A knee strap, also referred to as a knee band or a patellar strap, is a strap that is worn just below the kneecap. It exerts slight pressure on your patellar tendon. This tendon sits below the kneecap and connects the patella (kneecap) to the tibia (or shin bone). If you are a physically active person, you will likely engage in plenty or running or jumping. The shocks of your feet hitting the ground can then cause your patella underside to bump against your femur. The result is gradual degeneration of the cartilage that sits below your kneecap. The knee strap can help to prevent this problem.
In a normal knee, this cartilage should prevent direct contact between your kneecap and femur. Doctors refer to the deterioration of this cartilage and the resultant pain as patella femoral syndrome.
By applying slight pressure to the patellar tendon, a knee strap helps to tighten the contact between the patella and the femur. This helps to prevents them bumping into each other and will reduce the pain. As a result, it extends the life of the cartilage that sits below the knee cap. The knee strap therefore contributes to the long term health of your knee.
If you have patella femoral syndrome, you may be wondering whether you need to wear a knee band continually. Our suggestion is that you should wear your knee strap whenever you are feeling knee pain. You should also wear it if you are about to engage in a physically demanding activity that will cause repeated high intensity contact between your feet and the ground.
Although a knee band will help to relieve your pain and extend cartilage life, you should not rely on it exclusively. Consult a physiotherapist who can suggest an exercise program to strengthen your knees. These exercises will help your knee withstand high energy ground impacts without cartilage damage.