How to Use a Knee Immobilizer

A doctor adjusts a knee immobilizer on a patient.
Image Credit: Wavebreakmedia/iStock/Getty Images

A knee immobilizer is a type of brace worn on the leg to lock the knee in extension and prevent motion of the joint. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, a knee immobilizer is often used after an acute injury to the knee, such as a ligament rupture or a fracture. Knee immobilizers are also commonly prescribed after ACL or total knee replacement surgery. Proper use of the knee immobilizer is crucial to prevent the knee from bending.

Step 1

Place the knee immobilizer on an elevated, flat surface. If it comes with a pad for the back of the knee, place the pad in the appropriate spot.

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Step 2

Lift and swing the affected leg until it rests on top of the brace, keeping the leg straight. Adjust the brace under the leg so the patellar opening in the middle lines up with the kneecap.

Step 3

Fasten the closure straps. Ossur, a manufacturer of braces and immobilizers, suggests fastening the straps from the bottom of the leg up and pulling the straps snug.

Step 4

Check for proper fit. The patellar opening should be directly over the kneecap, and the brace should not slip when the patient stands.

Step 5

Try to walk while wearing the knee immobilizer to better assess the fit. If the brace slips, sit back down and start at the beginning, pulling the straps tighter.

Warning

Never use a knee immobilizer for longer than indicated by a physician. Doing so can lead to severe loss of knee motion.

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Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911. If you think you may have COVID-19, use the CDC’s Coronavirus Self-Checker.
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