Help, I'm allergic to my kneebrace!

I injured a knee a couple of months ago and the orthopedic doc says it’s the sort of injury that can’t be repaired through surgery. Since it’s a cartilage injury it’s going to take a looong time to heal, if it ever does (doc says I may have to just live with it :frowning: ). I’ve been told to take my Celebrex and wear my kneebrace until, hopefully, there is some major improvement. Not the substitute kneebrace I bought at the pharmacy, but the heavy-duty neoprene kneebrace the orthopedic doc provided. (This is a very thick, stretchy, one-piece brace that pulls on over my foot.)

The problem is that I seem to be allergic to neoprene rubber. After a few hours the skin underneath the brace looks like I’ve had an attack of shingles and burns, stings, and itches all at the same time. On my last visit the ortho. doc gave me a ‘stockinette’ to wear underneath the brace, but the damned brace keeps sliding down my leg. Not all at once; it works its way down gradually as I’m walking, etc.

Not only is this annoying, it’s painful as hell when I bend my knee. The injury is so sensitive that the pressure of my pants-leg when I bend my knee is agonizing - multiply that a thousand times when this damned rubber brace presses on it! I’ve tried cutting the toe off of thin socks and nylon hose to wear underneath the brace, but the brace still slides. (On preview: It doesn’t slide when it’s contacting bare skin.)

Any Dopers have ideas I can try to stop this damned brace from sliding down my leg while still protecting my idiotic and uncooperative skin? I’ve just about decided that a garter belt is the only solution, although I don’t know where I’d find one that could latch onto this thick rubber thing.

Besides, that’s going to look really stupid when I’m wearing short pants.

I’d talk to a dermatologist. Maybe he’ll know a trick you can try. That has GOT to suck.

See an allergist - what’s happening to your skin is called Contact Hives. You might be able to use a steriod cream to minimize the hives. But this is just short term. You should get a knee brace that doesn’t use neoprene, or wear the neoprene brace over your pants. Not pretty, but it may keep it from sliding.

The problem with allergic reactions is that they tend to get worse over time, if not treated. My mom has always been “sensitive” to nylon - typical red, splotchy etc. When she had shoulder surgery, they used nylon stitches. Not only would the wound not close, it wouldn’t heal at all because of the hives. They had to go back in and use staples. ick.

You could scavenge the bigger clips from a pair of suspenders to attach to the straps on the garter belt, but you’re right, it’d look like grandma’s dominatrix gear. Probably not a very sexy look, like a neoprene brace is going to be turning heads…

I see by your response to the Spit or Swallow thread that you’re female, so wearing panty hose wouldn’t be completely out of the question.

If that’s not enough protection, could you wear an ace bandage under the brace? That’s probably gonna squeeze your leg off at the knee, though, so that’s out.

You could wear something under the brace to protect against the allergy, then safety-pin the brace to the leg of your pants (at the sides where the seams are) to keep it from sliding down.

You may not get to wear shorts this summer, you slave to fashion, you.

Sorry for the allergic reaction, coosa. That’s just got to be painful.

Is the doc absolutely set on your wearing the neoprene brace? I’d think that if a) it’s causing you such an extreme skin reaction and b) it is exacerbating the pain he’d be amenable to another solution.

When I mangled the cartilage in my knee last spring, the doc didn’t care what type of brace I wore, as long as it helped support the knee. I found one at the drugstore that was a cloth & neoprene mix, and had three heavy-duty velcro closures. Over or under clothing, no problem with slippage, since I could control how tight it was. Though it is a rather bulky mass of material it still fit under regular jeans. Something like that might allow you to wear a comfy socky cover on your knee, and still have the support.

Good luck, and I hope your pain goes away quickly.

Wow, thanks for all of the great ideas, everyone! I believe I’ll start with the cheaper ideas and work my way up to the dermatologist/allergist, if necesary. Although my insurance has been astoundingly good about most stuff, for some reason it didn’t pay for the kneebrace (I just got the bill for it - $45.00! :eek: ) and I suspect it’s not going to pay for a dermatologist to make said kneebrace wearable. Although it might be fun, as I’m one of the rare folks that doesn’t react to poison ivy and its cousins. I’ve never actually been allergic to anything before.

Come to think of it, maybe this isn’t a normal allergy - I’ve also begun developing a rash from the stickem on various kinds of bandaids, and I seem to recall seeing that a rare side effect of one of my meds is skin sensitivity to sunlight. I wonder if these reactions are actually due to one of the meds? Interesting thought.

Figimingle, I did try a couple of other braces, including one very similar to what you describe. Unfortunately they all slide down when I’m walking - I think it may be because I’ve short and all of the braces reach too far up my thigh to maintain a good grip. If they ended right above my knee they might stay in place. I have one made out of Ace Bandage-type material that stays put the best, but the doc said it didn’t provide nearly enough support. If I can recover from the shock of learning that this rubber monstrosity cost $45 I may try cutting some off of the top to see if that will work.

Or go the ‘suspenders’ route - walking around in “grandma’s dominatrix gear” might be fun. :smiley: Who knows, if I wear a matching brace on the other knee and some really funky suspenders and short pants I might start a new fashion trend - look for this hot new look in the next Britney Spears video! :cool:

Oh, and thanks for the sympathy - I’ve got a pretty good pain tolerance, but not when it sneaks up and bites me like that. I said a very ugly word in Books-a-Million when I tried to hunker down to see the books on the bottom shelf. I thought I saw a wisp of smoke curling up from the nearest book cover!

Nothing to do with my knee injury, I swear!

You might check with your orthopedist, your primary care doc, and your insurance company on this one. When I worked for an HMO, we didn’t cover durable medical equipment, but we certainly did cover specialists for allergic reactions to anything at all, which would have included the said medical equipment, as long as all the rules about referrals were followed. I don’t know that your orthopedist could refer you to a dermatologist, so you may have to go through your primary. One way or another, though, it’s certainly worth checking out. Good luck!

Yes. The neoprene reaction sounds similar to contact allergic reactions from Latex. Find a supplier of Nitrile, the Nitrile gloves I wear when doing EMT work are the state-mandated replacements for Latex. ( Due to possible anaphylactic shock reactions from latex allergies ).

The Nitrile is ‘rubbery’ like latex. If you can get a sheet or tube of it, you can use the brace and use the Nitrile as a protective layer against your skin.


To see if you have a similar reaction to Nitrile ( before you hunt down a sheet of the stuff ), call your local Ambulance Corps and ask if they use Nitrile Gloves. Wedge one in there with your brace, or cut it up to make a small panel. See if the area that the panel covers is allergy-reaction free. Might work.

Good luck,