One of the most common orthopedic injuries is an ankle sprain. Most ankle injuries are inversion injuries in which the foot rolls inward. It typically happens during running, jumping and pivoting.
Often people with ankle injuries suffer from recurrences. Fortunately, ankle braces are effective in helping to avoid ankle sprains from reoccurring as they stabilize the ankle so that its range of motion is limited. Sometimes it can be confusing when selecting the right ankle brace. Here’s what you need to know when shopping for an ankle brace.
Types of Ankle Braces
Elastic sleeves—These are the simplest type of ankle braces. They provide the least support for activities such as light jogging and walking. However, they’re ineffective for intense activities, although they do help in reducing inflammation as the result of injuries. They're also are the cheapest ones and are usually found even in grocery markets.
Lace-up braces—Constructed from nylon-vinyl material, these braces are semi-rigid. One of their best features is that you can tighten this brace according to your comfort level. What’s more, they’re more flexible than rigid braces.
Post injury braces—These are extremely rigid and are either gel-filled or air-filled. They contain two plastic inserts that are contoured to the shape of your legs. They’re mostly intended for relieving inflammation and preventing eversion and inversion. In other words, don’t use them for functional purposes.
Rigid braces—These braces come in either stirrup or lace-up styles. A stirrup brace, which provides the most protection, lets you move up and down while protecting your ankle from rolling either in or out. People who play basketball or volleyball often choose this brace as these sports entail much jumping. Just as a post injury brace, a lace-up brace contains plastic panels that protect your ankle from inversion and eversion.
Other Considerations and Warnings
- Make sure a brace fits well. Also, you don’t want a brace with laces that are too short because you won’t be able to tie them. On the other hand, laces shouldn't be too long.
- There shouldn't be any gaps between your skin and your brace.
- Wear your ankle brace when doing all your everyday activities if you’re wearing it for treatment or rehabilitative purposes. However, if you’re only wearing it for preventative reasons, you only need to wear your brace when engaging in basketball, tennis, volleyball or any other sports involving lateral movements.
It’s important to choose an ankle brace that offers the best stability needed for your activities. If you're unsure of what type of brace you need, visit Mueller Sports Medicine and let us help you. Please contact us.