Ankle injuries are a common occurrence for people of all ages and activity levels. From athletes to construction workers, anyone who spends a lot of time on their feet is at risk of sustaining an ankle injury. One of the most effective ways to manage and prevent ankle injuries is by using ankle braces. Ankle braces are designed to provide additional support and stability to the ankle joint, helping to prevent excessive movement and reduce the risk of injury. They can be used to manage existing injuries or as a preventative measure for individuals with a history of ankle injuries.
In this article, we will delve deeper into what ankle braces are and how they work. We will explore the different types of ankle braces, their features, and the benefits they offer for managing and preventing ankle injuries. So, let’s begin our discussion here;
Types of ankle braces for Ankle Injury
There are several types of ankle braces available on the market, each designed for a specific purpose and level of support. Check out the most common types of ankle braces available in the market:
- Lace-up ankle braces
Lace-up ankle braces are the most traditional type of ankle brace and are similar to a high-top athletic shoe. They are made of a combination of fabric and plastic and are laced up to provide support and stability to the ankle joint. They offer a high level of support and are suitable for individuals with moderate to severe ankle injuries.
- Elastic ankle braces
Elastic ankle braces are made of a stretchy material that provides compression and support to the ankle joint. They are lightweight and comfortable, making them a good choice for individuals with mild to moderate ankle injuries.
- Stirrup ankle braces
Stirrup ankle braces are made of a hard plastic shell that wraps around the ankle joint and provides support on both sides of the ankle. They are suitable for individuals with moderate to severe ankle injuries and offer a high level of support and stability.
- Hinged ankle braces
Hinged ankle braces have a hinge on both sides of the ankle that allows for controlled movement and provides additional support to the ankle joint.
- Ankle sleeves
Ankle sleeves are made of a stretchy material that provides compression and support to the ankle joint. They are lightweight and comfortable, making them a good choice for individuals with mild to moderate ankle injuries or as a preventative measure.
- Ankle supports with straps
Ankle supports with straps are made of a combination of fabric and plastic and have adjustable straps that provide additional support and stability to the ankle joint.
How do ankle braces help manage ankle injuries?
Ankle braces are designed to provide support and stability to the ankle joint, which can help manage and prevent ankle injuries. Here are some ways ankle braces can help with injury:
- Limiting movement
Ankle braces help limit the range of motion of the ankle joint. This can help prevent excessive movement that could cause further damage to the ankle ligaments.
- Providing compression
Many ankle braces are designed to provide compression, which can help reduce swelling and improve blood flow to the injured area. This can help speed up the healing process.
- Improving stability
Ankle braces can improve the stability of the ankle joint by providing additional support. This can help individuals feel more confident and stable when walking or engaging in physical activity.
- Enhancing proprioception
Proprioception is the body’s ability to sense its position and movement in space. Ankle braces can improve proprioception by providing feedback to the ankle joint. This can help individuals make more precise movements and avoid further injury.
- Supporting the healing process
By limiting the range of motion and providing compression, ankle braces can support the healing process of ankle injuries, such as sprains or strains. This can help individuals recover more quickly and return to normal activities.
- Reducing the Risk of Re-injury
After suffering an ankle injury, the ankle joint may become unstable and more prone to future injuries. An ankle brace can help provide support and reduce the risk of re-injury.
For what conditions you can wear ankle braces?
Braces can be worn for a variety of injury conditions, including:
- Ankle sprains
Ankle sprains are the most common ankle injury and occur when the ligaments in the ankle are stretched or torn. Ankle braces can help provide support and stability to the ankle joint, reducing the risk of further injury and allowing the ligaments to heal.
- Ankle strains
The strains result when the ankle tendons or muscles are torn or stretched out. Ankle braces can help support the ankle joint and reduce the strain on the affected muscles or tendons, allowing for proper healing.
Tendonitis is a condition where the tendons in the ankle become inflamed and irritated. Ankle braces can help provide compression and support to the affected area, reducing pain and promoting healing.
Ankle braces can be worn after a fracture to provide support and stability to the ankle joint during the healing process.
- Achilles tendonitis
Achilles tendonitis is a condition where the Achilles tendon becomes inflamed and irritated. Ankle braces can help provide compression and support to the affected area, reducing pain and promoting healing.
Is there any downside to wearing braces in Ankle Injury?
While ankle braces can be effective in preventing and treating ankle injuries, there are some potential downsides have also be found when wearing them:
- Limited range of motion: Ankle braces can restrict the range of motion in the ankle joint, which can affect performance and movement. This can be particularly problematic for athletes who require a wide range of motion for their sport.
- Skin irritation: Wearing an ankle brace for long periods can cause skin irritation and blisters.
- Muscle weakness: Prolonged use of an ankle brace can lead to muscle weakness in the ankle and lower leg. This is because the brace is providing support to the ankle joint, which can cause the muscles to become less active and strong.
- Dependency: Some people become overly dependent on ankle braces and may rely on them too heavily. This can lead to a lack of proper conditioning and strengthening of the ankle, which can increase the risk of injury.