After surgery or sustaining an injury, your physiotherapist may recommend a hinged knee brace to accelerate healing and ease pain. Hinged braces play a pivotal role in protecting and supporting your knee. However, they are only effective if worn correctly. If it’s your first time using a knee brace, you may not know how it’s worn. That’s why we took the initiative of compiling a guide on how to put on a hinged knee brace properly.
How to Correctly Put on a Hinged Knee Brace?
On paper, wearing a hinged knee brace may seem simple, but it can be challenging for first-timers. Below is a general overview of how to correctly wear a hinged knee brace. Later on, we will dig a little deeper into how you can wear different types of hinged knee braces.
Step 1 – Choose a Suitable Hinged Knee Brace
Your physician mostly makes this decision because they are the ones to diagnose the severity of your injury. There are many knee braces, each designed to cater to different types of problems. With the help of your physiotherapist, you should identify the best-hinged knee brace.
Step 2 – Adjust the Range of Motion on the Hinges
Unlike other types of knee braces, with the hinged variant, you must set the range of motion, which entails flexion and extension. The settings often range from 0 to 90 degrees. Your physician should provide you with the best-hinged knee brace, depending on your current situation. To adjust the range of motion, open the hinge cover, enter your preferred settings, and proceed to step 3. After wearing the brace, you can change the flexion and extension by opening the cover.
Step 3 – Place It on the Affected Knee
Roll up your trousers or wear shorts, so the knee area is easily accessible.
There are several types of knee braces. If it’s a slip-on hinged knee brace, slide your foot with the wider area on top. Move it up your leg until it settles on the knee.
In case it’s a wrap-style knee brace, position the pad around your knee and close the straps.
Step 4 – Position the Brace at the Center of the Kneecap
In nearly all types of knee braces, there is a small hole that shows you where the kneecap should be positioned. If you can see your kneecap on this hole, you are wearing the brace correctly. To ensure maximum comfort, move around the hinged knee brace to a position that doesn’t pinch your skin while walking.
Step 5 – Close the Straps to Secure the Hinged Knee Brace in Position
Finally, you need to adjust the straps to hold the knee brace in place. Kindly avoid over-tightening the braces. It usually leads to more pain and discomfort. At the same time, please don’t close the straps too loosely, as it will easily slide out when walking.
How to Wear Different Types of Hinged Knee Braces?
Earlier, we mentioned that there are several types of knee braces. Each is worn differently. To ensure that you wear yours correctly, here are quick guides on wearing different hinged knee braces.
Wrap-around braces are designed for scenarios where the patient is still in pain. That’s why they are easier to wear because you don’t need to pull the brace over your leg. You only need to wrap it around your knee.
To wear a wrap-around brace, lift your leg and place it behind the knee with the flaps unfolded. Position it at the center and wrap the straps from the thighs to the bottom. Your kneecap must be positioned precisely at the patella opening.
This is the most common type of hinged knee brace, and it helps prevent future injuries. You will see it mostly with athletes. To put it on, remove your shoes and slide the sleeve up your foot until your patella protrudes from the opening.
Sleeved Brace with Straps
This is a combination of the above two types of knee braces. They are sleeve braces that are fitted with straps to offer more compression to the knees. Wear them as you would a sleeve brace. Once fitted in the correct position, you can pull the straps to achieve your desired compression.
Tips on How to Put on a Hinged Knee Brace Properly
- Be very keen when choosing the correct-sized knee brace. Measuring your knee girth and using these figures when shopping for a hinged knee brace is a brilliant idea.
- Always fit a knee brace before going home with it. This way, you can know whether it’s too loose or tight.
- To ensure your knee brace fits perfectly, you should be able to fit at least two fingers inside.
- When you start to feel too numb or in pain, that’s a sign that the brace is too tight.
- Take proper care of your hinged knee brace.
- Look out for irritation on the skin. Sometimes, hinged knee braces can cause some skin irritation. You can apply topical ointments or contact your physician if the problem persists.
Learning how to put on a hinged knee brace properly ensures that you fully recover and avoid future injuries. Don’t forget the importance of choosing a high-quality knee brace that’s best designed for your condition.