When to Wear an Ankle Brace – How Do Ankle Braces Work
Injuring your ankle can limit any athlete who participates in activities requiring quick lateral movements, pivoting on one foot or fast shifts in weight distribution from one foot to the other. While an ankle injury can limit a player’s performance, an ankle brace can provide support to keep you confident and minimize the risk of reinjury.
How an Ankle Brace Works
Ankle braces work by immobilizing the ankle through rigid support, on the sides, above and below the ankle. This provides stability for injured ligaments, allowing them to heal without further stretching or tearing. Ankle braces utilize a variety of different methods to add support, but the most common would be lace-up or slip-on. Some will also integrate straps outside the laces or slip-on sleeve, providing additional support or easy adjustment to provide a comfortable, supportive fit.
After an Ankle Injury
The most common type of ankle injury is a sprain. An ankle sprain occurs when the ankle rolls, twists or turns beyond your normal range of motion. This causes the ligaments that support your ankle bone to stretch or tear, leaving the injured person with pain and a lack of stability. Ankle braces can provide a strong level of support, allowing the athlete to resume activity with added protection.
Preventing Reaggravation of an Ankle Injury
Studies have shown that athletes who sprain their ankle are 70% more likely to sprain that same ankle again than those who have not had an injury before. Preventing an injury from occurring again is one of the most common uses of an ankle brace. As well, athletes may feel more confident wearing a brace following an injury, allowing them to perform at their maximum potential despite the injury.
How long should I wear an ankle brace?
Most ankle sprains will result in usage of an ankle brace for 10 days to six weeks. Every athlete’s recovery is different, but you should continue use of an ankle brace for as long as you experience pain, swelling or instability. Also, consult your physician to ensure you have the best treatment plan and timeline for your injury.