Regardless of whether you are recovering from a leg or knee injury, leg brace will not only assist in the recovery process but also provide extra support to your body.
But should you be wearing your leg or knee immobilizer to bed? Does sleeping with a knee brace or sleeve has any side effects? And if you can sleep with it then what can you do to make it more comfortable so that it would not interrupt your good night’s sleep too much?
Should I Wear a Knee Brace to Bed While Sleeping?
This is one of the most vital questions that’s on everyone’s mind, especially for those who are recovering from a leg or knee injury.
Well, in the real sense, it’s not as simple as saying yes or no.
Personally, from my experience interacting with doctors and those who have undergone knee surgery, there are times when it’s recommended by the doctor, and sometimes it’s not.
Putting on a knee brace will reduce the pain, and it will also enable you to move your leg without feeling a lot of pain freely.
Always ensure that when you decide to wear a knee brace or immobilizer is to assist you rather than hampering your recovery process.
There are two important aspects that you should always consider when looking to sleep with a knee brace. This is:
Consult Your Doctor
Always talk to your doctor, who will, in turn, advise you accordingly whether you should sleep an overnight immobilizer or brace that will firmly keep your leg in place aiding in the recovery phase.
Choose a Comfortable and Affordable Knee Brace
Currently, on the market, there are different brands of knee braces that are specifically designed for a wide range of functions. Don’t go for large braces or knee sleeves that will worsen your injury.
Doctors always recommend going for a brand that is light, comfortable and will provide robust knee support.
Additionally, choose the one that’s within your budget range so as not to bankrupt yourself.
How To Make Sleeping in a Knee Brace or Sleeve More Comfortable?
Sleeping with a knee brace overnight will minimize the worsening of your injury, but only if it’s done in the right manner.
Your doctor will always advise you accordingly if there are special instructions or requirements when sleeping with a leg brace.
Here are some of the most important tips that will make sleeping with a knee brace easier and comfy:
1. Using pillows
The reasoning behind this is the fact your legs will be elevated, thus reducing the pressure and tension placed on your leg.
Whether you decide to sleep on your back or side, it’s always advisable to invest in a right knee and body pillow.
We recommend the ComfiLife Orthopedic Knee Pillow and Snuggle-Pedic Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam Body Pillow.
Both are very highly rated and have thousands of good reviews.
Placing body pillows on either side of your body will reduce movement in bed while the knee pillow will provide superior knee support, whether its place between your legs or underneath it.
Always go for memory foam pillows as they are the best in the market.
2. Adjusting straps
Before calling it a night, depending on the severity of your injury, the doctors always advise adjusting your brace straps.
The main aim of sleeping with a knee brace is to limit leg movement, which otherwise will cause further pain and damage.
Make sure the straps are tight enough, securing everything firmly in place, ensuring it’s always not too tight so as not to limit blood circulation.
Note that we are looking to enhance muscle repair, not damage everything.
For those recovering for surgery, the doctor will advise you on how to tighten your straps.
3. Application of Ice Before Sleeping
Before heading off to bed, make sure you are feeling the least amount of pain. One of the best ways of doing this is by applying ice on the affected region, reducing the severity of pain.
The cold therapy will reduce the inflammation of the knee and swelling, providing you with pain relief as it numbs everything within the affected area.
4. Using Your Knee Brace for Extended Period
At first, putting on knee immobilizers or braces can be quite uncomfortable, itchy, and irritating, especially if it’s worn for long periods like overnight.
To get used to the brace, try wearing it for more extended periods; that’s if only your leg has the capabilities of handling it.
If you experience no comfort issues, then you can put on the brace for at least 8 hours.
But, in any case, if you experience some form of discomfort, talk to your doctor who can prescribe a change of knee braces that will provide extra knee support and fit you comfortably.
5. Keeping The Knee Area Hydrated
The chances are that if you wear your leg brace overnight, your skin will become itchy and dry.
Drying up of skin can result in rashes within the knee sleeve area, which can lead to some severe distress when sleeping at night.
For those who have one brace or more, you can always switch it up, which reduces the chances of irritation and rashes.
If you have only one, you can remove them in intervals and moisturize the affected area and allow it to air dry.
6. Using Lightweight Beddings
Using light beddings makes it easier when changing position or turning while sleeping.
It is recommended to go for sheets made of satin or soft materials, which reduces the pain and makes it seamless when turning over without interrupting your sleep.
7. Replacing knee immobilizers/ braces
Wearing braces for an extended period can cause skin irritation and rashes as a result of the accumulation of dust and sweat, which can cause itching around the covered area, disrupting your sleep partners.
If you are an active person who goes outdoors most of the time, it’s advisable to get an additional knee brace for sleeping.
Proper care and hygiene around the knee area will reduce the chances of skin infections; your braces should be clean, reducing the collection of dirt and debris.
Most of the knee braces brands can be machine washed; thus, it’s not a bad idea having two or three immobilizers. That will ensure you always have a clean one when heading to bed.
Under conditions, it’s recommended to change your knee brace after one or two days.
If your knee sleeve brace has an odor or smell, then it’s a good indication that you should change it.
Sleeping With a Knee Brace After ACL Surgery
A lot of ACL finds adjust to sleeping patterns can be a little bit difficult and tedious; it’s imperative to find a sleeping position that will make you sleep comfortably throughout the night.
For some days you’ll sleep like a baby while for other days you will have trouble sleeping. Here are some tips and tricks on how you can sleep after an ACL surgery.
Sleeping On your back
After surgery, sleeping on your back will be the most comfortable position. For stomach or side sleepers, it’s always advisable to start practicing laying on your back before surgery.
Keeping your legs elevated and straight is essential, thus using a cushion or firm pillow under your ankle and calf will allow your leg to rest comfortably.
On your side
After you begin regaining mobility on your knee, you can now start to change position comfortably without excruciating pain.
The main benefit of side position is it complements your healing process enabling you to bend your knee.
On your stomach
After ACL surgery, it’s prohibited to sleep on your stomach as it prevents your leg from being elevated or straight.
It also increases the chances of turning and twisting, which hampers your recovery process.
After you regain a bit of motion, you can talk with your surgeon. Your healing progress will determine a range of positions that you might be comfortable in.
Using pain meds
As we had talked about earlier, you may find some days are much better than others, especially the first days or weeks after surgery.
If the pain becomes unbearable, your doctor can prescribe pain medications that will reduce the pain, allowing you to sleep better.
After surgery, you’ll have limited mobility, thus it’s vital to always reduce your movement or steps.
It’s always advised to begin sleeping downstairs, which reduces the time and pain felt when climbing stairs.
A knee brace is an essential tool for managing pain. Choosing the right knee immobilizer can be quite tricky; thus, it’s important to follow the doctor’s advice and recommendations.
For this article, we have shared some helpful tips on sleeping with your leg brace.
Also, If you have any questions or recommendations about knee sleeves, don’t hesitate and share them. Ciao!