Keep Your Knee Brace From Falling Down: 17 Easy Hacks!
A knee brace is a blessing and a curse. It gives your knee a chance to rest, to heal, and it also slows you down. What do you do when knee brace migration begins and you see your knee brace slipping constantly?
Your leg shape, injury, and brace combined will determine what you can do so you don't experience a knee brace falling to your ankles. Understanding how to wear a knee brace correctly will make a difference also.
1. Choose the Right Style of Knee Brace
Your injury determines which knee brace you need. The more severe your injury, the more of a brace you will need. This is why you see people recovering from ACL tears with substantial braces and people with knee sprains wearing just a sleeve.
Your knee brace choice is a major factor in determining if your brace fits properly. The style you choose will help determine if it stays on right.
Your injury also affects your determination to make the brace work. If you've experienced complete immobility with a torn ligament, for example, you're more willing and determined to make a particular brace work for you. You will attempt multiple methods of keeping the brace on properly because you'll desperately want full mobility back.
So choose the right style of a brace from the start. Your doctor or physical therapist will help you determine which brace is the best fit for you.
2. Put It On Correctly
Once you've chosen the right brace, you need to make sure you put the brace on correctly. Follow these basic steps:
- Roll up the pant leg of the leg the brace will go on. Your brace will go directly on your skin to prevent slippage. The more material you have between your brace and your leg, the less likely the brace will be to work properly.
- Slip your foot through the top of the brace and slide the brace up until it is centered on your injured knee.
- If you have a wrap style brace, place the brace behind your knee and wrap it around. Put the inside pad against your knee and wind the straps around it.
3. Center the Brace
Your knee cap determines the anchor point for the brace. Most braces have a small hole in the front for your knee. This hole determines the proper direction of the brace as well as the proper centering of it.
Center the hole over your knee cap. You should be able to see your knee cap through the hole. This hole also helps keep your skin ventilated under the brace.
If your brace isn't properly aligned, it will not catch the right curves of your knee and muscles, and it will slip. It may also pinch your skin, causing more discomfort. To properly align the brace, and then tighten it to keep it secure.
4. Tighten the Brace
If you find the brace slipping, you may need to just tighten it. If you have a choice, select a brace with additional straps. These extra straps will allow you to tighten the brace correctly.
You will know the brace is tight enough when it doesn't slip. If you've tightened it too much, you'll have a purple, numb leg that has permanent strap marks. So work to find the sweet spot where the brace is just tight enough.
The straps around the knee should be tightest. The areas both above the knee and the below the knee will anchor the brace, so keep those straps tight. Keep the straps at your ankle and the top of your thigh looser.
5. Put It In the Right Place
If you live in an urban area where you have to jostle with lots of people and need to take public transportation, you will be tempted to make your brace as visible as possible. You'll want people to give you as much room as possible and not bump your sore knee.
However, you need to put the brace under your clothes. You need it to have direct contact with your skin if you want the brace to stay in place. So when you go to work or school, use loose-fitting clothes. Strap your brace on first in the morning and then slip some baggy pants over it.
6. Alternate Your Clothes
This is more a note about comfort as you work on keeping your knee brace in place. Wear loose pants or a skirt at work or school. At home, wear shorts.
If you can take time off work, do it. You won't have to worry about wardrobe at that point. Shorts are most convenient because they have less material and your brace won't move if it's directly on your leg.
Also, shorts allow great airflow to your leg. They work especially well for hinged functional braces, those bigger, bulkier braces with some structure to them.
Again, do not wear your brace over your clothes. You may see people try to do this, but your brace needs skin. It will slide off material but will stick to the skin.
If you're still worried about people not giving you adequate room to move because they do not see your disability, make them see the disability. Use a cane or a crutch temporarily just so people give you room.
7. Take a Break
Give your skin and knee a break by taking the brace off periodically. This gives you a chance to readjust the brace and make sure it stays in place. Your skin will have a chance to breathe, relieving the pressure around your knee.
Do not put weight on the injured leg as you rest it. Make sure you're in a place where you can have complete rest and can sit or lie still.
Keep your brace dry when you take a break. Take the brace off when you shower or swim so that it lasts longer. A wet brace will not stay in place as well.
Also, talk to your doctor to see what the limitations are for an unsupported knee. How long can you go with it unsupported, and what are the best times to go unsupported?
