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Knee wraps for lifting: Getting it right for improved performance
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Knee wraps for lifting: Getting it right for improved performance

Wrapping the knees properly before intense physical activity is paramount to prevent injuries and gain added stability  
Knee wraps safeguarding the vital joints during strenuous physical activities
Besides preventing injuries, knee wraps also play a role in improving performance and alleviating pain.

Whether you’re a dedicated gym-goer pushing through your last set of squats or someone exploring a new contact sport, protecting your knees is crucial to prevent injuries. Knee wrapping is a proactive measure to achieve the same, safeguarding the vital joints during strenuous physical activities. However, it offers much more, providing stability and enhancing performance, say experts.

“For those into heavy sporting activities, wrapping the knees will reduce the risk of injury,” says Dr Jayateerth W Kulkarni, consultant, orthopedics, Fortis Hospital, Cunningham Road, Bangalore.

Benefits of using knee wraps

Wrapping the knees provides an array of advantages, which include:

♦ Increased stability

“Wrapping your knees provides added stability to the joints,” notes Dr Kulkarni. This extra support can be crucial in keeping the knees aligned during heavy lifts or sudden, high-impact movements, reducing the risk of twisting or other injuries.

♦ Enhanced performance

By compressing the knee area, wraps can increase blood flow and reduce pain, allowing for more power and endurance. During weightlifting, they can store and release energy more effectively, potentially improving performance. “In weightlifting or static sports, the chances of injuring the knees are less if you perform the movements in a controlled manner. A knee wrap can significantly help in this regard,” shares Dr Kulkarni.

♦ Injury prevention

One of the primary reasons athletes use knee wraps is to prevent overextension and overstraining of the knee joints, which can cause sprains, tears and other injuries. “If the physical activity involves a lot of twisting or pivoting movements, there is a risk of injury to the ligaments, especially the ACL. Also, some people are more prone to injuries because of the anatomy of their knees,” says Dr Kulkarni. The wraps provide a protective barrier and proprioceptive feedback, which helps athletes maintain better awareness of their knee positioning.

♦ Pain reduction and recovery

For those with existing knee issues or recovering from an injury, knee wraps can alleviate pain by providing compression and warmth.

♦ Psychological confidence

Wearing knee wraps can also provide psychological benefits, giving athletes confidence in their knee strength and stability. “The wrap signals your brain that the joint has more stability, and this allows the brain to adjust the power accordingly,” informs Dr Kulkarni.

Tips to wrap your knee correctly

The steps to properly wrap your knee for desired results are as follows:

♦ Choose the right wrap

Ensure you select a good-quality wrap made from elastic material that provides stretch and support. “Wrapping is usually done with a crepe bandage or commercially available wraps; knee compression sleeves also provide almost the same amount of stability,” says Dr Kulkarni.

♦ Pick the position

Wipe your knee with a towel, ensuring the surrounding area is clean and dry. Sit with your leg extended, relaxing the muscles. Begin wrapping a few inches below your knee, starting with the end of the wrap. Some lifters prefer to start with the inside of the knee, working outward; both ways can work if the wrap covers your knee completely.

♦ Cover the entire knee joint

Begin wrapping by securing the end of the wrap and then winding it around your leg in a spiral motion. Overlap each layer by about half the width of the wrap. As you approach your knee, start angling the wrap upwards to cover the knee joint. Continue till you reach above the knee and then reverse down to create a double layer over the joint.

♦ Maintain uniform tension

Apply steady tension to the wrap to ensure snugness without cutting off circulation. The wrap should feel tight but not uncomfortable; you should be able to fit a finger or two under the wrap, but not more. “There are many wraps available, with some having Velcro. You must wrap those with moderate compression, not too tight or loose, because if it is too loose, it will unravel. Uniformity must be maintained throughout the wrapping process,” says Dr Kulkarni.

♦ Test the wrap

Stand up and walk around, bend your knee and perform some light movements to ensure the wrap provides support without limiting your range of motion. Adjust the tension if necessary.

♦ Monitor and readjust

While performing the physical activity, monitor the wrap for any shifting or loosening. It may be necessary to readjust the wrap after some time to ensure it continues to provide the appropriate level of support.

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