How to wear a knee brace with pants largely depends on the type of brace you want to wear. For one, most knee supports are supposed to be in contact with your skin while some designs can be worn over pants.
We'll teach you how to do this to ensure your brace still protects your knee joint along the way. Tap any of the topics below to quickly navigate the article:
1) Choose your knee brace wisely
Some braces, like the hinged and unloader types, could work well even without direct contact with your skin.
See, a hinged brace mostly relies on its metal bars and design to limit lateral knee movements. It could still provide stability even over some clothes.
The same goes for the unloader brace. It counts on its hinges, straps, and angulations to relieve pressure from your knee injury. (1)
But a compression sleeve and a knee strap might not do well with pants.
Wearing a sleeve above your pants might lead to excessive compressive forces on your leg. This might affect your blood circulation and cause numbness to your toes.
On the other hand, a knee strap relies on direct tendon pressure to be effective. (2) Pants with slippery fabrics can make this harder to accomplish.
2) Go for breathable materials
Breathable braces and pants can be worn in any weather condition without sacrificing your comfort.
For knee braces, pick one that has mesh panels or air vents to reduce sweating and avoid skin irritations.
As for pants, choose those that are made from lightweight cotton to allow air to circulate. Moisture-wicking fabrics are also a great choice as they tend to dry faster than other textiles.
3) Select flexible clothing
Even with limited knee mobility from the brace, wearing stretchable pants allows your other joints to keep moving freely. It will help make walking or climbing the stairs less difficult than it may already be.
So, go for pants made of thinner or snugger fabrics. Some examples of this type of clothing include:
4) Use the two-finger method
This is a simple technique to check if your knee brace is well-fitted around your pants. All you have to do is:
First, wear your breathable and stretchy pants.
Locate your knee cap to put your brace properly.
Fasten the strap and slide two fingers underneath it.
It may be too tight if your fingers cannot fit under the strap. If that happens, loosen it a bit. Or, it may be loose if you can fit a third finger inside - then, tighten the strap a bit more.
Repeat the process for each strap on your brace.
Recommended: How you should be wearing your knee brace.
5) Do a trial run
Before you head out, test how your knee support and pants feel whenever you move. Walk around a bit, climb the stairs, do some squats or sit on a low chair.
Doing all these movements ensures that your knee brace is firmly in place to provide optimal support. It also gives you peace of mind that your pants and knee brace won't rip apart easily.
And since you are still at home, you can still change any of them to your liking.
Types of knee braces that can be worn over pants
Due to their unique design, these knee supports could still function well even if you wear them on top of your pants:
Hinged knee brace
This brace relies on its metal uprights and hinged dials to limit lateral knee movements and increase stability. It also comes with additional straps to perfectly fit your injured leg and make it easy to wear over your pants.
This is designed to relieve the weight of your injured joint. It does so by utilizing different pressure points that slightly push or pull your joint to one side.
It's also pretty straightforward to put on and remove thanks to its built-in straps and buckles.
Types of knee supports that you shouldn't wear over pants
These knee braces offer their best protection when they're in contact with your skin. Doing otherwise may make them less effective:
This is a type of knee support that you simply slip on your knee. However, adding an extra layer of compressive fabric over your pants could cause:
Difficulty when bending and straightening your leg.
Sweat to build up, risking skin irritation.
Decrease blood circulation to your legs.
Check our sleeve: ArmaJoint's compression knee sleeve.
This brace works by applying pressure on your knee tendon to relieve pain. Its function could become compromised as the straps might slip and slide against the fabric of your pants.
How do you wear a knee brace under your pants?
You can wear a knee brace under your pants by securing it directly against the skin of your affected knee.
What pants do you wear with a leg brace?
Some examples of pants you can wear with a leg brace include skinny jeans, yoga pants, and leggings.
Is it OK to wear a knee brace all day?
It's ok to wear a knee brace all day if that's what your doctor recommends. If not, you should perhaps only wear it during activities that you need it most.
Conclusion: Should I wear my knee brace over or under my pants?
Although it's generally recommended to wear a knee brace under the pants, putting it over can also work well.
Just follow the five simple and hassle-free tips above to continue your recovery, regardless if you plan to put your knee brace over or under your pants.
But if you are still suffering from chronic knee pain, consider getting it checked by your trusted doctor.
Chew, Kelvin T L et al. “Current evidence and clinical applications of therapeutic knee braces.” American journal of physical medicine & rehabilitation vol. 86,8 (2007): 678-86. DOI: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e318114e416
de Vries, A et al. “Effect of patellar strap and sports tape on pain in patellar tendinopathy: A randomized controlled trial.” Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports vol. 26,10 (2016): 1217-24. DOI: 10.1111/sms.12556