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Knee pillows are useful to provide comfort to side sleepers and to help people with hip, lower back, and knee pain. They can also be used during pregnancy. The best knee pillow for you will depend largely on why you need one and it is not always easy to choose the most appropriate for your condition. Below I present my 6 best pillows for knee pain and other conditions to help you select the one best for you. But first, what benefits do they provide?
Knee pillows are used by side sleepers, for whom sleeping with a pillow between their knees not only helps to align their spine properly, but also prevents the knees rubbing against each other. I will explain many more benefits of knee pillows later, along with how to place them correctly – but first, what do they look like?
Some are wedge shaped (flat bottom and rounded top) that are intended to be placed under the knees of back sleepers to keep the spine correctly aligned. This helps to position the pelvis and hips correctly, and also reduces pressure on your lower back and tension in the hamstrings. Others are hourglass shaped, flat each end with a semicircular space between the ends to accommodate the knees or legs.
More on their use later in my Buyer’s Guide to Knee Pillows. Before I present that, here are my 5 best pillows for knee pain and other uses.
* Dimensions stated in terms of Width x Length x Height.
Width is the size across your knees, Length is size down the legs and Height is height of the ends of pillow (with the depressions in between).
** Widths available are 18.5”, 20.5” and 22.5”. All heights are 4.5” & lengths 8.5”
Table of Contents
1. Everlasting Comfort Orthopedic Knee Pillow – Best Leg Pillow for Side Sleepers
The Everlasting Comfort orthopedic knee pillow is my best memory foam knee sleeping pillow for you if your existing knee support keeps slipping off. You have the pillow between your legs when you go to sleep, but wake up in the night to find it lying on the bed beside you. The Everlasting Comfort hourglass pillow comes with a strap you can use to keep it in place. You can remove it if you prefer, but it is there if you need it. You can rollover during the night, and change the side you are sleeping on, without the knee pillow slipping off and disturbing your sleep.
Another extra with this excellent hourglass knee pillow can also help ensure you get a sound and refreshing sleep. You can avoid any noises during the night from waking you with the two memory foam earplug sets provided (4 plugs in total) that conform to the internal shape of your ears for maximum noise elimination. If you partner shouts out in their sleep, or your bedroom is close to a busy road, the earplugs will separate you from the noise so you remain undisturbed.
You get all of that plus a 100% higher density memory foam knee pillow that conforms to the shape of your knees, curling around them perfectly for ideal support and comfort. The Everlasting Comfort knee pillow is designed to support and space your knees in such a way as to correctly align your hips and legs, and straightening your spine to provide relief for pain in your lower back (lumbar) region, your hips, your thighs and your knees. You can also use it to alleviate the pain of sciatica (pain in the sciatic nerve), arthritis and bursitis. Many women find this pillow to enable them to lie and sleep more comfortably when pregnant.
Editor’s Notes: I found the Everlasting Comfort orthopedic knee pillow to very comfortable to use. It stays where it should be due to the strap provided. You can use it between the knees and between the thighs and lower legs according to your needs. Back sleepers can use it below a lower leg to slightly elevate it and help alleviate knee pain. As with other hourglass knee pillows, the Everlasting Comfort orthopedic knee pillow helps straighten out the spine and reduce or even eliminate pain caused by misalignment.
2. ComfiLife Orthopedic Knee Pillow for Sciatica, Back and Hip Pain
The ComfiLife orthopedic knee pillow is fashioned in an ergonomic hourglass design for side sleepers. It fits between your knees. It has rounded cutouts top and bottom to fit the top and bottom knees. It is made using high-quality high-density memory foam for all-night comfort and it will not go flat after extended use. Its design will keep your spine, hips and legs in their correct alignment, and so relieve back and hip pain. It comes with a zippered, breathable polyester cover that can be removed for machine cleaning.
