cast and use the mold to have the custom-fitted knee brace made. Or they may simply take detailed measurements of the joint and leg as a reference for the custom knee brace manufacturer. 

Knee Injuries are a Pain in the Leg Joint

I’ve been wearing a custom knee brace since I was 15 years old to combat severe knee instability. My knee troubles stem from an injury during a high school basketball game. I was taking the last step for a layup when my left foot planted in some water that had been spilled on the court. My knee bent left and there was a loud but muffled popping sound. The pain was fairly intense and the swelling was immediate. By the time the game had ended and we drove back to our town, which was about an hour away, my knee seemed to be the size of my head. I could barely bend it due to the swelling.

I suffered a complete tear of my left ACL during that basketball game. The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is a commonly injured knee ligament, particularly in sports that involve jumping, planting & twisting, and changing direction. The ACL connects the thighbone to the shinbone and plays an integral part in knee stabilization. It was a devastating blow for a young person whose life revolved around sports. 

Bracelayer Knee Brace Compression Pants Basketball Bball

"Blow Outs" & Reconstructive Knee Operations 

My bones were still growing, so the orthopedic doctor suggested that I wait to have surgery, which I did. Unfortunately, during that time I was overly active and would continuously “blow out” my knee during volleyball and hockey games and while snowboarding.

During this waiting period, I ripped up a good amount of additional meniscus and cartilage which was removed during my first ACL reconstruction the following year, when I was 16. They used a patellar tendon graft for this reconstruction, but within six months I knew it hadn’t held. My knee was continuing to blow out at all too frequent intervals. In hindsight, I could have taken it a lot easier and probably held off even longer to have the ACL reconstruction  but teenagers are full energy, stubborn, and “invisible.” And as my mother would say, “hindsight is 20/20”.

ACL ligament Anterior Crutiate Ligament Tear SurgeryI tried not to let my injury slow me down, but over the course of the next twenty-plus years, I had a number of knee operations. These included a few arthroscopic surgeries to remove more damaged meniscus and cartilage, as well as two more unsuccessful ACL reconstructions using a hamstring tendon graft from my left leg and then right leg. Most recently, my surgeon performed an opening wedge high tibial osteotomy, where my tibia plateau was cut in half and a wedge-shaped disc from my pelvic bone was inserted into it. This surgery is intended to realign the knee and allow the patient to carry more weight on the healthiest part of their knee.

Custom Fitted ACL Knee Braces Help you to Maintain an Active Lifestyle  

Throughout the course of all these knee surgeries, l have been able to maintain an active lifestyle, largely thanks to custom knee braces. My first three rigid, hinged knee braces were made in Richmond B.C. by Generation II Inc. (now Össur). These braces were the Generation II Extreme Custom ACL knee braces, which featured a single hinge on the outside out the knee and a nice secure fit.

The next type of brace I tried was an Össur CTi Custom ACL brace, which has a double hinge design. Unfortunately, I couldn’t use my CTi brace for very long, as I had my high-tibial osteotomy surgery done shortly after having it made. The surgery changed the angle of my knee leg enough that the custom brace no longer had a custom fit and couldn't be used.

I now find myself sporting a DonJoy Defiance III custom ACL knee brace, which is a great choice for anyone with severe knee instability. It also has a double hinge design and fits like a glove. I am in the market for a new brace again next year and will most likely go with another Donjoy Defiance knee brace.

There is a number a great custom knee brace manufacturers including DonJoy GlobalBreg Inc. and Össur. A good starting point is to talk to a local orthotics shop. They can help show you the different models and point you in the right direction.

Knee Brace Migration & Skin Trauma


The number one job of these fancy, carbon fibre, hinged accessories is to combat severe knee instability and, if fitted and made correctly, they do their job very well. That being said: they can be bulky, clumsy, restricting, and can take a while to get used to wearing.

On a beach at sunset, Bracelayer® founder and CEO Dan Tognotti straps a custom fit knee brace on over his Bracelayer® compression pants with built-in knee support, designed to help keep such braces locked in their places.

But the two biggest problems that I have experienced with all the different custom knee braces that I've used over the years are:

1) The migration or slipping of the knee brace down the leg during activity or when worn over longer periods of time.
2) Skin trauma caused by pinching and rubbing from the knee brace straps. 

These chronic problems are two of the driving forces behind the creation of Bracelayer® Apparel Ltd. We wanted to create a functional compression pant that could be worn on its own to provide levels of knee support not found in traditional compression garments but could also be worn under custom knee braces to stop them from sliding down the leg, give some protection for knee brace strap irritation and trauma, and also also give some protection to the other knees.


Bracelayer Compression Gear: Making Bracing a Breeze 

Bracelayer® Knee Compression Pants help solve both of these issues by incorporating a thin layer of perforated neoprene around the knee, IT bands, and lower lumbar area.

