Volleyball Ankle Brace
Ankle injuries account for about 40% of injuries in volleyball. This is not surprising for a sport that requires a lot of quick reaction, cutting, jumping and landing. All movements that can be high risk for spraining your ankle. Braces are becoming very common in the sport of volleyball and some coaches insist all players to wear ankle braces even if there are no prior ankle injuries. They are highly recommended for an athlete who has previously injured their ankle and looking for extra protection to continue playing sports.
Lace-up with Straps
Common Ankle Injuries
There are a few types of injuries that a brace is hoping to prevent. An inversion ankle sprain is the most common way to injure your ankle. This is when your foot rolls inward and the ligaments on the outside become stretched and torn. These ligaments are referred to as the lateral complex and consist of the anterior talofibular, calcaneofibular, and posterior Talofibular ligaments.
An eversion ankle sprain is the opposite and the ankle rolls outwards. An eversion sprain will tear the fibers of the deltoid ligament on the inside of the ankle. A high ankle sprain, also known as a syndesmotic sprain, is a sprain of the syndesmotic ligaments that connect the tibia and fibula in the lower leg. This type of injury is caused when the foot is pushed too far into flexion (toes toward the shin).
Why is re-injury common?
When you sprain or strain the ligaments in your ankle you are tearing some of the fibers that make up that ligament. If it is a severe injury you can in fact tear the whole ligaments. So, one of the most common times to wear an ankle brace during volleyball is to prevent a re-injury. This is because once the pain of a muscle, joint or ligament injury dissipates; residual weakness, instability and functional limitation to the tissues may still be present, making them more susceptible to further injury.
After an injury, the receptors in your ankle become weakened. These receptors are responsible for relaying information about balance and proprioception which is your body’s awareness of where your limbs are in space.
How does an ankle brace prevent injury?
A brace can aid your ankle in two ways. The first is simply just added stability to the ligaments of the ankle through compression. Second, the brace helps with the weakened receptor problem. A brace will increase the amount of proprioceptive in formation that is being sent to the nervous system, this will allow for your joint to react quicker and hopefully prevent you joint from moving into a harmful position.
Types of Ankle Braces
Different braces are made to protect different aspects of your ankle. A stirrup brace only provides support to the sides of the ankles and is also commonly a rigid ankle brace. This means that’s a stirrup brace would work for the more common injuries like inversion and eversion sprains however would not provide much support for a high ankle sprain. A lace-up brace will provide support to both sides as well as the front and back of the ankle, meaning it would be a great option for any injury or someone with multiple injuries. Rigid ankle braces will provide the highest level of support and can assist with faster rehabilitation after injury.
Here are some great ankle brace options:
Active Ankle T2 Rigid Ankle Brace
This rigid ankle brace is a great high end durable brace that will protect your ankles during volleyball. Let your mind be at ease and focus on your sport while the brace takes care of your ankle. It is easy to put on with one simple strap that is adjustable for both high and low top shoes. It is a comfortable brace with padding, allowing you to play the entire game with the brace on. This brace is custom to left and right feet so be careful when purchasing one.
Mueller Hinged Ankle Brace
Similar to the Active Ankle this is a rigid brace that will provide a high amount of support. This brace has padding that is meant to prevent inversion and sprains. The hinge will help restrict unwanted movement but still allow for a full range of motion while active. This brace can be used on either foot and is very long lasting!
McDavid Lightweight Ankle Brace
This is a lace-up ankle brace that can provide support for all aspects of the ankle. It is one of Mcdavid’s bestselling ankle braces and very highly reviewed. Like the name indicated it is lightweight and very comfortable. It is made from a sturdy material and includes steel stays for extra support. This brace is used to prevent common injures, after an injury has occurred and also provides arch support.
McDavid Deuluxe Ankle Brace
This brace is similar to the above McDavid ankle brace, but also includes a figure six strapping system. These straps mirror the common patterns used when taping your ankle with athletic tape and help prevent the ankle from moving into unwanted/high risk positions. Features include lightweight nylon, padded lining, elastic heel and sewn-in arch support. A bit more bulky then the aboce McDavid brace but still reviewed highly and reviewed as comfortable.