Knee braces are fairly easy to wear; most are made of neoprene and can easily slide up the leg and be positioned over the knee. However, there are many specialty braces that require extra measurements to fit the brace properly, and also require extra know-how to put the brace on the knee correctly.
It is important to purchase the proper type of knee brace for your specific injury. This will ensure your knee gets the amount of stabilization necessary to help repair the injury.
Visit an orthopedic doctor to have your knee checked out and find out exactly what is wrong. This will help determine what type of knee brace you will need. If it is a sprain or a strained ligament, the doctor might suggest you get a regular neoprene sleeve brace or a hinged neoprene brace. If there is a problem with the patella tracking, you will need a brace that helps hold the patella in place.
Measure your leg at the mid-thigh level with the measuring tape and record the number. Measure your leg at mid-calf and record that number. You will need these numbers if you choose to purchase a neoprene sleeve brace in a drugstore. Depending on the size of your leg, you will purchase a small, medium or large brace. The sizing is listed on the side of the package.
Slide the neoprene sleeve up your leg. Line the hole up with the front of your knee. The kneecap should fit through the hole when you are standing. If you put the brace on with your leg bent, you will need to pull the brace up a bit higher, since it will slide down a little as you walk.
Repeat step 3 for the hinged brace, making sure the hinges are positioned on each side of the knee joint. Tighten the Velcro tab at the top, pulling it until it is tight. Tighten the lower Velcro tab the same way. This will keep the knee brace from sliding down the leg.
Repeat step 3 for the patellar tracking brace. Ensure that the kneecap is positioned properly in the open circle of the knee brace. Pull the Velcro tabs of the knee brace up and out from the leg, then pull them across the knee and fasten the tabs to the brace. You should feel a slight pull on the patella, but it will make it easier to walk, because the patella is now in the proper location to track in the knee correctly.
Neoprene braces help compress the joint and keep it warm, promoting blood flow. It is a good idea to use a neoprene brace to help stabilize the knee during low-impact activities.
Ask a doctor or athletic trainer to fit you for a brace if you need something more advanced than an over-the-counter neoprene brace. They are experts and will be able to ensure the brace fits correctly to provide maximum stabilization.
Don't buy a neoprene brace that doesn't fit correctly. If the brace is too large, it will not compress the joint enough to provide stabilization. If the brace is too tight, it could cause circulation problems in the leg.