Wrapping your knee increases the pressure between the patella (the kneecap) and the femur (the thigh bone). The underside of the patella and the end of the femur are covered in cartilage, which is designed to be slippery and decrease friction between the surfaces. Increasing the compression here can in effect grind these surfaces together, damaging the cartilage and leading to increased pain and swelling in the long run.
Studies have shown that knee wraps actually DO help you extend your knee, decreasing the activation of the quads. This is not a good thing. If a device is standing in for the musculature that should be working, it will in fact change the way that the targeted muscles are used, which is way worse for the knee joint. If an athlete (you) are using your knee wraps for ‘stability,’ it’s a much safer route to talk to a PT and figure out why you’re feeling like your knees are weak — have the source of the problem assessed and treated.
2 situations when you might wrap your knees:
During max effort sets if you’re looking for that boost (like in a comp)
After exercise, to decrease and/or control swelling.