Sport Therapy Support Team

What is a Knee Immobilizer, and What Does it Do?

What is a Knee Immobilizer, and What Does it Do?

If you have recently undergone knee surgery or a fracture, your physician might recommend a knee immobilizer.

A knee immobilizer is a tool or a belt that helps in limiting the knee joint movement. It prevents the knee from external or additional damage and provides ample time to heal it. In case of a fracture, it holds the structure in a steady and constant position that reduces pain and inflammation and helps bones align. 

Knee immobilizers are much stiffer and more substantial than knee braces. It was recently replaced as an advanced cast applied to the patients for joint support after injury. However, one should use a knee immobilizer appropriately in the prescribed manner to prevent the knee from further damage and bending.

knee pain knee brace

What is the Purpose of a Knee Immobilizer?

It protects the knee if you have:

  • A recent knee surgery.
  • Knee fractures.
  • Knee injury and sprains.
  • Any bone deformity.

What are the Advantages of Using a Knee Immobilizer?

A knee immobilizer helps in the following ways:

  • Reducing pain

It helps in reducing pain after any injury that is associated with the movement of the joint. It immobilizes the joint and restricts its movement. Moreover, it lifts the stress from the joint and applies a little pressure to the thigh, which relieves pain and discomfort at the injury site. 

  • Aligning the internal structures

It is an excellent tool that holds internal structures together and helps the bone to regrow in no time. 

  • Protection from the outer environment

It protects the injury site from further damage and potential tears and supports the knee while facilitating minimal movement. 

  • Healing time

Resting is essential when it comes to healing. It immobilizes the joint movement giving ample amount of time to the injury to heal itself. 

yoga knee

What are the Differences Between a Knee Immobilizer and a Knee Brace?

A knee immobilizer is an advanced cast that holds the joint to restrain the movement. On the other hand, the knee brace is a supporting and protecting tool that anyone can wear for minor swelling, inflammation, and pain in the joints.

Knee braces are relatively less stiff, and thus they facilitate smooth movement. Whereas the primary function of the knee immobilizer is to limit movement at all after surgery and aid in the fast healing of fractures and sprains. 

How can I use a Knee Immobilizer? What is the Proper Technique of Wearing it?

A physician or physiotherapist will recommend you a knee immobilizer based on your condition. If they have advised you to wear it, you need to do the following things:

Get the Right Size

A knee immobilizer should completely fit you. Unlike braces, they don’t have a standard size for all. Consult your medical health care provider and get your correct size. Then, they will fit it on your knees using their technique.

Inspect the Area Around the Attachment

Always follow the doctor’s instructions and wear a knee immobilizer as per the guidance. Inspect the area around the immobilizer and see its condition. If it has swelling, redness, or pus, call your doctor immediately.

Inspect the Immobilizer Frequently

Check if the knee immobilizer fits your knee appropriately. Call your doctor immediately if it is displaced or loosened. It might need a bit of fixing or changing the size. If it has been displaced from its place, it may cause further injury to the joint.

Alongside this, check if it is damaged or worn. In that case, your doctor will replace it with a new one. 

Cleaning Methods

It is necessary to clean your knee immobilizer to prevent infections, especially if you have an open wound or cut. The best way is to wash it with soft soap and water. Refrain from using heavy detergents. Also, don’t wash the immobilizer belt in the washer or dryer. Experts prefer hand wash over mechanical wash as it may interfere with its fitting. 

Special Instructions

Kindly prevent the knee immobilizer from getting dirty or damaged. Keep the area dry and clean at all times. Ask your medical care provider if you can wear it over clothes or not. Often, when doctors allow patients to change the immobilizer belt, they can wear it over dresses. This depends on the situation and the condition of the knee joint. 

Movement

Inquire from your medical healthcare provider if you can move your leg or not. In some instances, we advise you a complete bed rest with a passive range of motion for weeks. Seek approval from your doctor if minimal or active leg movement is allowed. 

How to Wear, Fix, or Replace the Knee Immobilizer? 

Ideally, your doctor fixes the knee immobilizer for the first time. However, if the doctor advises you to change it, you can follow these simple steps to replace the knee immobilizer.

Steps to Changing the Knee Immobilizer

  1. Inspect the surgery or injury site for any signs of inflammation or infection. Contact your medical professional with any concerns.
  2. Place the belt or immobilizer on a flat surface, preferably a table or a chair above your leg level.
  3. Raise your leg and place it on the immobilizer. Make sure if it has paddings, then place it correctly under the knee. The kneecap should cover the patellar bone appropriately.
  4. Start fastening the belts beginning from the bottom to top.
  5. Once you tie it nice, and tight, make sure it fixes the knee properly. It shouldn’t fall or displace when you stand or walk. Remember, don’t put a lot of pressure on the injury site. 

Tip: Before changing the knee immobilizer, always inspect the surgery or injury site for any signs of inflammation or infection.

Takeaway

A knee immobilizer is a belt that restricts the knee joint movement in case of any surgery, sprain, or injury. It protects and supports the knee and holds the internal structures together while helping the common heal itself. It is more convenient and comfortable than the casts which people used previously.

A physiotherapist can guide you related to using the immobilizer belt in the best way for you by looking at your injury. Many patients around the world have reported better results and quick healing with knee immobilizers. Lastly, call your doctor in case your knee immobilizer damages or displaces. It’s also important to report to the doctor immediately if signs of infection to the injured site are present. 

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