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Volleyball is a sport that can take a high toll on the body, especially on the knees and patella.
While traditional knee pads are great and help minimize the damage, other injuries can occur outside of practice or from non-impact, stress related causes, usually affecting the patella.
To help heal and protect against these kinds of injuries, a different type of knee support is required.
So, what is the best volleyball pad with patella support? The best volleyball pad with patella support is the NEENCA Knee Brace Support for its adjustable patella shield, durability, silicone padding, and medial and lateral stabilization, similar to compression sleeves. While tendon straps may be a more common choice, the NEENCA provides much better comprehensive protection.
Patellar tendinopathy – otherwise known as jumper’s knee – is the most common injury among volleyball players, and can affect as much as 50% of competitive players. This comes from overuse of the tendon that runs from the kneecap to the shinbone, and can necessitate an athlete taking a break from playing for sometimes up to eight weeks.
Using pads with patella support can help avoid and heal this condition, and keep you playing volleyball as long as possible.
In this article, I’ll be discussing:
- Factors to consider when buying patella support
- Different types of pads and who they best benefit
- How to decide between patella pads and traditional pads
3 Factors to Consider When Buying Patella Support
1. Frequency of Pain
The most important factor to consider when buying patella support is your frequency of pain: do you often experience patella pain? Is this due to jumper’s knee, or a different cause? How comfortable are you playing volleyball, and what pain (if any) do you experience afterwards?
Depending on your answer, the best type of support will change. If you feel pain often, shooting through your leg and into your shins, you likely suffer from several simultaneous conditions (like shin splints), and a comprehensive brace is your best choice.
If the pain is only in your kneecap – usually radiating from slightly below – then you might choose between a full pad support or a simple tendon strap: this will depend on your level of pain and what else you wish to support.
If you have little to no pain whatsoever, you are likely fine with wearing normal knee pads or using a compression sleeve in conjunction with your pads.
Those looking to prevent patella injuries can determine their optimal choice in a similar way: are you looking to support (and prevent against injuries of) the whole leg, or just the patella? Many times, a simple tendon strap is sufficient, but a full knee support provides many other benefits, most of which aren’t initially apparent. The choice is up to you.
2. Type of Player
Next, consider what kind of player you are. If you’re a libero or setter, chances are you’ll be sliding across the floor a lot, so you need support with a little more padding. For middle blockers and opposite hitters, you can likely get by with no knee pads normally, so a tendon strap might be enough for you.
Choose a pad that protects your knee in the best possible way when playing, even if that means choosing a bulkier option that you might not initially like. Your knees will thank you.
3. History of Injury
Last, remember to consider your history of injury. Perhaps you had an ACL injury, or have a knack for developing a jumper’s knee in the past few years. These are issues that should inform the way we play and how we protect our bodies moving forward, especially for something as valuable as our knees.
Comprehensive patella support and injury prevention will keep you happiest as a player and allow you to continue performing at your best during your volleyball career.
4 Best Volleyball Pads With Patella Support
The four best volleyball pads with patella support are:
- NEENCA Knee Brace Support
- Bodyprox Patella Tendon Knee Strap
- Bauerfeind GenuTrain Knee Brace
- Asics Performance Knee Pad
NEENCA Knee Brace Support – Best Overall
Adjustable patella shield, durability, silicone padding, and both medial and lateral stabilization.New: $16.99
The best volleyball pad with patella support overall is the NEENCA Knee Brace Support for its adjustable patella shield, durability, silicone padding, and both medial and lateral stabilization which aids in movement similar to traditional compression sleeves.
The NEENCA knee brace is great because it is specifically designed to support your kneecap and prevent injury from arthritis, bursitis, and tendinitis, effectively reducing the risk of those injuries and others, such as jumper’s knee.
The patella is shielded by an adjustable silicone mold, which means that you can adjust it to be as comfortable as possible while also protecting your knee in the best way possible. The padding is not as prolific as traditional knee pads, but the density of silicon means that it provides a similar level of protection.
The brace is secured above and below the knee by adjustable velcro belts, and utilizes silicon anti-slip strips on the interior to prevent slippage and displacement of the patella support while playing. These strips, along with spring stabilizers, provide lateral and medial support to the knee and prevent the brace from bunching up behind your knee when you bend it.
A good brace at a great price which provides fantastic patella support, this is definitely my choice for anyone looking to replace their normal volleyball knee pads with more targeted patella support.
- Bit bulky
- Not very breathable
- Interior silicon strips may be uncomfortable
Bodyprox Patella Tendon Knee Straps – Best Value
It has simple support of the patella, breathability, and a flexible silicone padding design.New: $12.99 ($6.50 / Count)
The best value for volleyball pads with patella support is the Bodyprox Patella Tendon Knee Straps, for their simple support of the patella, breathability, and flexible silicone padding design that moves with the knee for ultimate support.
This is one of the most useful pieces of equipment for volleyball players to have, and something that I believe every serious athlete should own. I know firsthand that these tendon straps work, alleviating pain that exists and helping prevent other pain from beginning, and is the most common type of patella support that is seen on the court.
Much thinner than traditional knee pads or the other options on this list, the Bodyprox tendon knee straps are worn just below the patella and help stabilize the knee while playing. This design helps reduce the effects of repetitive impacts and reduces fatigue, lowering the risk of injury considerably.
