Knee Braces & Wraps
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What are the different types of knee supports and how are they used?
Knee supports can be more rigid or elastic, depending on what each patient needs. They range from slip-on compression knee sleeves and knee wraps to orthopedic knee braces with various types of supports and stabilizers. The most rigid of all the knee supports is the knee immobilizer, which ensures everything stays in place after surgery or injury. More sophisticated knee supports can control leg rotation, special leg straps can aid in rehabilitating a stroke patient, and knee cages help control hyperextension. Besides these, some leg injuries may also require calf sleeves or thigh support. The most unusual type of knee support is probably the turnbuckle knee orthosis. This is used by therapists to gradually apply a low-load force to the knees, which helps reduce knee contracture and increase the range of motion.
Do knee braces help knee pain?
Orthopedic knee braces offer comfortable support and compression that can help reduce pain by shifting weight off an injured knee. Knee braces that are used for patellofemoral dysfunction often bring permanent relief. They are also useful in the case of knee osteoarthritis.
When should I wear a knee brace?
ACL tears are the most common injuries that require orthopedic knee support, but knee braces are recommended for a much wider range of conditions. Besides offering additional stability to injured knees, braces can also help them heal after surgery and can be used as a preventive measure in contact sports. Chronic knee pain and osteoarthritis also benefit from wearing knee braces.
How do you put on an orthopedic knee brace?
Knee braces vary in design, fabric, and functionality and the most important aspect is getting the right type and size of knee brace for your condition. Your therapist will make sure to offer you the appropriate knee support and will show you how to put it on and take it off when necessary. Most orthopedic knee braces have adjustable velcro closure and straps. To put them on correctly, you have to first center the small front hole of the brace on your kneecap and then tighten the brace so it doesn't slide up or down. Make sure it is comfortable yet snug — you must be able to fit one or two fingers between the brace and your leg.
How do you measure for an orthopedic knee brace?
Depending on the type of orthopedic knee support that you need, you might have to measure different parameters. To ensure accurate measurements, use a soft, flexible measuring tape and ask someone else to do it for you. The most common measure for knee braces is knee circumference, which is right over the middle of your knee. If a knee brace sizing chart mentions thigh circumference or calf circumference, measure these six inches up and down from the middle of the knee. Make sure your leg is well extended during measurements.
Is it OK to wear knee support all day?
You should always follow the doctor's recommendation but most knee injuries require 24/7 orthopedic knee support. Therefore, it is not only OK but necessary to wear your knee sleeves and braces day in and day out until the surgeon or therapist reevaluates your condition and decides you don't need knee support anymore. Things might be different with a knee immobilizer, as wearing one for extended periods can actually weaken the knee.
Can I wear my knee support to bed?
Yes, you can and you should. Recovering from knee injuries typically involves sleeping with knee wraps or orthopedic knee braces to stabilize the joints, promote healing, and alleviate pain. You might feel uncomfortable at first, but if the knee support is fitted correctly, you will soon see only the benefits. It is best if you sleep on your back and elevate your leg with a pillow below the knee brace. If you need to sleep on your side, consider supporting your back with additional pillows. Give wedge pillows a try.
MEDICAL ADVICE DISCLAIMER
The information, including but not limited to text, graphics, images, charts, and any other material on this site, is intended for informational purposes only and does not take the place of medical guidance provided by your physician. No information on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult a qualified medical professional about your condition or circumstances before undertaking a new healthcare regimen.