However, in choosing an ankle brace, there are several factors to ponder. We provide some guidance on these questions below.
The essential role of an ankle support is to prevent ankle inversion or eversion movements that can place too much strain on ankle ligaments and tendons. If this happens, the result can be over-stretched, torn or even completely ruptured ligaments, or an ankle sprain.
Ankle braces can also be used by individuals with unstable or weak ankles. They will support the structures of the ankle and proactively help to prevent ankle sprains or other injuries.Ankle braces will function as back-up supports for the ankle ligaments by restricting ankle movement enough to reduce the risk of ankle inversion or eversion.
However, with all ankle supports, there is a trade off between the amount of support and protection for the ankle and the range of motion & wearing comfort that they offer. For the athlete (or anyone else wearing the brace) the trick is to find a brace that he or she can use to run or jump without too much interference while receiving adequate protection from ankle injuries.
Types Of Ankle Brace Design
There are essentially four types of ankle support design available on the market today.They are ankle sleeves, ankle braces with straps, stirrup braces and lace up braces. We will briefly discuss each of these designs and their respective pros and cons below. In general, the more comfortable the brace, the least support it will offer. We will start with the most comfortable design option and work from there.
This is the simplest and most comfortable ankle brace design. Unfortunately, it also offers the least support and will leave you relatively unprotected from possible ankle injuries.
Ankle sleeves will however provide some compression and warmth for your ankle. These may be useful if you have previously suffered an injury such as a sprain. Your concern will then be to keep your ankle ligaments warm and supple to mitigate the risk that they may be overstretched, torn or damaged in some other way.
An ankle sleeve may also be useful if you are suffering from generally sore and tired ankles. The compression from a sleeve will enhance blood flow through the joint and mitigate soreness and tiredness.
Avoid using a sleeve if you have severe ankle instability or have suffered a sprain (even a mild one). In addition, if you choose to wear an ankle sleeve, be careful not to wear one that is too tight.
Ankle Braces With Straps
These use cloth straps that you wrap around your ankle when donning the brace.The straps usually have a figure 8 design to lock the heel in a manner similar to a taping job.They will provide superior support to ankle sleeves at a generally reasonable price.
The drawbacks of this design are:
They can sometimes be complex to put on;
You can easily fall into the trap of tightening the straps too much, which can restrict blood circulation.
If you can overcome the disadvantages noted above, the braces can be effective against mild to moderate ankle sprains and instability.
Stirrup Ankle Braces
With stirrup braces, your ankle is fixed between two plastic pads. The pads are then inflated to cushion your ankle and increase wearing comfort.
This type of brace is a step up from the ankle strap brace in terms of rigidity and are generally not used by athletes for prophylactic purposes (i.e. to prevent ankle sprains) during competition or training. Instead, they are usually used in similar situations as walking braces i.e. to stabilize the ankle in cases of grade 2 or 3 sprains or other severe ankle injuries.
Lace Up Ankle Braces
These are generally the most rigid and supportive ankle braces on the market today but are usually very uncomfortable to wear. They are appropriate for stabilizing the ankle to allow healing of severe ankle sprains. However, they restrict range of motion too much to be feasible for use in competition or training.
Hybrid Ankle Braces
We should note that, as with knee or wrist braces for example, many of the ankle braces you will encounter on the market are actually hybrids of one type or another. They will combine the features of two or more of the design alternatives above to get the optimal trade-off between comfort on the one hand and support/stability on the other.
Some General Tips On Choosing A Brace
If your ankle brace has laces, pay careful attention to the length of the laces. They should not be too long or short. Otherwise, you may not be able to tie the laces properly and the brace may not work as effectively as the manufacturers intended.
Your ankle brace will come with detailed sizing instructions, and charts in some cases. Please follow these carefully to ensure to choose the correct size. If the brace is too large, it may not provide sufficient support for your injury. If it is too small, you will not be able to wear it comfortably for long and as a result you will not receive the therapeutic benefit you are seeking.
When Should The Brace Be Worn?
You should wear your ankle support during everyday activities if possible (e.g. at work). If you have previously suffered an ankle injury and want to protect your ankle, you should also wear your brace during sports activity. This is especially the case when engaging in sports that require lateral movements and sharp changes in speed or direction.