The support it offers during the night can reduce the pain caused by sciatica. While it may not eliminate all pain, it may significantly reduce back pain and render sciatic pain more bearable. This knee pillow hourglass design will improve your circulation by raising your lower legs and ankles. It should provide more comfort during the night and its effect should increase the longer you use it.
This knee pillow is recommended by physical therapists and chiropractors. It will help to improve your overall quality of sleep.
Editor’s Notes: The ComfiLife orthopedic knee pillow has been designed to help relieve pain in the lumbar region of your spine (lower back) and your hips, and also to provide comfort to side sleepers whose knees can often become painful due to the way they lie. The hourglass shape is ideal for side sleepers, keeping knees apart and providing comfortable support.
3 Abco Tech Memory Foam Knee Pillow
The Abco Tech memory foam knee pillow is another hourglass knee pillow that helps to ensure the correct alignment of your spine and the lower joints of your body: your lower back, hips, knees and ankles. Using this pillow for knee pain will allow you to wake up with no pain. It is more than just a knee support pillow. It also helps to align your spine in its natural shape, which in turn helps to reduce or eliminate pain in your lower back or lumbar region and in your hips as well as eliminate knee pain. In many cases, it can also reduce or eliminate ankle pain when you use it beneath your lower legs.
You can use it between your knees or legs when sleeping on your side, or beneath a thigh or lower leg when sleeping on your back. Some back sleepers use two – one beneath each leg to maximize their effect in maintaining the natural shape of their spine. You may be amazed at how effective this is in the way it reduces or even eliminates pain.
By reducing tension in the muscles and nerves of your leg, the Abco Tech memory foam knee pillow can reduce the pain of sciatica, muscle tension and cramps. It can also relieve varicose veins and improve the circulation of blood in your legs. It is also ideal for use during pregnancy. The hypoallergenic breathable cotton cover helps keep you cool, and can be removed for washing (machine or hand). You can return it if you don’t like it or it has a fault for a replacement or your money back.
Editor’s Notes: The Abco Tech memory foam knee pillow is an excellent example of this type of hourglass knee pillow. Its purpose is to help maintain the spine in its natural shape, and so doing to prevent pain in the lower back and joints and muscles from there to your ankles. It is also ideal for pregnant women, where it can help reduce discomfort. It is made using memory foam which conforms to the shape of your knees or legs according to how you use it.
4. BeautifulLife Back Pain Relief Memory Foam Bolster Knee Pillow – Best Knee Pillow for Back Sleepers
BeautifulLife’s Back Pain Relief memory foam bolster knee pillow is recommended by chiropractors, doctors and physical therapists to ease pain in the lower spine and joints. Examples are the lower back area of your spine, your hips, knees and ankles. It is designed for use mainly for back and side sleepers, but can also be used by stomach sleepers. It is manufactured using hypoallergenic 100% visco-elastic memory foam for maximum comfort and support. Most people use it to support their knees or raise their legs to provide healthy spine and hip alignment in back sleepers. Side sleepers can also use it between their legs against to prevent their knees rubbing each other and to maintain the natural shape of their spine.
You can use the wider versions lengthways as a positioning wedge body pillow. This can relieve pain in the lower back region and help reduce pain caused by compression of the sciatic nerve (sciatica.) Side sleepers can use a bolster knee pillow such as this one between their knees and legs to help open up the spinal canal and ease the pain and curvature of scoliosis. Pregnant women and those recovering from knee and hip surgery (such as replacement surgery) also find it beneficial, soothing discomfort and helping them sleep. This semicircular half moon-shaped bolster can be used under the knees or legs, between the knees and legs, beneath your ankles to improve circulation or as lower back support while sitting or reclining on a sofa.
Editor’s Notes: Like many foam-filled products, this wedge knee support pillow appears to take time to expand back to its proper shape and size after packing. It tends to be a bit hard to begin with, but softens with use to an amazingly comfortable half-moon knee pillow. The term knee pillow does not do this pillow justice since it also a back pain relief bolster pillow and a semi-circular lumbar leg wedge. You can also use it under your neck to prevent pain in the cervical (neck) section of your spine.
