What you can expect

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Some types of knee braces are ready-made in several sizes. Some designs allow you to adjust the pressure they apply to your knee, depending on how much support you need for different activities and at different times of day. If you find an off-the-shelf brace that fits you well, you may be able to take it home that day.

Custom knee braces are designed and built to fit your exact measurements. But it takes time to build a custom knee brace, so you may have to wait for a few weeks. When your custom brace is ready, the orthotist will check the fit before you take it home.

During your knee brace fitting

You may adjust to wearing a knee brace more quickly if you start with a good fit, which is the goal of working with an orthotist. During the fitting, the orthotist may:

  • Examine your knee
  • Ask about your history of knee arthritis and the symptoms that trouble you most
  • Ask what activities you hope to increase by wearing a knee brace
  • Ask you to walk a few paces to show how your knee functions
  • Take several measurements of your leg to determine what size you need
  • Discuss the pros and cons of off-the-shelf and custom braces
  • Explain how knee brace designs differ from each other
  • Have you try various knee braces to determine what style feels best and is easiest for you to use

After your knee brace fitting

With help from the orthotist, you'll learn how to put on and take off the knee brace and how to tell whether it needs adjustment. You may walk around to try out your brace.

Follow the orthotist's or your doctor's instructions about when to wear your knee brace. Some people wear their knee braces only during continuous activity, such as walking or playing certain sports. Other people find it beneficial to wear the brace most of the day.

Jul. 17, 2013