patient and professional fitting a custom made knee brace. kawartha prosthetics and orthotics. are custom made braces better?

Are Custom Made Braces Better Than ‘Off The Shelf’ Braces?

The short answer to this question is: No. Each bracing option is great for different reasons and purposes therefore, one is not better than the other! Now, we know that is probably not the answer you were looking for but let us explain more. Each bracing option has its perks and each one is used for different situations, things like: severity of injury, diagnosis, and budget all play a role in deciding which bracing option is best suited for your needs. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of both options:

Off The Shelf Bracing

OTS bracing is often recommended to patients who are experiencing less severe injuries or injuries that require short-term support from braces. Off The Shelf bracing can be found in pharmacies and big box stores such as Walmart. This means, you are able to purchase your own brace without properly being diagnosed from a professional.


  • Convenient
  • Budget-friendly
  • Immediate fitting
  • Ideal for less severe injuries
  • Ideal for short-term use


  • Very little sizing options (typically ranging from small to large)
  • Little to no custom features
  • Little to no warranties

Custom Made Bracing

Custom made bracing is often recommended for patients who need long-term assistance and support. This bracing option is ideal for those suffering from severe injuries. Opposite from the off the shelf bracing, custom made bracing offers much more customizable options that better suit each patients’ needs.


  • Costume Fit
  • More sizing options
  • Length and alignment customization
  • Ideal for severe injuries
  • Ideal for long-term use
  • Better warranties


  • Can be costly
  • Fitting process is more timely than off the shelf bracing

As stated before, each bracing option has its perks, it ultimately comes down to what each client needs to properly recover. The best way to find out which option would be best suited for your situation is to reach out to a professional. You can discuss your injury in detail, cost preference, and more! Our professionals at Kawartha Prosthetics and Orthotics are always ready and willing to help. If you have any questions about bracing and options we have available, don’t hesitate to ask!

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