Knee Pillow And Athlete Health: 3 Things To Know

Part of an athlete’s lifestyle is high-impact exercises, either through running, lifting weight, or skiing, among other activities. While exercising helps them keep fit, it also means that there is a lot of movement at the joints, such as the knee. This overuse of the knee joint leads to a condition known as Osteoarthritis (OA). 

Osteoarthritis is the wear and tear of the joint cartilages. When the cartilages are worn down, the cushion between the bones disappear. Any movement can cause the bones to rub against each other. This rubbing against each other manifests itself as stiffness, pain, and knee issues.  

Unfortunately for many athletes, a knee injury or osteoarthritis can easily lead them to underperforming and eventually to drop their careers. Even worse is that most knee issues are irreversible. Once they happen, you can only manage them. Therefore, each athlete must learn how to prevent knee issues. However, if it has already happened, you can still manage it.  

This article will look at how knee pillows are used to manage knee issues. It will also highlight other health benefits of using a Knee Pillow. Keep reading to learn more.   

What Is A Knee Pillow? 

A knee pillow is a rectangular-shaped pillow used to support your legs when you’re sleeping. There are two standard designs of knee pillows:  

  • The side knee pillow– This knee pillow is for people who like to sleep on their side. It’s shaped like an hourglass to slip between your legs while lying on your side.  
  • The back knee pillow– This type of knee pillow is for people who sleep on their back. To use it, you have to place it beneath your knee. The back knee pillow is shaped like a half-moon or wedge so that it can prop your legs up.   

How Knee Pillows Help Manage Knee Pain


As mentioned before, there are two designs of knee pillows. Each of the pillows works differently to help you ease knee pain and manage your knee condition. 

The side knee pillow works by easing pressure from the knees. When you sleep on your side without a knee pillow, your legs are usually on top of each other, where one knee rests on the other. This sleeping condition puts pressure on the lower knee, worsening the pain. 

With a knee pillow, your legs are separated. Therefore, there isn’t pressure on your knees which is one of the best ways to relieve pain.  

On the other hand, the back knee pillow works by increasing blood circulation in your legs. When your legs are propped up, blood easily circulates within your body, preventing pooling. Proper blood circulation helps to relieve the pain and discomfort of knee pain. 

While the name knee pillow suggests that it only works to manage knee conditions, it’s not true. There are so many other health benefits of using a knee pillow, especially for athletes. Here’re three things to know about other benefits of a knee pillow.

  • It Helps Reduce Back And Hip Pain 

Hip and back pain are other conditions that may compromise an athlete’s performance. Unfortunately, due to the nature of their work, athletes are more likely to have back and hip pains from the physical exercise they do than people in other professions.   

To add to exercises, one of the leading causes of back and hip pain is your sleeping position, particularly sleeping on your side. When you sleep on your side, one leg rests on the other, misaligning your back and pelvis areas, causing pressure and eventually pain.  

As such, if you’re going to sleep on your side, it’ll help if you place your knee pillow between your legs. The pillow helps to maintain the natural alignment of your bank and hips. With the alignment back to normal, your muscles on these two areas relax, reducing your back and hip pain. 

  •  It Helps To Align The Spine  

Just like your sleeping position leads to back and hip pain, it also distorts the spine’s natural curve. Over time, you may begin to feel pain around your spine due to distortion. Moreover, if the condition isn’t managed early, it can lead to spine complications such as herniated disc pain.  

Herniated disc pain is a spine condition that leads to weakness, pain, and numbness in your limbs. In some severe conditions, it may require corrective surgery. However, it doesn’t have to get to that. You can use a knee pillow to realign the curvature of your spine. On top of that, experts recommend that you adopt a sleeping position that doesn’t require your spine to rotate a lot.  

  • Help With Sciatica 

Whether you play football, basketball, rugby, netball, or long and short-distance running, your legs are one of the most vital parts of your body as an athlete. It’s also one of the body parts that’s put under a lot of pressure since you have to move to engage in sports. 

Therefore, the last thing you want is pain around your legs. Sciatica pain starts from your lower back to your hips, buttock area, and eventually to your legs. This condition is caused by a twisted spine resulting from a poor sleeping potion.  

To avoid having Sciatica pain, experts recommend that you sleep with a pillow between your legs. It improves your sleep position and reduces the misalignment of your spine, as mentioned before. With your spine in the right position, you’re less likely to develop sciatica pain. 

Bottom Line 

Although the knee pillow was meant to help with Knee injuries, it’s been found to have more health benefits. Most of these health benefits directly impact the performance of an athlete. Therefore, it’s recommended that all athletes use a knee pillow to benefit them in one way or the other, as discussed in the article.

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