Questions About Wearing a Knee Brace In Public

For the next 5 weeks or so, I’m going go be wearing a knee brace. It’s rather large, extending from fairly high up on my thigh to about half way down my calf. I’ve never worn any such thing before and I’m a bit self conscious about it. I’m also still trying to figure out how to wear it since I have been wearing it so tight it’s caused chafing and blistering. (Yes, I have talked to my physical therapist about this.) I’ve got a few questions for the Teeming Millions, both those who wear similar things and others.
[ul][li]If I need to tighten or loosen it, where should I do so, assuming I don’t have to remove any articles of clothing? Bathrooms tend to be a bit cramped, but it seems a bit personal to do so at my desk which is fully exposed to the office as a whole. At work, there’s a little used hallway outside the bathroom which has a couple of chairs. That’s where I’ve been making necessary adjustments for now.[/li][li]Is it polite to have the brace exposed in public? I’m not sure how well it will fit under pants, so I’ve been wearing skirts or shorts. I’ve got 2 or 3 skirts which are long enough to hide it, but the others aren’t. [/li][li]If it won’t fit under a pair of pants, is it medically advisable to wear it over a pair of pants? Is it polite to do so?[/ul][/li]Here’s a picture of what I’m wearing (a different model, but nearly identical appearance). Clearly it’s not going to turn up on the runways in Paris in the near future, although I wouldn’t rule out a science fiction movie. I realize my concerns may sound rather ridiculous and it’s a vast improvement over the crutches I’ve been using. On the other hand, I am English, at the risk of furthering a stereotype, and I do want to do this correctly.

I’m looking forward to your advice.

Polite to wear it in public? No more or no less than it is to wear braces on your teeth or a cast on an arm or leg.

I opened the pant leg at the seam of my husband’s slacks and hemmed the edge, leaving the cuff of the leg intact. For pants of non-stretch cloth it may be very uncomfortable to wear the brace over the pants anyway.

Tighten it anywhere, you may not have a choice; if it is loose do you really want to be walking to an out of the way place to adjust it even if you can? Try to be quiet about it unless you like questions; people will ask.

Do you have a sleeve to wear under it? Make sure you are not allergic to the brace or the sleeve. Cornstarch may help under the brace.

Polite? What kind of uncouth passerby would dare to find it at all “impolite” that you should use something that is necessary for your health?

I wish I could advise on the technicalities, but it was the “polite” bit that jumped out at me. Heavens, girl, I think any concerns you may have about wearing it should be the concerns about it being the correct tightness, properly comfortable, that sort of thing.

(I’m cynical enough and enough of a scaredy cat to thinkthat there could be a benefit to its being visible - e.g. that it might save you from mad car drivers who expect pedestrians to run to get across the road, that sort of thing. :slight_smile: But I think that last bit is just me, really.)

Take care of your knee and I hope things improve soon. :slight_smile:

No real advice but an anecdote about my brother.

He tore his ACL his junior year of college. Had surgery at Thanksgiving, and was wearing a knee/leg brace at Christmas. One Sunday, we had communion at church. The normal way of taking communion at that church is to walk up front, kneel at the communion rail, and cup your hands or make eye contact with the stewards when you were ready to take communion. then the bread and the cup would be brought to you. People who can not kneel could either stand at the rail, or have communion brought to them.

Little brother refused either option. He sat in the pew and waited for the family to return. I think he felt conspicuous (especially at Mom and Dad’s church) and opted to remain in the pew rather than appear to be a twenty year old weirdo.
Aside to Celyn, I fear mad car drivers are unlikely to look closely enough at a pedestrian to know whether said pedestrian has a knee brace or not.

But, having recently spent time with my grandmother, who is sufficiently mobility impaired to rate a handicapped hang tag for any car which she is in- we did analyze the placement of handicapped spaces. At at least one store we stopped at, I doubt the handicap spaces were closer to the door than any others- but one would have been spared crossing traffic if one parked in them. (We didn’t- not having observed the handicap spaces until we had already parked.)

I’ve never thought it odd when people wear knee braces over pants. They don’t look like they’d fit under most pants, and there’s no reason to cut and ruin perfectly good pairs of pants for a temporary issue. Also, I see no reason why you couldn’t adjust them in public. It’s just a knee brace, not an uncommon thing to see on a person, and if you’re out and about and need to adjust it, go ahead and sit on a public bench and adjust to your heart’s content!

As others have said, wearing a visible knee brace is in no way ever impolite or improper, as long as it is medically required.

Oh, screw the Ms. Manners third-person formality.

Wear the thing! As long as you’re not exposing anything, go ahead and adjust it at your desk, in a restaurant, or on the sidewalk. It is no more impolite than, say, brushing hair out of your eyes or tucking in your shirttail. Obviously, you don’t want to interrupt a key part of someone else’s speech with loud velcro-ripping sounds, but other than that, nobody’s going to mind.

I’ve worn temporary knee braces a couple times. Shorts worked the best, but in cold weather, or for office wear, I just put them on over my pants (skirts not being appropriate office wear for me, alas). The only thing was to make sure the pants were pulled up a little bit before putting the brace on, so there was room to move my legs, and make sure the pants weren’t too bunched up anywhere under the brace.

It certainly seemed to do the job over the pants – it kept my knee where it needed to be. After all, a pair of khakis isn’t any thicker than the nylon/whatever sleeve they give you with some braces.

Not sure if it makes drivers slow down, but wearing a brace will help get you a seat on the bus or subway.

Yeah, I’m not sure why this wigs you out so much (other than that it seems from some of your other threads that you don’t like undue attention). People will notice it but no one’s really gonna stare. You might get asked about it, just come up with a short explanation to reel out.

I’ve never worn a knee brace but I was in a walking cast for over six weeks when I broke my foot (and I was so happy to be off crutches and out of the plaster cast). Not very attractive (and I couldn’t wear heels :frowning: ) but I just wore it with my normal work clothes which are generally knee length skirts. And I’d adjust it anytime I felt like it. The velcro can be pretty loud but I got over it.

I think the brace is kind of cool looking.

Siege, if one of your coworkers was wearing the brace, would you expect them to go make adjustments in private? What ever answer you give, apply to yourself.

I didn’t have a brace, but when my hip bursitis flared up a couple of weeks ago, I was walking with a cane for a couple of days, and at 38, I can tell you that I was pretty self-conscious about that. My point? Wear the brace, do what you need to do, and don’t let it get you down. And get a cane, too - they can be very useful for whacking other people, poking cats, banging cars that get too close when you’re hobbling across a road…