Made of a blend of rubber, nylon, cotton, and spandex, these straps are super comfortable to wear and won’t slip down your leg while playing. Interior hexagonal ventilation holes ensure that you don’t accumulate sweat while playing, while ensuring that your muscles maintain an ideal degree of warmth. This is important because, as we know, most injuries happen on cold muscles.
Specifically designed for knee pain and alleviating stiffness and arthritis, cartilage damage and torn ligaments, these straps offer a boost of support that is perfect for athletes on the court or out in life. They even come in a pack of two, so you can support both knees equally.
The only downside is that while these straps are my ideal choice for patella support, they only have limited padding in a very narrow band. While this is sufficient to protect while dropping to the floor, it falls short of protecting while diving. Still a great product, and one that I swear by!
- Great patella/tendon support
- Very comfortable
- Interior ventilation
- Supports healing and prevention
- Great price
- Comes in a pair
- Narrow padding
- Lacks full-knee bracing and support
Bauerfeind GenuTrain Knee Brace – Most Comprehensive
Its targeted patella support through compression, intermittent massage during movement, and stimulation of circulation has made it a great product.New: $99.00
The most comprehensive option for volleyball pads with patella support is the Bauerfeind GenuTrain Knee Brace, for its targeted patella support through compression, intermittent massage during movement, and stimulation of circulation to bring oxygen through the blood and reduce pain and swelling in the knee.
This is a great product that was awarded the “Best Knee Brace Overall” by the LA Times, and considering its wide range of benefits and protection, it’s not hard to see why.
The GenuTrain brace activates the body’s own stabilization mechanisms by utilizing anatomically contoured fabric that sends signals to the brain resulting in improved control and awareness of muscles and tendons in the region. This in turn stabilizes the joint and optimizes recovery.
The Omega+ pad protects and encases the kneecap, massaging the areas around the meniscus to provide stimulus correcting unnatural habits of the body prompted through injury and aiding in healing.
The brace is comfortable to wear with compression-sleeve elements specifically around the edges and a soft, knitted comfort zone in the hollow of the knee, while plastic stays embedded in the fabric ensure that it does not slip during use. Sweat wicking and breathable, this brace is comprehensive in all the right ways.
The only shortcoming I would raise with this brace when it comes to volleyball, is that while its material glides smoothly over the floor and is in no way a tear/ripping hazard, the amount of padding is not ideal for repetitive impacts against the floor. This is an amazing brace for jumping and other movements, but stay away from diving.
For targeting existing conditions, giving your joints the elite comfort and protection they deserve, and stimulating healing processes faster than expected, the GenuTrain knee brace is the perfect source of comprehensive protection and patella support on the market – if you’re willing to foot the bill.
- Most comprehensive support and healing pad on the market
- Very comfortable
- Anatomically contoured fabric to stimulate stabilization
- Omega+ pad massages during movement
- Compression sleeve elements
- Padding not ideal for extended volleyball duress (diving)
Asics Performance Kneepad – Best Traditional Option
The best traditional option for volleyball pads with patella support is the Asics Performance Kneepad, for its memory foam cushioned construction and compression sleeve elements.
The Asics Performance Kneepad has superior padding in general, which includes excellent patella protection. Additionally, the integrated compression sleeve elements of the sleeve secure the knee in place, lowering the risk of injury.
While this is the only option on the list without dedicated patella protection, this is definitely my choice of knee pad for any player with mild onset problems who don’t wish to buy a dedicated patella support. The elements and design inherent with this Asics knee pad are designed to support your knee and patella while playing, and is another excellent option to be considered.
- Excellent quality knee pad
- Memory foam padding
- Integrated compression sleeve
- No dedicated patella support
Knee Pads vs. Patella Support: Which is Better?
It can be hard to decide between traditional knee pads or patella support. One is designed to protect your knees from impact and abrasions common with diving and kneeling to pass the ball, while the other handles the other side – the injuries attributed to jumping and the stress of landing which damages our tendons.
It might even feel like there’s no winning: you have to give up one to accommodate the other, but that’s not true. There are many blended options out there to provide support for both, and at least two options on this article’s listing are great choices to support you on both fronts.
When it comes down to it, though, you have other options. Some players (like me, for many years!) simply wore a compression sleeve beneath their normal pads, essentially providing support and padding all at once. This is totally normal and a solid option as well.
There’s no one right answer for which way to lean; it all comes down to what you feel best benefits you as a player. And hey, there’s no permanence about your choice: if you don’t feel like an option is working for you, look around and try something new. You might be surprised what you discover.
The best volleyball pad with patella support is the NEENCA KNEE BRACE, for its adjustable patella shield, durability, silicone padding, and medial and lateral stabilization, similar to compression sleeves.
While tendon straps may be a more common choice, the NEENCA provides much better comprehensive protection and is the ideal choice for any player looking to replace their normal volleyball knee pads with more targeted patella support.
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About The Author
Ailan Samuel is a writer and athlete who has played volleyball at the university, club, and national level since 2012. He has competed successfully in both beach and indoor competitions, resulting in four silver and two gold medals, and was awarded the Half-Blue while playing in Scotland. He received his MA in English and Medieval History from the University of St Andrews, Scotland, and is currently studying for his MA in Publishing and Creative Writing at Bournemouth University.