If you have any questions about the features of any of the braces shown below, please ask and our customer service personnel will be happy to help.
However, if you have questions about the ankle injuries or ankle pain you may be experiencing, we would suggest consulting with your doctor or other healthcare advisor.
The Mueller Sports Medicine Adjustable Ankle Stabilizer uses a figure-8 strapping system for superior support and HydraMesh® fabric arch panel for wearing comfort. Replaces the MU44547 Adjustable Ankle Stabilizer.
Mueller Sports Medicine Adjustable Ankle Support features a patented strapping system. This system uses tensioning straps fixed in a criss cross pattern to offer reliable ankle support. Other features of the Adjustable Ankle Support are seamless edges for additional wearing comfort and a sectional design to increase conformance and keep bunching to a minimum. The…
The McDavid Ankle Brace / Lace Up With Stays has spring steel medical stays for solid support and is built of highly breathable two-layer polyester/vinyl mesh. The ventilated tongues makes this brace highly breathable, as do its highly breathable lining and reinforced eyelets.
The McDavid Ankle Brace With Straps is constructed of single layer polyester fabric for strong support combined with minimal weight. It can help you to prevent and/or recover from common ankle sprains.
The McDavid Ankle Sleeve features a four-way stretch material that facilitates comfort and compression in all directions. It also features Mcdavid’s exclusive 5-needle stitch for a flatter, cleaner and stronger seam. The brace also has an exterior layer of nylon fabric for added durability.
The McDavid Ankle Sleeve / 4-Way Elastic With Gel Buttresses provides support and reduces pain, swelling and inflammation caused by to tendonitis, arthritis or soft tissue injuries like sprains or strains.
The McDavid Ankle Sleeve / Elastic is made from a breathable non-neoprene knitted elastic material. Using polyester, rubber and nylon as construction materials makes this an ideal choice for those affected by neoprene allergies.
The McDavid Ankle Support With Figure-8 Straps utilizes a wrap-around figure-8 strap design o provide your ankle with comfortable compression and pain relief. It features McDavid’s exclusive 5-needle stitch for flatter and stronger seams, which results in increased comfort for you. It also includes an adjustable hook and loop closure for a customized fit.
The LP Ankle Support-757 features a Velcro closure design that can accommodate most ankle sizes. Wearing this support, you will enjoy full range of movement due to the open toe and heel design. However, the support level of this support will not be as great as that of the LP Extreme Ankle Support. The Ankle…
The ankle straps of the Mueller Sports Medicine ATF 2 Ankle Brace self-adjust to support your Anterior Talofibular Ligament and help protect against ‘rolling the ankle’ without restricting jumping, speed or agility. Now replaced by the ATF 3 Ankle Brace.
The Mueller Sports Medicine ATF3 Ankle Brace uses an internal strapping system with a self adjustment mechanism that helps you avoid rolling your ankle and provides superior all day wearing comfort. Replaces the ATF 2 Ankle Brace.
With a low profile adaptive fit, an easy on quick wrap feature and many other innovative features, the McDavid Bio-Logix Ankle Brace provides superb Level 3 protection from ankle pain due to eversion and inversion sprains and other common causes of ankle instability.
Fine line treatment for posterior tibial tendonitis and peroneal tendonitis. Customizable varus/valgus heel disks and arch height. Designed by a board of certified foot and ankle specialists. Viable alternative to expensive custom ankle braces.
The McDavid Elite Engineered Elastic Ankle Brace offers a combination of a comfortable fit, rock like stability and optimal compression. It can be your perfect choice for an ankle brace to protect against sports injuries.
The Mueller Sports Medicine Green Adjustable Ankle Support will help to protect and support sore, sprained, weak, strained and arthritic ankles. It has a patented strapping system that helps to provide reliable and uniform ankle support. The Green Adjustable Ankle Support uses a soft, petroleum free neoprene blend. This environmentally friendly material nevertheless retains your…
The Mueller Sports Medicine HG80 Hard Shell Ankle Brace provides rigid support for your ankle but is comfortable, lightweight and 100% neoprene free due to Mueller’s proprietary moisture-wicking HydraCinn fabric. This brace comes with an anti-microbial barrier for long term wearing comfort an is also latex free. For safety, it uses reflective materials to improve visibility in substandard lighting.