5. Cushy Form Half Moon Knee Pillow
The Cushy Half Moon bolster knee pillow is a wedge knee pillow, with the bottom flat and the top dome-shaped. Such under-knee pillows help to promote natural alignment of your spine, and also tend to raise your lower body which improves blood circulation. It also helps those suffering varicose veins. It is made using a high-density memory foam that tends to resist flattening. Overheating can be an issue with wedge knee pillows, but the organic cotton cover of the Cushy Half Moon knee pillow helps to keep it fairly cool. The shape of this pillow is good if you are recovering from a knee procedure or an injury.
Many people suffer pain in their lower back, also known as the lumber region, and also from pain in the hip, knee, and ankle joints. A very common cause for this pain is a misaligned spine. If your spine is incorrectly aligned to its natural shape when you sleep, then you can waken with pain which can become severe over time if the cause is not corrected. Place this bolster wedge pillow beneath your knees and your spine will be adjusted into its proper shape, ultimately relieving you of pain. Not only that, but if you are a side sleeper, you can place the bolster between your knees for a similar effect.
This is a top class knee support pillow, and one of the best pillows for knee pain suitable for back and side sleepers I have tested. You can also use it during pregnancy. An orthopaedic knee pillow provides comfort for many pregnant women, but if it doesn’t work for you then you can return it for a full refund within a year of purchase.
Editor’s Notes: This knee pillow is intended to fit beneath one or both knees of back sleepers in order to raise the leg, or between the knees if you are a side sleeper. Used in this way, this ‘wedge’ knee pillow will help to keep your spine in its natural position and shape while you sleep. By achieving this, it is possible to reduce the pain of several orthopedic conditions that cause pain. Among these are arthritis, sciatica and several types of injury where maintaining a natural shape to your spine is essential for proper recovery. It is a good quality leg, ankle and knee support pillow that many use to alleviate their pain and help accelerate recovery. It can also help improve poor blood circulation.
Buyer’s Guide to Knee Pillows
My Buyer’s Guide to Knee Pillows will explain the types of knee sleeping pillows available, who could or should use them, and what benefits they provide. While people could use any memory foam pillow between their knees to increase comfort while they lie in bed, speciality knee pillows are designed specifically for this purpose. The majority of such pillows are available in an hourglass shape when viewed from the side. They are shaped to be placed between both knees or lower legs. Some may also fit between your thighs.
The next most popular design is described as a wedge pillow, but is more of a semicircle or half moon shape when viewed from the end. This shape of knee pillow is mainly used below the knees of back sleepers. Such pillows may also be used under the neck or lower back, and the longer bolster knee pillows such as BeautifulLife’s Back Pain Relief memory foam bolster knee pillow (my #5 choice) are usually used between the legs to help maintain the natural shape of your spine.
True wedge-shaped triangular pillows are used mainly to support the head and shoulders, or to help you to comfortably sit up in bed. I have not reviewed these since they are not normally used under the knees. In this guide, I will give you some tips on choosing the most suitable pillow for your needs and what to look for in addition to their comfort and effectiveness.
Benefits of Using Under Knee Pillows
Knee Pain: Using a knee support pillow for knee pain is one of the most common uses of this type of pillow. You can use knee pillows to alleviate the pain of knee or hip surgery (e.g. repair or replacement surgery.) They also help alleviate generally ‘sore knees’ caused by exercise or by continual daytime use. Bursitis is a typical example of a condition that can be soothed by supporting the knee in bed. If you suffer from knee pain, the best sleeping position is usually on your side with an hourglass-shaped knee pillow between your knees. If you must sleep on your back, then a half-moon wedge knee pillow placed under your knees should help ease the pressure.
