Learning how to keep a knee brace from sliding down is a small yet crucial skill to boost your recovery. Thankfully, it's pretty easy to do - you just need to check some details first.
For example, the biggest factor we've seen in our patients is not taking the time to put it on properly from the get-go. Others We'll discuss how to do that below, along with hacks to keep the brace from slipping.
If you're not sure what to answer, don't worry. We'll give tips and tricks to secure your knee brace properly. Tap on each link below to get started:
5 hacks to keep your knee brace from slipping down
Sometimes small tweaks are just what you need for a secure and proper fit. The most effective include:
1) Wear your knee brace correctly from the start
This seems pretty straightforward. However, not all knee braces are worn the same way. This largely depends on the type of brace.
If you're wearing a compression sleeve, here's how to make sure it's properly placed:
Turn your sleeve inside out (trust me, that'll make things easier later on).
Slip into the sleeve until it covers your calf.
Grab the lower end and pull it to cover your knee.
Some sleeves have markings that make it easier to fit properly. For example, ours have an oval shape at the front - your patella should be somewhere under it to make sure it's well-placed.
But a hinged knee brace is a bit trickier.
First of all - there are literally hundreds of designs for hinged braces. But most of them have a whole for the kneecap, some kind of side stability device, and straps.
You can use these features as a guide to ensure it's properly placed from the start, by:
Slipping on the brace and aligning the kneecap hole to your patella.
Aligning the side stays/metal stabilizers to the sides of your knee joint.
Fasten the straps tight to secure everything.
2) Make sure the straps are tight - but not excessively
Tight straps of course will keep the brace in place. But if they're too tight, they can cut off circulation to your foot and cause more harm than good.
To make sure the fit is right, try the two-finger method - slide your index and middle finger underneath each of the straps. Both should go in nicely if the brace's fit is right. If not, adjust accordingly.
Keep reading: How tight should a knee brace be?
3) Wear it over your pants
This works if you've already reached your brace's straps limit and it's still sliding down.
Your clothing can help add an extra layer to keep the knee brace from slipping. A breathable type of compression pants or loose pants will do wonders here.
Compression sleeves might not benefit much, though. They might slide down even more against your pant's fabric and risk you tripping on them.
Learn more: How to wear a brace over pants properly?
4) Keep your knee brace in good condition
Using a dirty and/or worn-out brace might cause more slippage rather than prevent a knee injury.
So, the best thing to do is to wash your knee brace regularly to remove sweat build-up (and avoid bad odours!). This is also a great time to check for any part that needs minor repair.
Your knee brace straps, for example, might be losing their grip - especially if you wear them daily. To fix this, just put a self-adhesive bandage on each strap to keep everything in place.
5) Check that you're using the right brace
Some braces are made to be used only for light exercises or walking. But there are also other heavy-duty types you can wear during sports.
You should be able to find what activities your brace is suited for on the packaging itself, or in the manufacturer's website.
But if you're not sure, consult a physical therapist or doctor. They'll be able to tell you if what you've been using is the right kind of knee brace.
Why is your knee brace slipping down?
If after trying the hacks mentioned above your brace is constantly slipping down, it may be due to any of these culprits:
There's moisture buildup
This could happen if you wear a knee brace for too long or during sporting activities. It not only causes the brace to slide down but can also lead to skin chafing and irritation.
To prevent this, set up a cleaning schedule. Taking the brace off from time to time also helps reduce the buildup and gives your skin some time to breathe.
Using a knee brace made out of knitted fabrics may also be better since it's more breathable than neoprene materials. (1)
The brace is worn-down
Repeated use of your knee brace will inevitably wear it down. It may not be as compressive as before, or the velcro may not stick anymore.
In this case, you really just need to buy a new knee brace, especially if it helps you get through your daily activities.
You have the wrong size
This often happens to online purchases, since you can't try them on first. To prevent this from happening, double-check the manufacturer's sizing chart.
And if you already bought the product, check the manufacturer's return policy. Most brands offer refunds or exchanges.
There's a factory defect
Sometimes it's not really your fault. You just unluckily got a faulty brace out of the bunch.
To confirm this, inspect the picture on the packaging and see if it really matches what you have at hand. A few missing stitches or poorly made velcros can be your clues.
As with the previous section, check the manufacturer's return/exchange policy to request a replacement or refund.
Why does my knee brace slide down?
Your knee brace slides down probably because there's moisture build-up or it's the wrong fit, among other causes.
How do I keep my leg sleeves from sliding down?
To keep your leg sleeves from sliding down, wear them so it centres on your knee cap.
How tight should a knee brace be?
A knee brace should be tight enough to do its job - keeping your knee stable and reducing pain - without cutting off your circulation.
Conclusion: How to avoid your knee brace from slipping down?
Using the right kind of brace, wearing it correctly, and keeping it in good condition help avoid your knee brace from slipping down.
It's also important to find out why it keeps sliding down. For example, it could be worn out or just not breathable enough for long use.
But for better knee brace use, we highly recommend getting the right measurement from a physio or orthopaedic doctor.
Pereira, S. et al. "A Study of the Structure and Properties of Novel Fabrics for Knee Braces." JOURNAL OF INDUSTRIAL TEXTILES, Vol. 36, No. 4—April 2007. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1528083707072357