Knees are among the most complex joints in our body. If we get them injured, we’ll face a lot of troubles and difficulties keeping our balance and walking properly. Whether you’ve recently had an injury, surgery or you suffer from arthritis or some other condition, your doctor must’ve prescribed a knee sleeve or knee brace to help you keep your joint in place, while it assists you in the healing process.
However, unless the doctor explained to you all the necessities you need to know about knee sleeves, you must have a lot of questions.
One of the most popular questions about knee sleeves is whether you can sleep with a knee sleeve on and how long you should wear one. If there’s a time limit of how long you should wear it, it’s best to discuss it with your doctor.
However, in this article, we’re going to detail how you can effectively sleep with a knee sleeve on without pushing additional strain on your joints and allowing you to rest decently and wake up refreshed.
Do your knees hurt? We understand you, knees are quite complex, as mentioned earlier. No person didn’t experience at least some discomfort that is connected to the knees and that’s okay. There’s a range of discomfort that one can feel from simple swelling and pain to falls, sprains, and inflammation. For a lot of people, the pain can become so unbearable that not even medicines and rest helps.
Some people get their mobility affected by knee pain which can be quite disturbing and prevent people from going on about their daily activities. That’s where knee sleeves and knee braces come into play. Studies show that wearing an elastic knee sleeve helps with osteoarthritis and other conditions that could affect the knees.
Can You Sleep With a Knee Sleeve On?
The answer is yes, but under a certain few conditions that your doctor may set up based on your injury. With knees being such complicated parts of our body there are 1001 ways to get it injured and sprained. Some pain may be acute and resolve within a few weeks since the injury while some pain could turn into chronic.
Different conditions like arthritis and osteoporosis can lead to chronic knee pain, or hip pain that especially radiates to the knee, and oftentimes such pain can be unbearable for the patients.
However, it’s important to communicate with your doctor and see what are the best ways to wear the knee sleeve. Understandably, the sleeve is most effective when you’re resting in bed as it’s more effective in reducing swelling and inflammation.
The doctor will tell you whether the sleeve is enough or you need to wear a knee brace, which is more complicated and more invasive, and harder to hide. Whatever is the case, your doctor will tell you what you need to do individually for your condition, as wearing the sleeve at the right times will be more beneficial to reducing your pain.
How to Sleep With a Knee Sleeve On Properly?
Granted your doctor allowed you to sleep with the knee sleeve on, which was expected to be, you must know that sleeping with the sleeve on can be quite difficult. If you’re sleeping in a warm environment and the sleeve attaches tightly against your knee, you’ll likely start sweating.
That being said, sleeping with a knee sleeve can be quite uncomfortable for some people and rid them of the night rest and healthy sleep cycle until they get used to it. Given that getting used to sleeping with a knee sleeve can take time, here is how to sleep with one properly and accommodate it as soon as possible.
Sleep On Your Back
This one seems logical, sleeping on the back is the most neutral position for us. It allows for natural spine alignment. It’s no secret that sleeping in a neutral position where your back is positioned evenly takes away the swelling and stress from your joints, especially your knees and ankles.
There are several ways to make sleeping on the back more comfortable. However, those who are restless sleepers and have a habit to toss and turn in the night, crossing, and bending legs may have a few more difficulties getting used to sleeping on their back, fixed in a position while wearing the knee sleeve.
Editor’s notes: There are additional things to do to make sleeping on back a better experience:
- Lay on more than one pillow, two to three are preferable to neutralize the spine even more and lay it in a more appropriate position.
- Invest in a mattress topper or a new mattress if sleeping on the back is uncomfortable for you.
Studies show that there’s a link between knee pain and poor sleeping position, which is why it’s important to position or back appropriately.
Reinforce Your Knee
There are a couple of objects that you could place underneath the knee to have it be elevated above you. That way, the swelling would go away and your knee sleeve would assist it in it. However, a lot of people don’t know what to use. Consider using additional pillows, the same ones that you could use with your head in the previous paragraphs.
If you don’t have enough pillows to assist your knee, you could put a smaller stool under it. Some people even get enough creativity and line up several thicker, and bigger books that could fit your knee on. Still, it’d be good if you could place a small cushion on the top just to keep your knee comfortable.
Some people also consider putting ice bags in the space between the knee and the knee sleeve to reduce inflammation. Ice is a great tool that works as a cooling therapy on joints, whether it’s the knee or some other joint.
That being said, you should consider using it if you’ve had a long day and want to keep your knee cool and reduce the swelling that accumulated over the day faster.
Editor’s notes: Some people, however, are not comfortable with keeping the knee cool with ice as once it melts, the water sips everywhere making the sleep environment wet and causing discomfort.
Otherwise, you can use gels, which are a research-approved method. Just like there are heating gels that people with sciatica and arthritis use, there are cooling gels that help you cool down the inflammation. They can be as effective, especially if you have someone massage the gel into your knee.
Don’t Avoid Painkillers If The Pain is Unbearable
For some people, pain is just an inevitable part of every knee injury, especially if you had surgery recently. There are many medicines that you could use to soothe the pain, but if you want to have a peaceful night’s rest, it’d be best to take ibuprofen or Tylenol (Paracetamol) as it can make the swelling go away quicker and reduce the otherwise unbearable pain.
Editor’s notes: These medicines are also commonly prescribed with fever. That being said, taking either of these medicines can help you reduce the inflammation and heat in the knee after some time. It’d be best to combine these medicines with the knee sleeve until you feel that the pain is starting to subside.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sleeping With a Knee Sleeve On?
Whether you’re employing a knee sleeve or a knee brace for your knee injury, there are a lot of questions that need answers. We compiled the most common questions and will be happy to answer them for you.
Can I Sleep On Stomach With Knee Sleeve On?
It depends on what kind of injury you’re dealing with. Some people wear knee sleeves just for the added level of comfort, while some people wear them as to not tear their tendons and ligaments. Whatever the case may be for you, your doctor should be able to answer your questions.
Professional advice would be to start with sleeping on the back, as your situation with pain and swelling is improving you can try to switch sides. Just make sure to reinforce your knee with extra pillows or cushions regardless of which side you sleep on.
Can I Wear Knee Sleeve All Day And Night?
If your doctor approves with it and your sleeve doesn’t touch your knee too tightly, there’s nothing wrong with wearing it the whole day and night. However, as you notice that the situation with your knee is improving you should take a break and stop wearing it all the time. All in all, there’s nothing wrong with wearing it at the night.
How to Sleep With a Knee Sleeve On If I’m a Side Sleeper?
While we recommend people with injuries who want to keep the sleeve on through the night to sleep on their back, it’s possible to sleep on their side if they notice that their condition is improving and the sleeve is helping. However, there are two rules with that:
- You shouldn’t sleep on the side of the affected knee as that puts pressure on your hip and with that on your other joints, including the knee.
- You should keep a pillow between the thighs to give more air and space to your legs and let your spine align with your joints.
You should still find a way to reinforce the affected knee with additional pillows and cushions. That way you’ll avoid excess swelling and remove the strain from muscles and ligaments. As your knee is elevated, you should also be able to reduce the swelling and excess fluids that are trapped in the knee.