Ankle sprains are the most common sports related injuries among athletes. According to statistics, nearly two million ankle sprain injuries are reported every year in the United States. When an athlete experiences an ankle injury, he is put to bed for several weeks and is suggested to refrain from games during this entire time frame.
This kind of break can be excruciating for someone who lives to play. Many athletes have known to suffer major trauma because of these injuries and not because they get hurt, but because they lose major opportunities that come their way while they are on bed rest.
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Seeing this, the concept of ankle wrapping was introduced more than 60 years ago. This was a practical method for decreasing the pain and number of injuries caused during extreme sports and training exercises. As the time went by, ankle wrapping turned into the manufacturing of professional ankle braces that have now made life easier of all the runners and athletes.
What is an ankle brace?
An ankle brace is a medical piece of fabric that is wrapped around the ankle to immobilize the joint and provide heat and compression to the bones in order for it to heal. Ankle brace is more like a walking boot for sprained ankle. These are sturdy preventative measures that are suggested by all the physicians for anyone who is involved in running or impact sports.
There are different types of ankle braces available in the market for all kinds of sports. You will easily find football ankle braces, volleyball ankle braces, soccer ankle brace, athletic ankle brace and even ankle brace for running, as these sports are the most common ones to cause ankle injuries.
There are specific ankle braces available in the market that will cater to your needs regarding these sports while some are usually used for healing process.
Most of these ankle braces are commonly used for rehabilitation purposes. Some ankle braces are made up of stretchable fabric while some are constructed with metallic plates for better immobilization in severe injuries.
There are several benefits of using ankle braces. They will effectively speed up your healing process and also prevent you from getting future injuries.
Conditions That Require The Use of Ankle Braces
There are mainly two reasons for using an ankle brace continuously, a knee injury or a high ankle sprain.
According to the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society, “a high ankle sprain is an injury to the ligaments above the ankle that connect the tibia to the fibula.”
This injury is usually caused by rotating or twisting of the foot while the ankle stays in one position and is unable to move freely. You end up tearing your high-ankle ligaments and this is where you need a high ankle sprain brace.
This was one medical condition while there are several others, some of them we have mentioned below.
The most common injury among athletes and even non-athletic people is an ankle sprain. It can occur just by walking and doesn’t really need you to indulge in impact sports.
When ankle sprains happen, your foot goes into an unnatural movement and causes ligaments to stretch that result in inflammation and pain. The ligament damage can range from complete rupture to a small tear.
You will need a sprained ankle brace to heal from this injury. You may also require a complete bed rest for a few days as well.
Running athletes and basketball players are the most vulnerable to a condition known as Achilles Tendonitis. The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscles to the heel bone and is prone to rupture.
This tendon is basically used during running and jumping. When you play basketball for continuous and repetitive hours, it becomes vulnerable to injury and may become inflamed. You will need to use the best ankle brace for basketball in order to prevent this from happening.
This condition causes a lot of pain and may even cause you to leave your game for several weeks. You will also need to use a basketball knee brace as soon as you resume playing again for preventative reasons.
Chronic Ankle Instability
Chronic ankle instability is a condition that needs an active ankle brace. In this condition, the outer side of the ankle feels like it may give out and the ankle itself feels highly unstable.
This occurs when you have had several ankle sprains and they haven’t had enough time and support to heal completely. In this condition, you need the best ankle support braces that you can find and stay off your feet for a while.
This is a highly dangerous condition that may result in a broken ankle if it prolongs. Chronic ankle instability also occurs because of running on a sprained ankle without any support. So, if you feel you have just experienced an ankle sprain, it is highly recommended by the physician that you take your time to heal properly before getting back to your routine.
Once healed, find yourself the best ankle braces for running as a prevention from future ankle sprains.
The Plantar Fasciitis is another common condition among athletes. It occurs when the Plantar Fascia, a tissue that runs from the front of the foot to the heel, gets ruptured due to acute pressure and muscle stress.
The ruptured can be caused by an unnatural landing or quick cut on the court.
Most of the people who suffer from this condition have this misunderstanding that using an ankle brace will decrease their performance however, that isn’t the case. If you wear an ankle brace properly and make use of specially designed shoes for Plantar Fasciitis, you can prevent re-injury and heal yourself without minimizing your movement.
Ankle Stress Fractures
Ankle stress fractures are known to be tiny cracks in the bones caused by overusing tired muscles. When a person is suffering from ankle stress fractures, his bones lose the capability to absorb shock from repetitive impacts.
The bones try to absorb the effects of the impact and that’s when you may feel pain, swelling and tenderness around your ankle. You can find the best ankle brace for sprain or you can even use ankle stabilizers to cope with this condition.
Ankle stress fractures may last for a week or two during which you must take complete bed rest.
So, these are the few conditions in which you need to use an ankle brace. You also need to consult with your physician or an orthopedic for a professional advice regarding the entire healing process.
Suggested to Wear Ankles Braces When:
The conditions that we have mentioned above are when you can use an ankle brace. Other than those conditions, following are a few scenarios where you should always take precautionary measures and keep yourself safe from ankle injuries.
Going for a run
Frequent running may causes ankle sprain. You never know when you may twist your foot and end up with an excruciating pain. Wear an ankle brace for running to keep yourself safe from ankle sprains.
Playing extreme sports
Impact sports such as volleyball, football, baseball, basketball and squash will make you more vulnerable to knee, ankle or elbow injuries.
It is highly recommended by the doctors that you always look for an ankle brace that will cater to your needs for a specific sport. For instance, if you play volleyball, you will easily find volleyball knee brace available in the market that is designed exclusively for the specific game.
The same way, you can easily find some of the best volleyball ankle brace or a baseball ankle brace that will cater to the needs of their respective sports.
Other than that, you need to wear an ankle brace when you are exercising. If you are a gym freak and have a fitness regime under an experienced trainer, you are in good hands. But if you’re not exercising under supervision, always wear ankle braces for exercises that have an impact on your feet and legs.
So, these are a few times when you should wear an ankle brace and be vigilant about it. Make sure to do not overuse an ankle brace because that is harmful as well. Your rehabilitation process matters the most and you need to make sure you do not overuse your tired muscles.