In this page, you will learn the benefits of an ankle brace, when you may need one, the different types and how to choose the right one for you.
Benefits of an ankle brace
It's not until you have ankle pain or injuries that you realise how reliant we are on our ankles for support and function. An ankle brace is used in the case of an acute ankle injury, to help provide support and stability whilst the ankle is healing.
A high-quality ankle brace will help provide stability and support to the joint, mimicking the action of the ligaments that typically stabilise the ankle. An ankle brace will allow you to continue to do the things you want and need to, whilst your body is in the healing process. Ankle braces can also be used as a preventative tool - particularly in sports with a high chance of injury, like netball. A lot of players will use them even without injury, to enhance the support and control of the ankle.
Top 5 Injuries that ankle braces support
Chronic ankle pain
When do you need an ankle brace?
There are many situations where they can be useful:
Ankle braces can be useful during an acute injury; however, many recreational athletes will use ankle braces as a preventative tool. The brace provides them with increased stability and confidence to play at their peak.
A list of sports where an ankle brace can be useful:
Different types of braces
There are several types, each trying to fit a specific purpose.
A sleeve brace is more of a basic compression device. Worn a bit like a thick sock, it will provide a small amount of support, whilst helping manage swelling and controlling the ankle.
Sports brace (straps or wraps)
A sports brace will provide more support than the sleeve, usually with an adjustable strap to increase the tension around the ankle.
The benefit of a lace-up ankle brace is that it provides a similar level of support to the straps and wraps, but the tension is much more customisable. These braces usually fit well within shoes, so can be suitable for sports. The only downside is the time it may take to put them on and off.
These braces are more sturdy, usually with splints running down each side of the ankle. This will provide the highest level of support. The downside to these braces is that they are generally chunkier, and can be challenging to fit into shoes.
How much does an ankle brace cost?
The cost will vary wildly, depending on the level of support you require and the quality of the brace. The cheapest options start around $20, and the most expensive braces can be upwards of $250.
How to choose the right ankle brace
When choosing a brace, there are a few factors to consider. Firstly, the severity of the injury, the length of time you suspect you will need it for and what activities you anticipate doing whilst wearing the ankle brace.
For more severe injuries that will have you out of action for a prolonged period, it is critical to invest in a supportive and high-quality ankle brace. It may cost you a bit more, but the price is well worth it to ensure adequate control of the ankle when you need it most. The more expensive and supportive braces are more customisable to your injury and can be adjusted in several different ways - allowing for specific optimisation.
If your injury is minor, you can get away with something a bit more basic, like an ankle sleeve or less rigid brace. These are ideal for people who want to maintain a certain level of activity or continue to play sport. These braces provide a more generic level with a lot less customisation available.
Are you still suffering from ankle pain?
Whilst an ankle brace may provide great support - it's just that, support. Find a local sports physiotherapist who can help treat your ankle injury and get back to your active self.