If you have had a serious knee sprain, you may be given a brace to wear to keep your knee from moving around too much during the early part of the healing process. Knee braces are designed to be as comfortable as possible, and easy to remove and put back on so that you can wash yourself, but using one can still take some getting used to.
Here is some advice about staying comfortable during the period you have to wear the knee brace for:
Sleeping with the Brace on
The idea of trying to sleep with your knee strapped up in a brace may seem difficult at first, but actually, it is very important to wear it at night. This is because that is when you are most likely to move around without knowing what you’re doing, and the pain this will cause will interrupt your sleep more than getting used to sleeping with the brace will. You may find that the brace can make you feel too hot, where most braces are padded for comfort, so switching to lighter sheets rather than a duvet may help. You may also find it easier to sleep with the braced leg elevated on a cushion or pillow, which will not only help keep swelling down but also prevent you from rolling around too much when you’re asleep, due to the position.
The idea of knee bracing is to keep your knee in a fixed position while it heals, so naturally, you won’t be able to bend your leg and walk normally. Because of this, you’ll need crutches to get around. There are different types of crutches – those that you lean on under the armpits and those that you put your forearms into and hold onto with your hands – and the clinic or hospital that gave you the brace will advise you on what you need to use and provide crutches. Walking with crutches is harder and more tiring than it looks, so expect that you won’t be able to get around like before while your leg is healing. Take some time to practice walking with them while you are still at the hospital or clinic and be sure to ask for advice on the technique if you need it – it is not always intuitive.
When Can You Take It Off?
Really, for best results, you should only take the brace off to wash; however, if it is really bothering you and you need a break from it for a while, it can be okay to take it off for a little while when sitting still with your leg straight – for instance while watching TV with your feet up. Be sure to put it back on before getting out of this position though, as walking on an injured knee is never a good idea.
A knee brace not only helps your knee heal, but also prevents a lot of the pain that comes with an injured knee moving. Give it a chance and you should soon find you get used to it.