Soccer Ankle Brace
Soccer can be very hard on your ankles. It is a sport that involves a lot of cutting, changing directions, kicking and direct contact from other players. These types of movements make soccer players more prone to rolling their ankles and an ankle brace is a great way to help prevent these injuries. If an injury is to occur then a player can use a brace once they have heeled and returning to the game.
Common Soccer Ankle Injuries
Ankle sprains are the most common source of injury and they occur when there is a stretching or tearing of some or all of the muscle fibers in a ligament. There are three types of ankle sprains; inversion, eversion, and high ankle sprains. The most common is an inversion ankle sprains which is when the ankle rolls inward damaging the anterior talo-fibular ligament, the calcaneo-fibular ligament and the posterior talo-fibular ligament.
Eversion ankle sprains are the opposite and are caused when the ankle rolls outward. This type of movement can damage the fibers of the deltoid ligament. A high ankle sprain or syndesmosis sprain is tears of the muscle fibers that connect the tibia and fibula. This sprain can happen when the foot gets forced too far into back into flexion (toes toward to shin). Wearing ankle brace is a great way to prevent your ankle from moving into all of these positions.
Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury in the Achilles tendon which is the tendon that connects the calf muscles to the foot bones. It is distinguished by pain in the back of the leg that works its way down to the foot.
How does an ankle brace help?
Once an injury has occurred there are two reasons why an ankle brace is suggested. First off the tissue associated in in the injury will still be weak, have some limitations and instabilities. When the ligament has been stretched then it is easier to be stretched again. Second, the receptors that that are involved in the injury are damaged as well. Receptors are responsible for sending your nervous system information about the position of your foot in space.
Ankle braces can help with both of these issues. The compression of the brace add stability by supports the injured ligament. Based on the type of material the brace is made out of, patterns can help prevent the ankle from moving into high risk positions for ankle injuries.
Having an ankle brace on will also increase the amount of proprioceptive information the sensory receptors in your muscle, ligament, and tendons fibers. This sensory information is then sent to your nervous system and your brain has a more accurate and quicker knowledge of what position your foot is in and whether the ankle joint is in any danger of injury.
Types of Ankle Braces
Soccer players are going to want a brace that is comfortable and fits into their cleats easily. A sleeve is the best option for mild protection and maximum comfortability. Sleeves protect through compression and warmth. The warmth of the sleeve increases the blood circulation which helps the ankle recover quicker.
When looking into more supportive braces there are different types of features a brace can have that will be more specific to different injuries. Stirr-up braces have rigid side that are great for movement on the side of the ankle. This means they will help protect against inversion and eversion ankle sprains which are the most common. Lace-up ankle braces provide support all around the ankle, meaning they also help protect from high ankle sprains as well as inversion and eversion sprains.
A heel cup or heel lift is a type of ankle support that is used to help prevent or alleviate the pain associated with Achilles tendonitis. This support is able to take some of the pressure of the achilles tendon.
Here are some great options for all types of ankle injuries:
CopperJoint Compression Ankle Sleeve
This is a great sleeve at a low cost is you are looking for mild compression. The copperJoint compression sleeve will increase blood flow to decrease muscle fatigue and promote faster recovery. The open heel design is meant for comfort. Features also include anti-odour and moisture wicking material to keep you ankle dry and smelling ok.
McDavid Level 3 Lace-up Ankle Brace
McDavid is a very popular brand for many types of sport therapy equipment and very well reviewed. The lace-up ankle brace is comfortable and can be tightened to whatever fit you desire. The tight fit will provide protection all around the ankle. This brace also includes an arch support to support the natural arch of your foot.
Active Ankle Rigid Ankle Brace
Great brace is you are looking for support of your ligaments from ankle sprains. The rigid stir-ups will help prevent you ankle from moving into unwanted injury prone positions. It may have rigid support but is still contains padding to maintain your comfortabilty
CEP Achilles Brace
This CEP brace is designed for athletes suffering from the pain of Achilles tendonitis. The brace is built to support the Achilles tendon while providing compression the rest of the ankle joint soft tissue. It won’t be as tight as a compression sleeve because the main goal is to support the Achilles tendon. It has been reviewed many times as comfortable to wear and easy to put on.