Maybe you’ve heard of knee wraps before? Or maybe not? Either way, this post is for you!

I’ll share what I know about knee wraps, the benefits of wearing one, when to use them, and how to choose the right one for you and your needs.

So, knee wraps also known to some as soft knee brace or compression sleeves (the terms are used interchangeably).

Knee wraps are becoming increasingly popular within the fitness industry amongst weightlifters and competitive athletes alike.

In fact, they are fast becoming a must-use accessory for injury prevention, aiding knee strength, and helping the knee recover from injury.

But what do knee wraps actually do to your knees? Let’s find out.

What Are Knee Wraps For?

In short, knee wraps provide added support and stability to the knee while improving blood circulation during workouts or physical exertion.

They’re designed to help you get the most out of a workout and reach your fitness goals simultaneously.

Using knee wraps can help an individual lift heavier weights in the gym, improve squat performance, walk easier, and aid lateral stability.

If you’ve ever been curious about knee wraps or knee support and want more information on them, read on.

What are knee wraps?

Knee wraps are unique, wide elastic straps made from different materials, usually either nylon, cotton, or rubber.

They’re designed to wrap around the knee or pull over the knee, depending on the brand used.

In doing so, they provide extra support and stability to the knee joint, improving blood flow to the area and speeding up healing and/or rehabilitation.

With a seemingly endless array of shapes, sizes, colors, and thicknesses on offer, you can be sure to find the perfect wrap for your needs.

However, you’ll likely need some advice from a specialist to find the most appropriate knee wrap for you.

I recommend doing so to avoid making the wrong knee wrap purchase. After all, knee wraps can be expensive and, if misused, can cause further knee issues as a result of loss of blood flow, etc.

KeagenHadley-male athlete-removing-red-and-black-knee-wraps-after-use

Types of knee wraps

The type of knee wrap you need depends entirely on what you’re doing while wearing the knee wrap and your existing knee condition.

It’s really down to personal preference unless you’re being prescribed a knee wrap by an orthopedic surgeon (post-knee injury), in which case they ought to advise you.

To give some other examples, competitive powerlifters looking to maximize performance and reduce the risk of injury might consider investing in thicker-style knee wraps with more robust support.

The elastic material used in thick knee wraps allows a high amount of energy to be stored in the knee area, increasing mechanical output and reducing strain on the joint during physical exertion.

The improved blood circulation to the knee joint from wearing a knee wrap also helps reduce pain and speed up recovery.

The support of a knee wrap also helps a weightlifter do faster squats and improve form and routine, maybe even helping them meet their rep max if they want to achieve this.

Knee wraps made from neoprene material are popular in this sense and are often seen on gym goers.

Being thicker in texture while retaining their shape, they offer more substantial support to the knee joint.

In contrast, someone with a knee injury (with reduced weight-bearing activities) should consider using a thinner material knee wrap, such as one made from cotton, worn over a longer period to help provide compression to alleviate swelling and promote healing.

As you can see, it depends on what activities and support you need around your knee when choosing a suitable knee wrap.

If you’re ever in doubt, get advice from a physical therapist, healthcare practitioner, or the knee wrap manufacturers themselves. They should be able to point you in the right direction.

Above all else, remember that the most important thing is your knee health.

Trust me, as someone who’s previously sustained life-changing knee injuries, you don’t want to buy just any old knee wrap.

Follow professional guidance at all times to get the best one for you!

Benefits of knee wraps

These are some of the benefits of knee wraps during exercise or strenuous sports activities:

  • Improved athletic performance/peak power
  • Reduced risk of injury
  • Improved lower leg circulation
  • Stability of the knees
  • Pain relief and reduction

When to use knee wraps

The moments that you might consider wearing a knee wrap are:

  1. When you want to improve performance in the gym, on the track, or when running outdoors on hard surfaces.
  2. When you want to reduce the risk of injury and aid knee stability.
  3. When you need extra support in the lower legs to bear heavier loads during a deadlift or when lifting weights.
  4. When you want to improve blood circulation to your knees and aid injury recovery.
  5. If you feel knee pain during exercise. Wearing a knee wrap or knee compression sleeve might help reduce pain and limit the risk of future injuries.

How to choose the right knee wrap

When selecting the ideal knee wrap for your needs, finding one that offers a snug (not tight!) fit, and the right amount of support is essential.

First off, taking accurate measurements of your knees will help determine the size that best suits you.

The critical thing to know is that different materials offer different levels of elasticity, breathability, and support.

I would say to do some research to determine what type of fabric would work best for your activity level.

You’ll also want to consider whether to wear one knee wrap or invest in a pair of knee wraps to help with your athletic performance.

Suppose you’re dealing with an existing knee injury or chronic knee pain.

In this case, I recommend you consult an orthopedic doctor or physical therapist before purchasing any assistive device, such as a knee wrap.

Getting the right size knee wrap and support/thickness is critical to helping your knee recover and preventing further injury.

I hope you find this post helpful in your search for better knee support.

Remember! Choose the most suitable knee wrap for you, and you’ll be well on your way to your athletic best.

Why not read my other posts for more knee health advice? You can find them here.

About the Author

Hi there! I’m Dr. Keagen Hadley, OTD, OTR/L. Straight out of the University of Mary, I’m all about blending my know-how in knee health, well-being, and medical technology. As a licensed occupational therapy doc, I’m here to translate complex concepts into clear, actionable insights – whether it’s knee care or groundbreaking healthcare tech.

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