Considering that our ankles bear a lot of weight and are often subject to sharp and awkward movements, it's no surprise that injuries are pretty common. So, when it comes to pain management, support, and healing, do ankle braces actually help?
The short answer is yes. But the long answer is a little more complicated.
ANKLE BRACES DO ACTUALLY HELP
But there are a couple of caveats here.
- The brace has to be made of quality materials and meet medical standards
- Your ankle brace needs to fit you perfectly. That means no loose or too-tight fabric, anatomically contoured splints, and well-placed pads.
- The brace has to suit your specific condition.
For example, a neoprene brace won’t be the best choice for helping you recover from a sprain. That’s because there are no medical compression standards for neoprene. And on top of that, cheap cost means mass production, which makes it very difficult to find a perfectly sized brace for your ankle. Remember, your brace has to properly support and compress your ankle in key areas, because if it doesn’t, you risk ineffective pain and swelling relief at best, and re-injury at worst.
Bauerfeind braces, on the other hand, use patented and rigorously tested compression knit and are moulded and sown into a huge variety of sizes to achieve that perfect fit.
Learn more about the differences between knit and neoprene braces: Why You Should Reconsider Your Neoprene Brace
HOW ANKLE BRACES HELP
Now, let’s get into the specifics of what ankle braces can do for you in injury prevention, recovery, and pain management.
First, some ankle braces can help you avoid sprains. Our Ankle Compression Sleeve, for example, is great for dancers, basketball players, and martial artists. It will support your ankle through twists and jumps due to the adjustable strap system. Additionally, its compression knit fabric will gradually compress your ankle, activating key muscles and relieving tension that could otherwise pull on the joint.
Ankle Compression Sleeve
Now, the Ankle Compression sleeve is designed for injury prevention and performance, not injury recovery. But as we mentioned, some ankle braces are great for helping you recover from minor sprains and even more serious ligament tears.
Generally, they do so by minimising the formation of edemas (an inflammatory agent that causes swelling at the injury site), boosting blood flow to the injury, and immobilising or supporting the movement of your foot.
MalleoLoc L3 Ankle Brace
The MalleoLoc L3, for example, features our patented compression knit to help reduce swelling and boost circulation, thus speeding your healing process along. Additionally, as shown in a recent study, MalleoLoc’s system of lightweight splints and adjustable straps effectively stabilises the ankle joint and reduces the risk of damaging supination movements.
Do note, however, that our injury recovery braces are designed to help with specific injuries for maximum effect. For example, the MalleoLoc L3 is best for capsular ligament injuries, while the AchilloTrain is best for relieving irritated Achilles tendons. We’ve also designed, manufactured, and rigorously tested braces for a wide range of ankle injuries, so you’re sure to find what you need in our Ankle Braces Collection (we’ve also incorporated a filter to help you search).
Some ankle braces can also help you manage pain caused by injuries and certain degenerative conditions. For example, if you have arthritis in the foot or irritation from a sprain, you’ll need a brace like the MalleoTrain Ankle Support. I.e., a brace that incorporates compression and padding to reduce inflammation and massage key areas to relieve pain. And one that fits into most shoes and is comfortable for all-day wear
MalleoTrain Ankle Support
ADDITIONAL STEPS TO TAKE
While quality braces can do a lot for your ankles, bracing shouldn’t be your only focus. In terms of injury prevention, for example, you should make an effort to strengthen and gently stretch the joint. To do so, you can try:
- Standing on one leg for 20-second intervals each to help improve proprioception and overall stability in the joint
- Dorsiflexion and plantarflexion. For this exercise, sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you and bend your foot up and down as far as it can go
For ankle injuries, meanwhile, we’d recommend giving your ankle a break. With a brace, you can still go about most activities as normal, but you should aim to avoid those that prompt sharp ankle movements. We’d also recommend combining bracing with other conservative treatment methods like ice and heat packs and physiotherapy. And, of course, speak to your doctor, especially if your injury or condition is serious.
TO SUM UP
Ankle braces do actually help! Their ability to compress, support, and relieve pain makes bracing a great addition to your efforts for preventing and recovering from injuries and even managing some medical conditions. However, for your brace to be effective, it MUST use quality, medical-grade materials and be the perfect fit for your ankle.
See our full range of ankle supports: Ankle Braces Australia
If you require assistance selecting the right product for your needs or wearing the brace, call us on 1300 668 466 or contact us via live chat.
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