Learn how to size and fit your Donjoy knee brace

10 April 2017  |  Eugene

Donjoy Armor knee braces are the industry standard in providing protection and support to the knees during physical activity, giving athletes the confidence to push themselves without the fear of injury. These knee braces can boost both support and safety for the user, but these benefits are jeopardised if the proper care and attention are not taken in the sizing process. A properly sized knee brace will support and protect the areas where it's needed most, but with improper sizing the brace can slip and lose many of its key attributes.

Sizing Your Knee Brace

The sizing of Donjoy Armor braces is quick and easy, with three key measurements to be made in order to ensure the perfect fit. The three necessary measurements are described and shown below.

  • Above the knee - This measurement should be taken 15cm (6 inches) above the knee. Wrap your measuring tool around your thigh at this point and record the circumference of the area. Please see the image below for further clarification.

Measure the circumference of your thigh six inches above your kneecap

  • At knee centre - This measurement is taken at the centre of your knee, directly over your patella, or kneecap. Wrap the measuring tape around your kneecap and across the back of your knee, recording the circumference.

Measure the circumference of your knee around the patella

  • Below the knee - For this final measurement, wrap the measuring tape around your calf 15cm (6 inches) below the knee. Again, record the circumference, and you have completed the measuring process.

Measure your calf six inches below your patella

These sizing and application instructions apply to the following Donjoy Knee Braces, all available from Think Sport with free UK delivery on all orders over £40.

Important Tips

Once you've properly measured your leg at the thigh, knee and calf, and have ordered the right size for you, you're ready to try your brace on and feel the support for yourself. Before you begin, we've compiled a few key tips to help your application go as smoothly as possible:

  1. Sit on a firm surface – When applying your knee brace, always sit on a stable, firm chair or bench, sitting near the edge for the most freedom and best results. Do not sit on a soft bed or sofa, as the sagging effect can decrease the fit and comfort of your brace once applied. Sitting on a firm surface allows the brace to be placed higher up the leg for a better fit.
  2. Hold the hinges – To get the perfect positioning for your knee brace, hold it by the hinges. This allows you to accurately place the centre of the brace around your knee, ensuring the best protection possible.
  3. Don't over-tighten – Never over-tighten the top straps on the thigh (straps #2 and 3), as this will push the brace further down your leg. Don't worry if the brace doesn't feel perfect with only the top straps fastened, as the lower calf straps will secure the brace in place on your leg once tightened.
  4. Apply directly to skin – Make sure you apply your knee brace directly to your skin, and not over your pants. A thin undergarment sleeve is suitable to be worn under the brace as long as it doesn't significantly increase the circumference of your leg.
  5. Make sure that you are familiar with the straps – Throughout the rest of the guide, we will be referring to the straps by their number or name. The straps on your Donjoy Armor should be numbered, however you can refer to the image below for clarity

Donjoy Armor Strap Numbers

Step-By-Step Knee Brace Application Instructions

Now that you're prepared for proper application of your knee brace, we've prepared a step-by-step guide to ensure the perfect application, every time.

Step 1: Initial Preparation

A. To start off the application, sit on the edge of your firm surface in a stable position.

B. Ensure that your knee is slightly bent (45°), and your foot is placed flat on the floor (Figure 1).

Before measurement
Fig. 1 Position your leg at the correct angle

Step 2: Brace and Hinge Placement

A. Now that you're seated in the proper position, undo the straps and step through the brace (Figure 2A).

Step into the brace
Fig. 2A Step into the brace

B. Holding the brace by the hinges, centre the hinges 1 inch above the top of your knee cap.

C. Then, push the hinges slightly back behind the midline of the knee (Figure 2B).

Move the hinges back 1 inch
Fig. 2B Move the hinges back an inch

Step 3: Anti-Migration Band Placement

A. Secure the anti-migration calf band around the leg with a snug fit. Make sure this band is in full contact with the leg and does not wrap around the outside of the brace (Figure 3). Please note that the anti-migration band is not designed to be threaded through any plastic buckle and should wrap directly around your leg.

