Best Ankle Brace for Sprained Ankle
Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries in all levels of sport competition. Almost everyone has either sprained their ankle to some degree or saw it happen to someone else. This type of injury can vary from a minor grade 1 sprain to more serious grade 3 sprains. Depending on the level of injury and grade of the ankle sprain different treatment methods are recommended. There are many ankle braces available that provide different levels of support. Low support sleeves are great option for minor injuries and instabilities and rigid, lace-up ankle braces are great for supporting previously torn ligaments.
Types of Sprained Ankle Injuries
There are 3 types of ankle sprains, inversion, eversion, and high ankle sprains. The most common is an inversion ankle sprain. This is when the ankle rolls inward and damages the ligaments on the outside of the ankle. An eversion ankle sprain is the opposite, so when the ankle is forced into a position where it rolls outward and the ligament on the inside of the ankle called the Delta Ligament is injured. A high ankle sprain which also known as a syndesmosis sprain is identified by pain to the upper ankle area. This pain is caused by the tearing of fibers between the two shin bones, the tibia and fibula. This type of injury occurs when the foot is pushed too far into flexion (toes toward the shin).
Types of Sprained Ankle Braces
Ankle braces are designed to provide minimum to maximum levels of support based on the injury and the athlete’s needs. The lowest level of support in an ankle brace would be an ankle sleeve. An ankle sleeve provides compression to support the soft tissue of the ankle joint. A sleeve will help stabilize the ankle joint and will also provide warmth. Warmth is beneficial because it will increase blood circulation, which leads to more oxygen and nutrients flowing in and fluids and build up being pushed out. This means that recovery time is shortened; there is less swelling and pain.
An ankle brace that contains straps will fall into the medium level of support category. Lace-up ankle braces and rigid/stir-up ankle braces are considered to have a higher level of protection. Rigid ankle braces have rigid side supports that limit movement from side to side. This type of design is made to protect the ankle from inversion and eversion ankle sprains. A lace-up ankle brace fits tightly all the way around the ankle to provide support from all angles. A lace-up ankle brace therefor protects against inversion, eversion and high ankle sprains.
How an Ankle Brace Helps.
Ankle braces are purchased for two different reasons, which are to either prevent an ankle injury from happening and to protect a previously injured ankle. If a ligament within the ankle has been partially or fully torn from an ankle sprain, then that ligament become weak. It remains weak until that ligament has had time to heel and get back to its normal functioning. The ligament has been stretched which also makes it easily susceptible to being stretched out again. This is why a solid ankle brace is so important after an ankle sprain. Ankle braces are designed to support specific ligaments and take the load off of them so that a second injury does not occur. The support the ankle brace provides will restrict the ankle from moving into a high risk position.
Another issue that occurs with injury is the loss of proprioceptive information. There are sensors in the ankle joint that constantly send information to your nervous system about where your foot is in space. This type of quick information passing allows for you to quickly adjust your foot placement before an injury occurs. Ankle sprains injure some of these sensors and an ankle brace can increase the amount of proprioceptive information these sensors are sending out.
Whether you are using a brace for preventative reasons or to support a previously injured ankle, an ankle brace is a great addition to any athlete’s uniform.
Here is a review of some great sprained ankle braces:
CopperJoint Ankle Sleeve
The copper joint compression sleeve is going to provide mild-medium levels of support. This is a great sleeve to stabilize your ankle joint and promote faster muscle recovery through warmth. This sleeve is designed with graduated compression which means that the compression is tightest at the furthest point of your ankle and slowly decreases in pressure. This helps with fluid removal and many other benefits. For more information on the benefits of a compression sock Click Here.
Zensah Ankle Support
Zensah is another great option for an ankle sleeve that provides mild support. This ankle sleeve comes in a variety of colors and fits very comfortably under any footwear. The material in this brace is breathable and thin to allow for your ankle to move through a full range of motion. This brace has moisture wicking features which mean that it takes the moisture and pulls it away from your ankle, allowing you to be more comfortable and dry.
Aircast A60 Ankle Support
The Aircast A60 is a step up from an ankle sleeve and provides a moderate level of support. The brace is designed to support the weakest part of the ankle but still allow your ankle joint to move easily through a normal range of motion. The brace contains stabilizers on either side to help prevent your ankle from moving into high risk positions.
Shock Doctor Lace-up Ankle Brace
This is a very popular and very well reviewed brace that will provide great support for your ankle. The brace has a compression wrap system designed to support the ankle from all dangerous positions and prevent inversion, eversion, and high ankle sprains. With added gel padding this brace is comfortable to wear for long periods of time. With its light weight design and added grippers on the bottom of the foot this brace will fit easily in any shoe and stay in place during play.
McDavid Classis Light Weight Ankle Brace
McDavid is a well-known company for creating high performance sport medicine products. Their lace-up ankle brace is one of their best selling products. It is a very light weight brace that will allow you to move freely through normal range of motion while restricting your ankle form harmful positions. This brace also contains a sewn in arch support.
Aso Ankle Stabilizer
This is the best option if you’re looking for a high level of support. This brace can be used for preventative measures or to support a previously injured ligament. The brace contains a lace-up design to provide support all the way around the ankle as well as straps that complete a figure eight pattern to add to its protection level. This brace is strong and durable and you will most definitely get your moneys worth.