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Buying a knee brace can be very intimidating. Regardless of the price, you want to make sure you pick the right one from the start. Learning how to measure for a knee brace is an important step that you should not overlook.
The first step in buying a knee brace, which is determining the type of knee brace you need, was covered in my previous post, Types of Knee Braces. The second important step is to determine the size of the knee brace that you need. If you buy the wrong size, you may end up in more pain or discomfort that when you started out. You will also increase your chances of further injury if you wear the knee brace during physical activity.
Here are the steps to follow when measuring for your next knee brace:
1. Take a tailoring measuring tape and wrap it around the biggest part of your knee (i.e.: over the kneecap) and take note of the circumference. Make sure you measure in inches and not centimeters, as most sizing guides are provided in inches.
Important note – Do not proceed with this step if your knee is currently swollen. Take the necessary steps to get rid of the swelling, then take the measurement.
2. Measure the circumference of the area approx. 4 ½ inches below the middle of your kneecap and measure the circumference of the area 5 ½ inches above the middle of your kneecap. (This is only required for certain types of knee braces, however you might as well take down the numbers while you have the measuring tape out. You never know when you’ll need those numbers.)
3. Review the product details of the knee brace that you wish to purchase and compare your measurements against the sizing charts. If you don’t find your exact size, the general rule of thumb is to pick the next larger size, versus getting one that is smaller. If not, you may find the knee brace irritating and/or uncomfortable.
If you notice that the numbers don’t line up and you are uncomfortable picking a specific size, I recommend that you call the manufacturer of the particular knee brace you are interested in and get their opinion as to which one to get. They may ask you for additional measurements, which is why step # 2 can be useful.
4. Once you have picked the knee brace and size, familiarize yourself with the manufacturer’s return policy. You don’t want any surprises if you wind up picking the wrong size and you want to return it. Often, companies will allow you to return the brace within a specified amount of days, however, you should always confirm the details before you buy the brace.
Important reminder – It is crucial that you consult a doctor/physician before purchasing your knee brace. They will ensure that you are buying the correct one for your situation.
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