This layer of perforated neoprene is thin enough to fit comfortably under custom knee braces, but is also strong enough to provide relief from from those straps pinching and digging into the athlete's skin. It also provides grip, even while sweating and during prolonged periods of sport, to keep the knee brace firmly in the place where it is designed to be.

And the best part about wearing our Bracelayer® Knee Sleeve Compression Pants under your custom knee brace is that you are giving your other knee a layer of support, stability, and protection that it deserves.

Stop acl custom knee brace from slipping sliding down leg



  • Christopher Nguyen

    I tore my ACL and meniscus in high school playing soccer at the beginning of my senior year of high school. I had to watch my team win and make it all the way to the state championship game. Nothing was harder than not being able to contribute or take part. Back then I didn’t know too much about physical therapy and didn’t take it as seriously as I didn’t have much support from family during my recovery process. This took a toll on me physically and psychologically to the point where I didn’t play the game I loved for years.

    Fast forward a couple years through college and post undergrad I still can’t play soccer confidently and my strikes are no where near as powerful as the were pre surgery. I’ve gone through so many braces, sleeves, kinesiology tape, you name it to find more support and comfort that it has just become exhausting and expensive. I still find mobility is an issue and during the game I am always doubting the stability within my knee. I feel I will always be a step under my past potential until i can feel comfortable that my knee has the support it needs.

    After finding this site and reading all the success stories I would love to give bracelayer a try and finally find a product that works.


  • Chris

    Well my story is a story that is a little different than others, I never really had any knee problems growing up, I have been pretty active as a kid and up until about 8 months ago as a 33 year old adult man…soccer is my passion and I love it and I miss it dearly, I unfortunately was hurt in a workplace accident that has resulted in a torn medial meniscus and a sprained PCL.

    I am headed for surgery very soon and I’m hopefull that with a combination of good treatment and planning that I can rebound back to the life I used to love, and not be the depressed overweight excuse maker I currently am.

    I’ve read great reviews about the bracelayer line and I’m excited to order a few pairs and put them to use!

    Thanks for bringing something like this to the market place, and being a van island guy coming from my own back yard, even better!!!


  • Ansel Youn

    The story above sounds almost identical to my experience…that it’s scary.

    When I was 17 years old, I hyper extended my left knee and completely tore my ACL. It was a very painful moment where I can still feel the pain just thinking about it. Needless to say, I had an ACL reconstruction surgery done and I’ve never been the same since. I used to sport the over-the-counter knee braces but I have seemed to always be hurt in some way. For past 10+ years I’ve suffered from knee pains and injuries.

    Most recently I’ve hurt my meniscus and also another slight tear on my ACL and waiting for my second surgery. But now that I am working full time, I was able to get coverage on Don joy A22 custom knee brace which has helped tremendously. Even to a point where i can lightly play basketball. However, like you take about in your blog, it can be pretty harsh on my skin as it constantly rubs against sides of my skin. I’ve tried some products but it seems to have slipping issues as well…

    Would love to try Bracelayer. Especially for the fact that you are also using it under your Don joy custom knee brace. Hopefully it is a difference maker.

  • Jonathan Barron

    Hey there, just thought I’d give you guys some feedback on the pants…. Well, they are amazing! I used to have some slight pain still with my knee brace and had a bit of room for it to move, even on the tightest setting. With the Brace Layer, the gap is filled and it fits snug and I feel like I have double the protection while skiing. My good knee feels quite a bit stronger aswell. They are exactly what I was looking for, I no longer get a rash or any leg hair ripped out from the brace either. They work perfectly together. Thank you guys a lot for the pants! I could not be happier. I’ve been telling all my friends about them and I can almost guarantee they’ll be getting some too. Thanks a lot!

  • Jonathan Barron

    I am a 17 year old athlete and I’ve been wearing a custom Ossur knee brace for the past month and a bit while skiing due to a complete acl tear, and meniscal tear I suffered in January of 2015. I was back to skiing a month and a half after injury not knowing what injuries I had at the time. During the few days at the hill I wore a neoprene sleeve(not nearly enough for my injury) and managed to ski fairly well hitting jumps and rails like I had before. I underwent a meniscal surgery in April and missed soccer season and was told by my physio and several other doctors that even without and acl, my knee was functioning just as well as a normal knee. I was therefore told I was able to return to activities with or without knee support. As crazy as it may seem I do all my sports such as soccer, hockey, and phys. Ed. Class without any sort of brace. Skiing on the other hand I thought it would be great to have a brace to support my torn acl. The only part that worries me is the fact that it is now easier to injure my opposite knee, and for that reason I believe that one of your Brace Layers would be an awesome choice to help me ski at peak performance. Thank you for your time.

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