Preventing Ankle Injuries with Ankle Braces
Studies show that ankle sprain rates DOUBLE within two years following a sprain, and 50% of people who have sprained their ankle develop life-long ankle instability (from CPMC Physical Therapy Sports and Wellness). I can’t think of anyone I know who hasn’t sprained their ankle once in their life – so that’s a lot of people walking around with weak ankles.
What can everyone do to prevent re-injury of their ankles? Well, studies show that wearing an ankle brace can SIGNIFICANTLY reduce the chances of subsequent ankle injuries.
In Wisconsin, researchers gave out lace-up ankle braces to high school athletes to test brace effectiveness. High school basketball players that wore the brace during practice and games had 68% fewer ankle injuries than those who did not wear the brace. Similarly, high school football players who participated in the study had 61% less injuries than their un-braced classmates (from University of Wisconsin). These results are from young, healthy students – imagine the results with an older test group.
Now that we know ankle braces are effective for preventing injury, we need to understand what kind of brace is best for your lifestyle. There are two main categories of braces – the lace-up style and the stirrup style.
Lace-up braces add stability to both sides of the foot, as well as the front and back. This means that it will prevent sideways movement of the ankle as well as twisting. This style of brace is very helpful for athletes, like volleyball, tennis, basketball and football players who are more likely to twist the entire foot. If you watch volleyball games, almost all the players wear these lace up braces. This makes sense to me – a former high school volleyball player myself – I remember a handful of times where I jumped and landed on another player’s foot in my descent, twisting my ankle on the way down.
Stirrup style braces support the sides of the foot and will prevent sideways movement of the ankle. They are great for everyday use and can easily go unnoticed under a sock or in a shoe.
Another added feature you’ll see with ankle braces is compression. Adding compression to your ankle brace is effective if you have swelling in your foot or ankle. The light compression will keep fluids and blood moving and prevent swelling from occurring.
If you have weak ankles or are suffering from a recent ankle injury, check out our selection of ankle braces, which include both lace-up braces and stirrup braces.
By Brita @ BrightLife Direct