Ask the Experts: Can You Wear a Knee Brace Over Pants?
Experts estimate that one in four adults in the US suffers from chronic knee pain. Many of these individuals wear a knee brace to help relieve pain and increase mobility. And now that you need to use one yourself, you've found yourself asking, "can a knee brace be worn over pants?"
Yes, you can, but you have to make sure that the knee brace remains secure and in position at all times. This means that you can wear them over pants made of thinner or snugger fabrics. These include skinny jeans, tights, leggings, yoga pants, and even some running pants.
How Can a Knee Brace Be Worn Over Pants?
First, determine if you can wear a knee brace over your pants by testing the fit of the legwear. Slip into the trousers first and see if its fabric sits as close to your skin as possible. It should be smooth and wrinkle-free, but it should not be too tight that it compresses your muscles.
If the pants you want to wear meet these basic guidelines, then you can wear certain types of knee braces over them.
Pants Selection: Features to Look for So You Can Wear Them Under a Knee Brace
Keep in mind that overly compressive clothes can worsen pain conditions. If you wear pants that are too tight, it can squeeze your knee cap, especially when you sit or move your legs. This can then aggravate the pain or hinder your knee's ability to heal and recover.
Extremely tight pants can also cause knee numbness and even digestive issues. If the trousers' fabric is stiff or rigid, it can also rub against your knees, irritating the skin.
That's why it's crucial to know what to look for in pants that you want to wear under your knee brace. This way, you can don the supportive device over your trousers without worries.
With that said, here are some of the features to look for when deciding which pants to wear under your knee brace.
Tightly-woven fabrics tend to be less breathable, while open knits offer more breathability. Thinner materials, like those made of lightweight cotton, can also help reduce sweating. These are also comfortable in the heat, making them an ideal choice if you want to wear a knee brace over them.
A quick way to check fabric breathability is by holding up the garment against the light. If you can see a little through it, that's a good sign that it's breathable. More light that passes through also suggests breathability.
Moisture-Wicking and Quick-Drying
If you need a knee brace to help you recover from injuries, then you need to stay active. If you wish to wear your knee brace over your legwear, it's best to use pants that can wick away moisture. This is a feature you'll find in activewear pants, which also tend to dry faster than other fabrics.
Pants With Air Vents or Mesh Panels
If you plan to wear your knee brace for several hours over your trousers, go for legwear that has air vents on the knees. Many of today's activewear pants have this feature, while some use mesh panels. These are extremely helpful in reducing sweating on the back of the knees.
What to Look for in a Knee Brace So You Can Wear Them Over Pants
The exact type of knee brace you need to wear will also affect its wearability over pants. Patellofemoral braces, for instance, are often adjustable, so they're an excellent choice. The same goes for some knee straps, so you can still wear them over snug-fitting trousers.
Note, however, that there are some braces and supports that you need to wear directly over the knees. That's why it's vital to check the product's features and directions for use first.
The most important thing is to make sure that your knee brace has a snug and proper fit on your knees. Your brace will keep sliding down your leg if it's too loose. This won't only defeat its purpose of supporting your knees and easing pain; it can also make you trip and fall.
On the other hand, a too-tight brace can cut off the circulation on your knees and legs. It may also pinch the nerves in your legs, raising your risk for peripheral nerve injury.
Keep in mind that trauma-caused nerve damages affect 20 million people in the US. That's why you should also practice care when wearing a knee brace, especially if you wear it on top of your pants.
Look for the following features to ensure that your knee brace can do its job even if you wear it over pants.
When choosing a knee brace, you often have two options: the slip-on and the wrap-around kind. Slip-on braces are those that you insert your leg into. Wrap-around braces are those that you place straight on top of the knee and then fasten with straps.
Some slip-on products are still adjustable, though, such as these self-heating knee supports. You can wear these over your legwear, so long as the fabric is thin and breathable enough. You can then adjust the knee supports using their high-grade velcro patches.
What's important is to choose knee braces that are easy to tighten or loosen. This way, you can wear them with ease over or under your pants.
As with the pants you'll wear, you should also choose breathable knee braces. This way, you can reduce your risks of sustaining skin irritations.
Some orthopedic knee braces, for instance, use cellular fabrics that are exceptionally breathable. This can work hand in hand with the breathability of the pants that you have under the brace. Moreover, these braces have a hinged construction, which helps improve knee stability.
Soft and Comfortable
Whether you want to wear a knee brace over or under your pants, the materials of the brace should be non-abrasive. The main fabric should be soft and comfortable so as not to irritate your skin. However, it should still be firm enough to provide optimal support to your knees.
Testing Your Knee Braces for Proper and Snug Fit
The "two-finger" technique can help ensure that you have a proper-fitting knee brace. This also allows you to check how tightly the brace wraps around your knees when worn over pants.
Before you employ the two-finger method, be sure to slip into your snug but breathable pants first. Next, put the brace on and secure the straps. Then, slide both your middle and forefinger under one strap.
If both fingers slide quickly under the strap, try inserting your ring finger too. If it's too easy to get the third finger in, that's a sign that the strap is too loose. Adjust the strap to the point that only two fingers can slide under it.
On the other hand, if it's too hard to slip in two fingers under the strap, then that means it's too tight. You need to loosen it up a bit.
Repeat all these steps for every strap that comes with your knee brace.
Checking the Stability of the Brace
If you did the test while standing, sit down right after you've finished adjusting the knee brace. With your knees now bent, the brace would feel a little tighter as it expands or stretches. However, it shouldn't be extremely tight that you feel uncomfortable.
If you did the test while seated, stand up to check how it fits your straightened legs. It should remain in place without excessive movement.
Next, try walking around and bending your knees. If you've fastened the brace properly, you should feel comfortable as you move. It shouldn't hike up or down too much, nor should it make your pants wrinkle up.
As you move, pay attention to how your pants make your knees feel. Does it give your knees a cramped feeling? If so, then you only have to adjust the straps to loosen it a bit.
If your knees feel itchy, then the fabric of your pants may be a bit abrasive with the brace on top of it. Try adjusting the straps again to see if this relieves the itchiness.
If not, wear another pair of snug trousers to check if you'll feel the same thing. If you feel comfortable, then it's the fabric of the previous pants that may be a little too stiff and rigid.
Get Back on Your Feet With a Versatile Knee Brace
There you have it, the complete guide that answers your question, "can a knee brace be worn over pants?" As you can see, it's possible, so long the brace remains stable, secure, and snug-fitting.
Just remember to pair it with the right type of trousers to ensure that your braces can still do their job. Also, don't forget to follow your healthcare provider's directions for wearing a brace.
Ready to find a versatile and breathable knee brace that you can wear over or under your pants? Then please feel free to browse our extensive selection of knee braces, supports, and pads.