8. Listen To the Expert
Your physician or physical therapist will have the best advice for your injury recovery. Listen to their advice on how to wear your brace, how long to wear the brace, and what movements to avoid.
When you go to the doctor, come in with a physical list of questions so you do not forget what you want to know.
If you're concerned that you won't remember what the doctor tells you, bring an advocate with you such as a spouse or good friend, who can hear the doctor too. Bringing in that second set of ears will help you make sure you hear all of the advice your doctor has.
Doctors, physical therapists, and health equipment specialists will know how to best wear the brace and keep it from slipping. So listen to them.
9. Less Weight, More Patience
Wearing a knee brace requires patience. If you're especially active, you will want to push yourself to do more with less time. You won't sit still well, and you will end up injuring yourself more.
Do not push too hard. When we push hard, we make mistakes, the brace will slip, and you may end up more injured than you were before. When you give yourself time to heal, your brace can do its job better, and you'll find yourself putting full weight on the leg before you know it.
Use crutches or a cane if you need to remind yourself to take it easy.
10. Stay Steady
Focus on slow, steady movement when you're wearing your brace. The brace will limit your range of motion, so respect the brace. When you attempt to bend your knee too much, the brace will slip.
Plus, too much rotation and flexion will make the injury worse. If your doctor tells you to keep your knee straight, then keep it straight. It takes a strong person to recover from a knee injury, but you can do this if you follow your doctor's advice.
11. Exercise Gingerly
Sometimes too much aggressive exercise can cause your knee brace to slip. You do not have to push yourself into exercise right away. Keep that knee brace on snug and secure, and clear all exercise with your doctor.
In particular, avoid weight lifting, running, and other intense exercises. Instead, go slow and steady, avoiding the sport that led to the injury in the first place. There's a reason why NFL players battle chronic knee problems.
12. Use Adhesive
If you suffer from a chronic condition, like knee arthritis, you'll find yourself relying on a brace more than not. You will need specific hacks to keep that brace where it belongs because it will become a more common part of your life.
Consider using adhesive.
This doesn't mean you should spray some glue on the area. Often if a brace is sliding around, the strap below the knee is too loose. This is a conundrum, though, because often the most sensitive part of your knee is right there, where that strap is.
If you've had surgery, then your knee will be sensitive. Use a compression bandage as a pad or the area, and then tighten the strap.
To keep the brace in place, put a small amount of self-adhesive bandage under each strap. This will help the brace keep up and keep your knee stabilized.
Also, some people have had luck with a self-stick adhesive or self-stick bandage around the calf. The adhesive prevents the brace from slipping without putting uncomfortable pressure on the leg.
The adhesive gives the brace something to stick to other than your skin. The brace will not slide because it adheres to your skin.
13. Use Leggings
If you just cannot stand the feeling of the brace directly on your skin, some people have found luck with leggings under their brace. A good pair of compression pants and capris will help your knee brace stay put and also improve your blood circulation. Make sure you pick some compression tights with a little bit of grit to them so the brace has something to adhere to.
Some people report that riding breeches work especially well. Few people have these specialized pants for riding horses, but if you have them, try them. The velvet on the knee pad area gives the brace something to stick to.
14. Don't Give Up
At first try, you may want to toss your brace in the darkest corner of your closet. You will get to do this someday. However, you need to make the brace work for you, go through the steps of rehab, and be fully on your feet before you graduate from the brace.
So try everything. Do not give up. The result is worth the effort.
15. Two Finger Test
The two-finger test goes back to the thought that your brace is too loose or too tight. You should be able to fit two fingers under the strap. If you can fit three fingers in, then the strap is too loose and you need to tighten it.
Use the two-finger test for every strap.
16. Slow Down
If you find your brace slipping constantly, you still may be pushing yourself too hard. Too much activity makes the brace work harder, so take your time returning to activity.
Do not be afraid to slow down. After all, the brace is a hindrance for a reason.
17. Trust the Company
If hacks do not work, go back to the manufacturer. They would not sell a product they hadn't tested on athletes and real people recovering from surgery. See if they have any specific advice on how to prevent knee brace migration.
Keep the Brace in Place
A knee brace is a wonderful tool that people love to curse on their way to regaining full mobility. Without it, rehabilitation would take so much longer. With it, you heal more quickly.
Check out our vast selection of knee braces. We'd love to help you get back on the road of moving freely.