Whether you have sustained a serious sports injury and/or you are recovering from knee surgery, there may come a time when you need to purchase a knee brace for extra support. Not only that, depending on your situation, you may also have to wear one while you sleep at night, to prevent further injury and stress on your knee. The purpose of today’s post is to provide you with a few tips & tricks that should make sleeping with a knee brace a bit easier.
Before we get into that, we highly recommend that you consult your doctor beforehand. Your doctor will know your situation a lot better than anyone else and they should be able to tell you whether sleeping with a knee brace is a good idea or not and if there are any precautions you need to take.
Can You Wear a Knee Brace At Night?
This is a question that we’ve been getting a lot lately. Unfortunately, it’s not exactly a simple yes or no answer because every situation is different. Based on personal experience and several conversations with people who suffer with knee pain or who have undergone knee surgery, there are times when it is necessary to sleep with one. For example, when you undergo knee surgery, the surgeon may recommend that you wear a knee immobilizer or brace for a certain period of time to make sure the joint stays securely in place in order to recover properly, and this often includes at night.
Other times, a doctor may recommend that you wear one at night if your knee pain is preventing you from sleeping (i.e.: where sudden movements cause your pain to be unbearable.). In those cases, a knee brace can help to support your knee, especially if you are the type of person who tosses and turns in their sleep a lot.
Really, the only person that can and should make the final call whether you should sleep with a knee brace or not, is your doctor and/or surgeon. Now that we’ve covered that, please keep reading for some tips and tricks on how to make sleeping with a brace more bearable.
Sleeping with a Knee Brace
- Tip # 1 – Invest in pillows – If possible, try to sleep on your back. The main reason is that it is easier to elevate your leg with pillows if needed and it will avoid the situation where one leg puts pressure on the other. Whether you sleep on your side or back, you might want to think about investing in a few body pillows and a knee pillow. First, the body pillows can be used on each side of your body to prevent (or at least reduce) the chances of moving around in bed. For the knee pillow, make sure you get one made out of memory foam. They are designed for maximum comfort, whether you are using it to elevate your leg or using it in between your knees when sleeping on your side. An option that works well is the ComfiLife Orthopedic Knee Pillow:
- Tip # 2 – Adjust the straps – Before you head off to bed, adjust your straps based on your injury. If you are sleeping with a knee brace with the intention of preventing your knee from moving around (causing pain and possibly more damage), then make sure it is tight enough to keep everything in place. Just make sure it’s not too tight where you cut off the circulation. If you are recovering from surgery, your doctor might advise that you keep things a bit tighter.
- Tip # 3 – Apply ice before you sleep – You want to make sure that you are in the least amount of pain as possible before you go to bed. One great way to reduce the pain is by icing the affected area. Cold therapy can reduce knee inflammation, knee swelling and provide much needed knee pain relief before going to bed. A good option is the SimplyJnJ Knee Cold Therapy Wrap:
- DESIGNED FOR THE KNEE - The gel packs and wrap were specifically designed to contour the knee area for a more focused treatment. Fits the left or right knee, up to 24 inches. (See sizing chart)
- REDUCE KNEE PAIN AND SWELLING - Our cold therapy wrap helps to reduce swelling, inflammation and pain caused by Arthritis, Runner's Knee, tendinitis, bursitis, meniscus / ACL ligament tears, knee...
- WHY COMPRESSION IS IMPORTANT - The added compression ensures that there is proper contact between the ice gel pack and the affected knee for a deeper treatment, compared to just using ice packs on...
- Tip # 4 – Test your knee brace for longer periods – Some braces might become irritating, itchy, and all together uncomfortable to wear for longer periods of time, such as overnight. Try wearing the knee brace for a longer stretch of time to see if your leg can handle it. If you don’t have any comfort issues during that time, then chances are the brace is something you can wear for at least eight hours without issue.
- Tip # 5 – Keep the area hydrated – When you wear a brace all night, and likely all day, the skin below can become dried out and itchy. When you get dry skin like this it can lead to rashes along the lines of the brace, but more importantly, it can cause serious discomfort while you are trying to sleep. If you have more than one brace, switch them out occasionally so that there is less chance of direct rashes or irritation in the exact same spots. If that’s not possible. Remove the brace and moisturize your knee area and let it air out for a while.
- Tip #6 – Invest in lightweight bedding – this makes it easier for you to turn and change position without disrupting your sleep. You can use sheets made of satin or any other smooth material which makes it easier and less painful to turn over the bed.
Hopefully these tips help you get through a night of sleeping with a knee brace. If you have any other suggestions, we’d love to hear from you. Just use the comment box below. Until next time!