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How to Use a Knee Immobilizer

A knee immobilizer is a brace that wraps around the leg to keep the knee straight. It is made of fabric, padding, and straps that hold it closed. Long pieces of metal on the sides keep the brace straight. Using the brace correctly will make your child more comfortable and help healing.

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To put the brace on:

  1. Lay the brace open with the inside facing up.

  2. Put the leg on top of the brace. Put the wide end of the brace under your child's thigh near the buttocks and the narrow end under your child's calf, near the ankle.

  3. Wrap the fabric around the leg so the straight bars are on either side of the leg.

  4. If there is a hole in the fabric, it should fit over your child's kneecap.

  5. Tighten the straps. Start near the ankle and work up.

  6. Be sure the straps don't go over the top of the knee.

  7. Have your child stand up to check the fit.

    • If the brace slides down, try again and close the straps more tightly.

    • If the brace feels too tight, loosen the straps a little.

  • Your child can wear the brace on a bare leg (with shorts or under a dress) or over pants or leggings.

  • Remind your child to wiggle the toes often.

  • Ask the health care provider if the brace can be removed for sleep, changing, or bathing. 

  • If the brace can be removed:

    • Take it off every day when your child changes clothes. Clean and check your child's skin.

    • Your child should not stand on the leg when the brace is off, unless the health care provider says it's OK.

  • If the brace can't be removed, help your child cover it with a plastic bag while washing to keep it dry.

Safety: 

  • If your child got crutches, make sure they are used safely.

  • The safest way up or down the steps is to sit down and scoot. 

  • If the health care provider said it's OK to walk up and down the stairs:

    • Go slowly.

    • When going up, step up with the healthy leg first, then bring the other leg up.

    • When going down, move the leg with the brace down first, then bring the healthy leg down.

Care of the brace:

  • Keep it clean and dry. If something spills on it, wipe it with a damp cloth and let it air dry.

  • Leave the long metal pieces in place. The ends should not stick out past the end of the padding.

  • Do not tear, cut, or twist the immobilizer.

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  • Your child's foot or toes are swollen, numb, tingling, pale, or blue. Remove the brace, then call.

  • The skin under the brace becomes red, raw, painful, or bruised.

  • You can't put the brace on or it is very uncomfortable.

  • The brace is broken or wet.

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How long will my child wear the knee brace? Most kids wear a knee immobilizer a few days to a few weeks, depending on the injury or surgery. The health care provider will tell you when it's OK to stop using it.

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