How to Use a Knee Elevation Pillow

How to Use a Knee Elevation Pillow 

A knee elevation pillow is a very common and effective tool that helps alleviate symptoms from orthopedic conditions and digestive and cardiorespiratory pathologies. It also increases sleep comfort so you are able to rest better. However, many people are using their leg wedge pillow ineffectively or wrong, and this makes it less effective. If you are wanting to learn how to use a leg wedge, then look no further.

How to use a triangle knee elevation pillow

This type of knee elevation pillow should start right near your gluteal fold (where your bottom meets your leg). As the knee wedge gradually inclines, the center of the knees should rest at the angle of the wedge pillow. This gives your legs the most support and is the most comfortable on your knees.

Another key to buying a triangular shaped knee wedge pillow is to make sure it’s the right length. You’ll know it’s the right length if your heels just barely hang off the end of the pillow. Click HERE to learn more on how to measure your leg to see exactly what size leg wedge pillow you need.

How to use a contoured knee elevation pillow

When using a leg elevation pillow with contours, there are some similarities to a triangle knee wedge pillow in regards to positioning. The heels should rest just off the end of the pillow. And just like with the triangle wedge, the contoured leg pillow should start right near the gluteal fold.

The difference with this knee elevation pillow is that your legs rest on an incline. The contours cradle your legs, so that your legs are comfortable while you elevate them. If you are positioned correctly, the back of your knee will rest on top of the first "hill" and your calves will be cradled in the valley between the two contours.

Knee pillow for side sleepers

The last knee elevation pillow we will talk about is a leg separator pillow. This type of pillow is very effective when you would like to elevate your knees in a side-sleeping position. When most people look for a knee elevation pillow for side sleepers, they look for a single, regular sized pillow to go in between their knees. While this is a good start, if you stop there, you are really missing out.

If you only place a regular sized pillow between your knees, you’ve just caused your top hip to externally rotate. This rotation of your top leg puts tension on your spine. Instead, the best way to sleep on your side is to elevate your legs on a knee elevation pillow that runs from your pubic bone all the way to your feet. The pillow should support your top leg so that it rests as close to parallel with the bed as possible. When your pillow fully supports your leg, your hips and back are able to fully relax. 

If you have been wondering how to use a knee elevation pillow, this article should answer a lot of your questions! Use it as a guide to position yourself correctly and enhance the effectiveness of your knee wedge pillow.

-Bryan Blare, Doctor of Physical Therapy

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