A knee brace is a helpful little wearable designed to provide support and relief to your knees.
Knee supports work using the power of compression. Compression supports blood circulation, keeping your knees comfortable, especially while you recover from an injury. In addition, knee compression can help your knee keep from shifting.
The knee brace's structural support can help you avoid discomfort during recovery. Let’s look at the types of knee braces and what products can support your knees daily.
What Are the Different Types of Knee Braces?
There’s more than just one type of knee brace out there! Below are some of the primary classifications for knee braces and what they are used for:
- Functional braces are designed to stabilize and protect an injured knee from further injury. These braces can help an injured person maintain their recovery without inhibiting their range of motion.
- Rehabilitative braces do limit the range of motion, but to help a person recover from an injury. These braces are typically used to limit the up-and-down or side-to-side movement of the knee after surgery or a sports-related injury.
- Prophylactic braces are used as a preventative form of injury protection. Many athletes wear these braces to avoid getting hurt during intense contact sports and high-impact exercise.
As you can tell, not all knee braces are the same. As a result, the rules for wearing knee braces can vary, primarily depending on the type of brace you’re wearing and why. For this reason, it’s best to follow your doctor’s advice if you’re wearing a knee brace as a part of a prescribed injury recovery plan.
Who Can Benefit From Wearing a Knee Brace?
Knee braces can benefit a variety of people, including:
- Serious athletes: Knee braces are used for more than just injury recovery. Certain braces, as mentioned above, can serve the unique purpose of supporting an athlete, helping them perform better, and lowering the risk of serious injury. These braces are designed to inhibit the range of motion as little as possible.
- People recovering from tough workouts: If you work out frequently and feel sore and fatigued after some time in the gym, compression knee sleeves could help. By slightly restricting your knee’s range of motion and providing some gentle compression, a sleeve may help you get back in the gym sooner.
- People recovering from injuries and surgeries: Knee braces are often prescribed as part of a rehab plan for an injured person. Likewise, a brace may be part of the rehab treatment plan after a major knee surgery. However, specialized braces are usually used for these purposes.
The Rules of Wearing a Knee Brace
With multiple different types of knee braces, each of which serves its own distinct purpose, you might have guessed that there are some specific rules to follow when wearing a knee brace.
Below are some general tips and best practices, including how long to wear a knee brace.
How Long Should You Wear a Knee Brace?
If your doctor recommends wearing your knee brace all day, it’s best to follow their advice. This advice is sometimes given to patients recovering from a major injury or regaining their mobility after knee surgery.
However, it’s important to use the brace exactly as instructed by your doctor, especially if you’ve been told to wear it all day long. Wearing a knee brace improperly may cause worse pain or limit your range of motion too much. For these reasons, take your doctor’s instructions seriously when using a knee brace for injury recovery.
On the other hand, if your knee brace is intended to support you during or after a workout rather than to help you recover from a serious injury, the rules are a bit more flexible. Removing the brace shortly after you finish exercising is best if you’re wearing a knee brace or sleeve to support your body during a tough workout.
For post-workout recovery, we recommend using a knee sleeve, which provides optimal compression without limiting your range of motion. If you’re particularly sore and achy, opt for a knee sleeve that includes built-in heating or cooling power.
How Do You Keep a Knee Brace Clean?
If you wear a knee brace regularly, it’s going to need some major TLC to keep it from smelling bad. Copper Fit’s Knee Sleeves are infused with copper, making them naturally resistant to odors. However, our braces still need to be washed regularly to help you maintain your personal hygiene.
It’s best to wash your knee brace after each use to prevent odors. Look for an easy-to-wash brace and follow the care instructions provided to keep the materials from wearing out and breaking down.
In general, it’s best to avoid machine-washing a brace; instead, gently hand wash it in cold water and let it air dry. Skip the bleach when washing!
How Do You Keep a Knee Brace From Slipping Down?
If you’re having trouble keeping your knee brace in place, it’s possible that:
- The brace is the wrong size: This is a common issue that is extremely easy to fix; always check your size before making any purchase of compression gear like a knee brace!
- You may need some additional help from compression bandages: In some cases, additional support is needed to keep lower-quality braces in place.
In many cases, sizing is the issue, which we’ll cover in more detail below. Finding the right fit for your knee brace isn’t hard, but getting sizing wrong can cause problems in the long run. Always take the time to refer to a sizing chart before buying a knee brace.
On the other hand, it’s possible that your knee brace isn’t staying up due to its construction. Some knee braces, particularly those used for medical rehab, aren’t always designed to last and can start to lose their functionality over time.
If you’re having trouble keeping a brace in place, try wrapping the areas under the brace’s straps with compression bandages. This, in turn, can reduce any uncomfortable friction between the brace and your skin.
How Do I Choose the Right Knee Brace?
Now that you know when and how to wear a knee brace, let’s take a look at some of the essential features your brace should have, as well as how to find the right size for your knee.
Features To Look For
If you want the best possible experience, make sure your knee brace has all of the following features:
- Rigid side support: This helps keep the knee brace in place and makes it easier to bend your knees with your full range of motion.
- Easy-on, easy-off design: Some knee braces are frustratingly difficult to put on and take off. Look for a brace with a wrap-around design that is simple and intuitive. That way, you’ll never feel like wearing your brace is a chore.
- Usable on both legs: Your brace should be wearable on either your left leg or right leg; you never know when you might need to switch to provide extra support to the opposite leg!
- Open patella: This unique feature helps to hold your knee in its position, which can be helpful for injury recovery. The open patella design features extra cushioning, keeping your knee comfortable and snug.
- Anatomical fit: A knee brace should naturally conform to your knee without causing any awkwardness or discomfort.
- Breathable material: A knee brace can get sweaty and uncomfortable fast if it isn’t made from breathable materials. Choose a brace made from breathable fabric and extra venting to keep your legs comfortable. Ideally, your brace should also feature ventilated slits to keep the material from getting bunched up.
- Anti-odor technology: One of the worst parts of wearing a typical knee brace is the smell when it gets dirty. That’s not the case with the Copper Fit Natural Motion Knee Brace! Thanks to the addition of odor-resistant copper, this brace is easy to keep smelling fresh and clean.
Sizing is a key aspect of choosing the right knee brace for you. At Copper Fit, we’ve made it easy by designing a brace that fits most people. You can determine whether the Natural Motion Knee Brace is the right fit for you by measuring your knee circumference with a tape measure.
If your knee circumference is between 16 and 22 inches, you’re an ideal fit for the Natural Motion Knee Brace. You can measure your knee circumference by measuring three inches above your kneecap in a standing position.
A knee brace can work wonders if you need help with workout support and post-workout recovery. You can wear your brace during workouts, then swap it out for a recovery-boosting knee sleeve when you’re done. The result should be enhanced comfort, increased energy, and an easier time getting back into the gym again.