Fit the anti-migration band against the skin around your leg
Fig. 3 Fit the anti-migration band

B. Please note that the anti-migration band is connected to both Strap #4 and Strap #5. Neither of these straps should be fastened until later on in the fitting process.

Step 4: Secure Straps #1 and #2

A. Secure the strap #1 (which is the lowest strap on the calf until it has a snug fit (Figure 4A).

Secure strap #1 around the lower calf
Fig. 4A Secure strap #1 around the calf

B. Secure the top thigh strap #2, but not too tightly, as that can cause the brace to slip down your leg (Figure 4B).

Tighten the strap at the top of the thigh (strap #2)
Fig. 4B Tighten strap #2 at the top of the thigh

C. Again, following this step, push the hinges slightly back behind the midline of your knee.

Step 5: Secure Straps #3 and #4

A. Secure the lower thigh strap #3 until you feel a snug fit (Figure 5A).

Tighten Strap 3 for the lower thigh
Fig. 5A Tighten strap #3, the lower of the calf straps

B. Secure upper front calf strap #4 until it is very snug. (Figure 5B). Strap #4 can be found at the front of the anti-migration band and should be threaded through the loops on the band. This step is especially critical for patients with ACL injuries.

Secure strap 4 at the top of the calf
Fig. 5B Tighten strap #4 on the upper shin

Step 6: Securing Strap #5

A. Secure the back calf strap #5, which again is connected to the anti-migration band, until is has a comfortable fit (Figure 6).

Tighten Strap 5 at the back of the calf
Fig. 6 Tighten strap #5 until the brace is comfortable

B. After the initial fitted of this strap, you do not need to undo it. It will work to keep the anti-migration band in place.

Step 7: Check your Fit and Re-Tighten

A. At this point, your brace should fit snugly to your leg. OA patients should feel a slight push on one side of the knee. If you have done this correctly, your brace should now be fully fitted (Figure 7).

The Donjoy Armor Should now be fitted properly
Fig. 7 Your brace should now be fitted properly

Additional Troubleshooting Tips

If you've followed these instructions and still find that your knee brace doesn't fit as well as it should, here are some extra tips to help you out.

1: Ensure Proper Hinge Placement

A. In a perfectly-fit knee brace, the hinges will be at the midline of your knee. The pads will be making full contact with your leg.

B. If the hinges of your knee brace are too far forward, you should loosen all the straps to allow for adjustment. Then, you can push the hinges back while raising them slightly up. After you've done this, retighten all the straps and re-evaluate your fit.

2: Ensure Proper Alignment

A. On a well-fit knee brace, the hinges should be slightly higher than your knee cap. The pads will be making full contact with your leg.

B. If the brace is too low down your leg, loosen all the straps. Then, raise the hinges up your leg, re-tighten the straps and re-evaluate your fit.

3: Ensure Proper Fit

A. If no mistakes have occurred during the sizing process and your knee brace fits correctly, there will be no major gapping between the brace and your leg. The pads will be making full contact with your leg.

B. If the brace you have selected is too large, you can add extra condyle pads to improve your fit. Alternately, you can call us at Think Sport to discuss a replacement with a more appropriate size.

4: Try Again

Due to the highly technical design of Donjoy Armor braces, they require a more precise fit in order to ensure that you are getting the optimal level of support. This naturally means that the application of the brace may take some getting used to before you can find the perfect fit. If you follow this guide and find that the brace does not fit well, it doesn't necessarily mean that you have purchased the incorrect size. Try fitting your brace another two or three times to ensure that you have a good grasp of the application process.

You can buy our full range of Donjoy Knee Braces today at ThinkSport.co.uk, with free UK delivery on all orders. Have any questions or anything to add? Tell us in the comments below!