How to Wear a Knee Brace – Step by Step Guide
When you have a knee injury you may need to wear a specialized brace to support the ligaments while your knee heals. The brace is a medical support device, and if it is worn incorrectly it will not benefit your healing process.
Whenever you wear a medical support device like a knee brace for an extended period of time you learn things about how to put on a knee brace and remain comfortable. In this article we have compiled information from doctors, physical therapists, and patients, to provide you with as many tips as possible to make your experience with a knee brace more pleasant.
Proper Way to Wear a Knee Brace
A knee brace is often recommended by physical therapists or doctors for people who have suffered a knee injury. A knee brace can support your ligaments and surrounding tissue while your injury heals but you have to wear the brace properly to get the most benefits.
Start with the Right Brace
If the brace you have does not fit properly then you will possibly do more harm to your knee than you do good for your knee. If the brace is too loose then it may have a tendency to slide down your leg and can possibly interfere with your circulation. This can cause more swelling, pain, and discoloration of the tissue.
To get the right size brace you should use a soft tape measure like seamstresses use to measure your knee. You wrap the measuring tape around the largest section of your knee to discern the exact girth.
Get the Proper Size
First you need to get a brace that is sized to fit you. The brace manufacturer will have the size labeled on the package. Most manufacturers detail their sizing so you can choose a brace that will fit you properly.
Position the Brace Properly
The majority of compression sleeves have a hole that is supposed to frame the kneecap. You should be able to see your knee cap when the brace is fitted properly.
Make sure that you line your knee cap up in the hole so that the material of the brace does not pinch or bind the skin around your knee.
You should be able to put a finger between the brace and your leg if you are wearing a simple sleeve style brace. If your finger will not fit like this then you have the straps of the brace too taut.
If you are wearing a hinged brace then you should be able to put two fingers between the brace and your skin.
Put a Knee Brace Under Your Cloth
The best way to wear a knee brace is under your clothing. The brace has a better chance of supporting the tissue surrounding your knee if it is not held away from the knee by clothing.
Follow the manufacture instructions for the style of brace that you are wearing and put the brace on before you get dressed. You need to make sure the brace is not too tight, and make sure that the brace cannot slip or move when you move.
Put a Compression Sleeve
You need to put your foot into the top of the brace. The top of the brace will be the widest part of the brace. This portion will cover a portion of your thigh.
You need to slide the brace up over your calf so that it covers your knee. (If your brace is made to wrap around the knee you want to be sure that you have the padded section against your knee before you adjust the straps).
How to Wear a Knee Brace with Pants
- Choose pants that will accommodate the knee brace. Athletic pants are made to fit loose. You want the jeans pant to cover the brace on your leg without being stretched tight across the leg.
- You should wear the brace against your skin not over the pants material. The brace will be more beneficial if it is next to your skin. If you wear the brace on top of the pants, the material will keep the device from fitting properly.
- If the pants leg is wide enough at the ankle then putting the brace on before you put the pants on is the best method. If the brace cannot fit through the ankle then put the pants on and roll the pants leg up until you expose your leg to a point just above the injured knee.
- Before you leave home for the day try walking and bending the leg the brace is on. You want the fit to be comfortable before you leave home.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How do I know when I should wear a knee brace?
A. Evaluate the condition of your knee. If you hear clicking sounds, or popping noises when you bend your knee a brace may be useful. The noises are often an indication that the tissue surrounding the knee is inflamed or swelling.
If you are playing sports or working at a job that has you on your feet for long periods a brace may be beneficial. This is especially true if you have knee pain, a limp or feel unable to straighten your leg fully you may need a brace. If the knee swells too much, or the pain persists you may want to seek medical advice.
Q. Can wearing knee brace hurt your knee?
A. Wearing a knee brace will not hurt your knee. The braces are designed to support the connective tissue surrounding the knee so that you feel less pain and have a reduced chance of injuring the knee. You can wear the brace all day because it is not an invasive device.
With that said, you should periodically check the brace to make sure that it is not fitting too tightly. You should also take the brace off when you are showering, and periodically remove the brace so you can clean the knee brace and allow your skin to breathe.
Q. Should I wear a knee brace all day?
A. How long you wear the knee brace is going to depend on the reason for the brace. If you are wearing a recovery brace after a surgery or injury your doctor or therapist will recommend how long you should keep the brace on. If you are wearing the brace to prevent injury you may be able to only wear the brace when you are engaged in an activity like playing a sport, or being up on your legs. You should wear the brace anytime you feel the added support will be beneficial to you.
If you have persistent discomfort, or any complications with your knee brace check with your doctor to see if you are wearing the knee brace incorrectly, or if you might need a different style of brace.