Lumbar or Lower Back Pain: The lumbar region of the spine (also known as the lower back) consists of the five vertebrae running up between the sacrum (base of the spine) to the chest. Its natural shape is a slight inwards curve from the back to the front. Muscle tension and pressure against this curve while sleeping can lead to lumbar or lower back pain. A knee pillow between the knees will help elevate the top leg and maintain the natural of the spine. You should avoid sleeping on your back if possible. Knee pillows help avoid back pain.
Sciatica: A knee pillow can also help if you have sciatica. A poor spinal position can lead to pain from the sciatic nerve (longest and widest nerve in the body) that runs from the lower back down to just below the knee on each side of your body). The best sleeping position for this is on your back, then on your side, and the worse is on your stomach. Side sleepers should place an hourglass knee pillow between their knees, or a bolster knee pillow between their knees and lower legs. Back sleepers should place a half-moon pillow under their knees.
Blood Circulation: Poor circulation can lead to pain in the legs and knees and muscle tension and cramps. A knee sleeping pillow can improve circulation and alleviate a number of conditions that poor circulation can cause.
Poor Quality Sleep and Stress: If you can’t sleep properly, and are tossing and turning all night leading to stress during the day, then a knee pillow can help you. If you tend to move about a lot in bed, then try to use a knee pillow with a securing strap. This will prevent it moving out of place while you sleep (or try to!)
Pregnancy: The best sleeping position for pregnant women is on their side. Not only is it more comfortable than sleeping on your back, but the baby is less likely to kick so often when you sleep in this position. You may find a half-moon knee pillow most suitable, particularly if you tie it on with a belt or piece of material. An example is our #1 pick, the Everlasting Comfort Knee Pillow which comes with a tie attached. You may also find a wedge pillow placed behind your knees will give some extra support if you need it. Either or #4 or #5 choice, or a simple wedge pillow. Check out my Best Pillows for Pregnancy Reviews here.
Types of Under Knee Pillow
Previously, I briefly mentioned the various types of knee support pillow available. Here I shall expand on that. There are two main types of under knee pillow:
Hourglass shape: The hourglass knee pillow is designed for side sleepers, and is fundamentally a block of foam with the two sides cut out in a half-moon or semicircular shape. When the pillow is placed between the knees, the lower and upper knees each rest in the cutout half-moon shape on each side.
Since the majority of such knee separators are made using memory foam, the foam conforms to the shape of each knee. This provides a comfortable cushion that separates the knees, giving them comfort while you sleep. This type of knee separator also raises the top leg, which promotes the correct shape of your spine while you sleep. They can also be used to separate your legs, or by back sleepers using just one shaped side to support just one leg if they have pain in one knee.
Half-Moon Shape: The half-moon shaped knee pillow is a type of wedge pillow that looks like a roll pillow sliced in half down its length to create pillows that have one flat side and one semi-circular rounded side. The flat side rests on the bed, and your knee or leg rests on the rounded side. This type of knee support pillow can be used to raise it off the bed, or between your legs to separate them.
This type of knee support pillow is useful if you find it impossible to sleep on your side, even though sleeping on your back tends to worsen the condition. It does tend to help with lower back pain if you place a half-moon pillow beneath your lower back. If used between the legs it is useful to use some form of tie to keep the pillow attached to your legs – a belt or tied on with a piece of material.
Wedge Pillows: The half-moon shaped pillow is a form of wedge pillow. In addition to that, there are other types of wedge pillow available to help relieve back pain. With these, you get one or two wedges in triangular form you can use to help you sleep or read with a raised back. If you think one of these might help your condition, then check out my Best Reading Pillows review where I feature three wedge-shaped pillows. I also feature neck pain pillows and pregnancy pillows. I am not dwelling on any of these here since this review is focused on the best knee support pillow for knee pain.
Other Things to Consider
Full Warranty: Before deciding which knee support pillow to purchase, always make sure you understand the warranty and returns policy of the seller. Some will provide a full warranty for life or for a limited period (this is not a “Limited Warranty”.) The warranty should cover faulty materials and faulty workmanship. So if your knee pillow collapses shortly after use, you should expect a full refund or replacement product free of charge.
