How to Keep a Knee Brace From Slipping Down: 9 Effective Tips

Wearing a knee brace is an effective weight to support your knee joint while doing various exercises or even during everyday activities if your doctor gives you the OK.

Knee braces also keep the knee joint from moving wrong, delivering much-needed stability for folks with injured or weak knees.

Additionally, these tools provide a level of pressure on the knee area, which helps alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, promote healing, and increase comfort.

To make sure you get all of the benefits of a knee brace, yours should actually stay in place!

This is where our article comes in.

Today, we’ve put together a list of tips to guide you on how to keep a knee brace from slipping down. So start taking notes!

How to Keep a Knee Brace From Slipping Down

1. Figure Out Why Your Knee Brace Is Slipping

To prevent your knee brace from sliding down your leg, you should first figure out why it’s happening. This way, you can choose the best method to effectively resolve the issue.

So let’s take a look at a few of the main and common reasons your knee brace just won’t stay in place:

  • The size and/or fit are improper — if your knee brace is too large or too loose, there’s no doubt it’ll slip down your leg. Not only does this mean you won’t be getting any benefit from the knee brace, but it also may cause you to trip if it goes down low enough.

If your knee brace is too small or too tight, it may start rolling down when you move as a form of resistance to how stretched the material is. In both cases, proper size and/or fit will fix the problem.

  • The normal effect of gravity throughout the day — if you wear your knee brace for prolonged periods, sliding down from its place is inevitable due to the force of gravity pulling it down.

While you can’t stop gravity, you can surely use a grip-boosting element to delay its effects until you take off the knee brace.

  • The accumulation of sweat — depending on the material of the knee brace and the type/intensity of activities you do while wearing it, sweat may build up on the skin underneath your knee brace.

This mixture of moisture and heat will reduce the grip of the brace’s material and make your skin more slippery, causing the knee brace to move downwards. Checking the material of the knee brace and using a sweat-eliminating agent can do the trick.

how to keep a knee brace from slipping down:Women's legs with a knee pad for rehabilitation after injuries. Close-up. Isolated on white background.

2. Choose the Right Style of Knee Brace

Knee braces come in a range of styles to provide different levels of support, stability, pressure, and comfort for various types of injuries and activities. As such, choosing the right style of knee brace depends on the sort and severity of your injury as well as the kind and intensity of movements you want to do.

Common knee brace styles include the following:

  • Compression sleeves — these slip-on braces are meant to provide the joint with pressure and heat. They’re the go-to option for general low-severity injuries.
  • Supports — these braces are wrapped around the knee and adjusted to offer different levels of compression and stability.
  • Stabilizers — these braces feature steel springs on either side of the patella to keep it in place.
  • Hinges — these let your knee joint move more freely compared to other styles.
  • Open patella — this design could be in any of the styles above, aiming to reduce the pressure on the knee cap to boost flexibility.
  • Closed patella — this design could be in any of the styles above, aiming to deliver compression and support to the whole knee joint.

In case of an injury, it’s best to let your physician determine the proper knee brace.

3. Choose the Right Size of Knee Brace

As we mentioned earlier, if the size of your knee brace is too big, the looseness will cause it to slide down your leg. This will eliminate any benefit you’re supposed to get from the brace and also put you at risk of tripping accidents.

Also, if the size of your knee brace is too small, the pressure of stretching can cause it to roll down, especially in compression sleeves. It may also suffocate your leg, hindering normal circulation and pinching the nerves leading to pain, swelling, and tingling.

This is why you should pay extra attention to the size of your knee brace. Different brands provide size charts with measurements above, below, and/or across the knee.

Your goal when it comes to picking a size for your knee brace is to have it fit snugly around your knee without feeling pain.

4. Put on the Knee Brace Correctly

Your knee brace will never stay in place if you don’t put it on correctly. Here’s how to get the job done:

  • First, make sure your skin is bare and clean enough to receive the brace. This means removing any residue from ointments, creams, or oils you’ve used on your knee. Make sure the area is dry.
  • Insert your foot through the opening of the knee brace then pull it up until it reaches your knee. Use your knee cap as a marker as to where the brace should be centered.

Your knee brace may feature a hole or a dip where the knee cap should go. Following it will ensure you orient the knee brace in the right direction.

Properly aligning your brace with your knee will help the brace take to the contours of your knee area, reducing the chances of slipping down.

5. Tighten the Fit

Your knee brace may not be tight enough against your knee, which will cause it to slip down faster and easier. So if you hadn’t already done it, try tightening the fit of your knee brace to the tightest possible level that doesn’t cause you pain.

You want a super snug fit but be careful not to over-tighten the knee brace to keep the circulation flowing and avoid pinching the nerves. To make sure this happens, we recommend you follow the 2-finger method:

  • Put on your knee brace as we discussed above.
  • Fasten the closure and tighten the straps.
  • Place two of your fingers under one of the straps and observe:
    • If you can slide your fingers underneath but there’s a bit of a struggle, then the fit is probably tight enough.
    • If you can slide your fingers underneath too easily and there’s room for a 3rd finger, then the fit is probably too loose.
    • If you can’t slide your fingers underneath or you can only find room for one finger, then the fit is probably too tight.
  • Repeat the steps above with each strap.

6. Wear a Layer Under the Knee Brace

HOSPORA Cotton Elastic Bandage, 4 Inch x 13-15 feet Stretched Length with Hook and Loop Closure, Latex-Free Compression Bandage(Pack of 5)

In some cases, your knee brace will stay in place better if you don’t wear it directly on your skin.

Instead of bare skin, you may want to try adding a layer between the knee brace and your skin. This could provide the gripping power needed to prevent the brace from sliding down your leg.

A popular option here would be wrapping your knee area with elastic compression bandages. Not only will these offer a textured surface for an improved grip, but they’ll also reduce the friction of the brace’s material against your skin and place more compression on the knee.

7. Use Self Adhesive Bandage Wrap

Self adhesive bandage wrap - 2 Inches by 5 Yards Cohesive Bandage for All Sports (Pack of 12) | Brown Non-Woven Self adhering Bandage Wrap | Breathable Athletic Tape for Wrists, Knee and Ankle

Another solution you can try to keep your knee brace in place is to wrap the affected area with a self-adhesive bandage.

Place some underneath the straps to help them stay up. Also, place some on the calf below the brace to prevent it from sliding down.

8. Use an Absorbent Powder

Gold Bond Medicated Talc-Free Original Strength Body Powder 10 oz., Cooling, Absorbing, Itch Relief

If you often find yourself sweating underneath the knee brace, consider using an absorbent powder such as medicated body powder. This won’t just take up the excess moisture to keep you dry, but it’ll also help eliminate odors and reduce itching.

9. Pick a Sweat-Resistant Material

Finally, the material of your knee brace should be sweat-resistant to eliminate slipping issues caused by the build-up of excess moisture underneath the brace.

Find something made out of a knit material such as neoprene. These are usually breathable and moisture-wicking to keep your skin dry and cool.

Wrap Up

There you have it, a complete guide on how to keep a knee brace from slipping down. Be sure to pinpoint the cause of the sliding first so you can choose the most effective way to prevent it.