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Osteoarthritis health centre

Tape or a brace for your knee

BMJ Group Medical Reference


This information is for people who have osteoarthritis. It tells you about using tape or a brace to support your knee, a treatment used for osteoarthritis. It is based on the best and most up-to-date research.

Do they work?

Using a tape or a brace to support your knee may help you. It depends what your symptoms are.

What are they?

Tape and braces are physical aids for people with osteoarthritis.

  • Tape can fix your joints into a less painful position.

  • Braces support your joints. They can be used on your thumb, wrist, knee and ankle.

Your doctor or physiotherapist will be able to tell you whether tape or a brace is suitable for your joint problems.

How can they help?

Having your knee taped may reduce your pain within three weeks of starting, and the benefits seem to last for at least three weeks. [79] You'll need to talk to your doctor and get help from a physiotherapist before taping your leg.

Wearing a knee brace may reduce your pain and help you to move around better. [80] You might be able to walk further if you use a knee brace. [81]

How do they work?

Taping puts the knee cap into a stable position. Braces can keep the joint stable or reduce pressure on the joint.

Can they be harmful?

There's no evidence that physical aids can be harmful.

How good is the research on a tape or a brace for your knee?

There is some evidence that tape or a brace can help with the pain of osteoarthritis of the knee.

One good-quality study of 87 people found taping the knee helped with pain. [79]

And a summary of all the research on braces (a systematic review) found that a knee brace helped people who had osteoarthritis of the knee. [80] But there were some problems with the evidence so the results aren't completely reliable.



A physiotherapist is a health professional who is trained to use physical activity and exercises to help people's bodies heal.

systematic reviews

A systematic review is a thorough look through published research on a particular topic. Only studies that have been carried out to a high standard are included. A systematic review may or may not include a meta-analysis, which is when the results from individual studies are put together.

For more terms related to Osteoarthritis


For references related to Osteoarthritis click here.
Last Updated: August 15, 2013
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

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