Limited Warranty: A limited warranty is not the same as a full warranty for a limited time. The term ‘Limited’ means that the warranty is restricted to certain forms of defect, specific parts or states some other form of limitation.
Get the Correct Type of Knee Pillow: Make sure you order the right knee pillow for your condition or your needs. Your warranty won’t cover you if you ordered the wrong item. That’s your responsibility.
Trial Period: Some vendors allow you a trial period of 30 days or longer. Sometimes it can be shorter. However, this enables you to try the product out, and if you don’t like it, or if it doesn’t work for you, then you can send it back for a no-quibble refund or alternative model or product.
Delivery Details: Knee pillows are generally small items to deliver, so there are generally few delivery issues involved. Make sure you know the delivery cost, but if you can get free delivery all the better. Sometimes the delivery cost can be high if you are ordering from a different country. For example, if you order an American product for delivery to the UK make sure you check a) Is it available in the UK, and b) what the extra delivery cost is.
Always use your common sense when purchasing goods online. It can be a very convenient way of shopping, but you must keep your eyes wide open and make sure you are buying what you need – not what you like!
Pillows for Knee Pain: Frequently Asked Questions
Below are a few of the questions we are most frequently asked regarding knee support pillows.
Sure you can! If you sleep on your side, then placing a firm pillow between your knees prevents you upper leg from pulling your spine out of its correct alignment. This can be a high-density memory foam half-moon pillow or a knee pillow designed specifically for your knees and legs. The latter works best in my opinion, but you could also use the half-moon shaped pillow, with a flat bottom and rounded top.
By raising your top knee or leg, and slightly bend your knees when you sleep, your body will be in its most natural position for the shape of your spine. If you don’t do this, your upper leg can pull at your pelvis, slightly rotating it which in turn rotates your hips, moving the spinal column out of its correct alignment. This can lead to the lower back and hip pain. So knee pillows are not necessary to protect your knees but to help keep your spine properly aligned. Your spine should be oriented in a straight line when viewed from the front or back.
If you sleep on your back, then you can help keep your spine in its natural curve by placing knee pillows under your knee joints. The wedge half-moon shaped knee pillows are best for those who sleep on their backs. Propping up your knees will help to keep your spine in its correct shape.
A knee pillow below your knees should keep your spine correctly aligned. However, it would also pay to place a small pillow or roll under the small of your back. That’s because this lower part of your spine has a shallow curve outwards towards the front. By filling in the shallow space this creates between the bed and your spine, you will help to maintain that natural curve and avoid the pain which may be caused by it being flattened. So a knee pillow below your knees and a rolled towel or small pillow under the small of your back should keep you pain-free.
An hourglass knee pillow is designed to fit between the thighs, knees or legs. The lower cutout semi-circle rests on the lower knee or leg of a side sleeper, and the higher shape fits on the top knee or leg. They come with or without securing straps to keep them in place even if you move around in bed. They are designed to raise the upper leg which prevents rotation of the pelvis and so prevents the spine from being moved out of alignment.
Best Pillows for Knee Pain
- Everlasting Comfort Knee Pillow
- ComfiLife Orthopedic
- Abco Tech MemFoam Knee Pillow
- BeautifulLife Bedroll Knee Pillow
- Cushy Form Half Moon
These pillows are not only designed to help alleviate knee pain but also to prevent back pain and any other condition caused by a misalignment of the spine. Each of them can help to reduce pain after a knee procedure or pain caused by bad sleeping geometry. Check out the five, and choose the one that you think is best for you. Don’t just go on price, because each is different and is very effective in reducing or eliminating pain brought on by various causes. It’s important to make sure that the knee pillow you choose is suitable for your sleeping position, and that it is intended to provide relief from whatever is causing your pain. Always make sure that you are able to return your purchase should it not work as you expected it to.