In this article, we look at 4 outstanding ankle braces that help prevent sprains and keep athletes and others healthy for longer periods.
Ankle sprains are perhaps the most common soft tissue injury experienced by physically active adults and adolescents. They are particularly common in sports such as baseball, basketball, tennis and soccer. However, they can also be the result of simple everyday activities such as slipping on an icy pavement or even stepping off a train or bus.
In sports like baseball or soccer, athletes are frequently required to make sharp twists and turns or to accelerate or decelerate suddenly. This may be required to either chase a ball, reach the next base or to avoid an opponent’s challenge.
Unfortunately, the pressures on the ankle caused by these movements can place severe stresses on ankle ligaments and cause them to be overstretched or even torn. The result is an ankle sprain that may affect your ability to walk or run for weeks or more.
One way to combat the risk of an ankle sprain is by wearing an ankle brace. It is our hope that the information below will be helpful to those choosing an ankle brace to prevent ankle injuries during sport, exercise or the performance of everyday chores such as shovelling snow.
To understand how these braces work, it is first necessary to briefly describe the three main types of ankle sprain and how they can occur. We will then discuss the 4 ankle supports in detail and explain what makes them effective at helping to reduce the risk of an ankle sprain.
Types Of Ankle Sprain
In this section, we will briefly describe the various types of ankle sprain. For a more detailed discussion of this injury in general, we encourage you to consult this article.
Inversion/Eversion Ankle Sprains
These sprains are the result of “rolling” the ankle joint either inwards or outwards. If the ankle is rolled inward (an inversion sprain) it causes stress to the ligaments on the inside of the ankle. On the other hand, rolling the joint outwards (an eversion sprain) causes stress to the ligaments on the outer side of the ankle.
If the ankle is rolled past its normal range of motion, the stress can stretch, tear or even completely rupture the ligaments concerned. The result is an ankle sprain of either the inversion or eversion type. In practice, overwhelming majority (around 70% -85%) of ankle sprains are inversion injuries.
High Ankle Sprains
High ankle sprains are injuries that occur mainly to athletes in certain sports such as football, hockey and soccer. Technically speaking, these are injuries not to ankle ligaments. Instead, they involve injuries to the ligaments situated above the ankle and joining the two bones of the lower foot (the fibula and tibia).
Due to their distinct nature, the ankle braces required to help prevent high ankle sprains are different than those designed to reduce the risk of inversion/eversion sprains. You can find additional information about high ankle sprains here.
Ankle Braces That help Prevent Sprains
The BioSkin Trilok has many excellent features designed to reduce the risk of ankle sprains (both inversion and eversion) as well as many other foot and ankle problems (such as plantar fasciitis, for example). It is an example of an ankle support brace that belongs to the “Ankle Brace with Straps” category.
Perhaps the key features of this ankle support include:
- A FootLok strap that can be positioned either medially or laterally. Positioned laterally, this strap can help protect the lateral (outer) ankle ligaments or the peroneal tendons. Used in this way, it will help to prevent eversion ankle sprains. Positioned on the medial side of the foot, it can help provide plantar fasciitis pain relief as well as help to reduce inversion strains.
- A Stirrup strap for added lateral stability of the ankle and extra protection for its ligaments. It is a useful accessory for protecting already injured ankle ligaments and allowing them to heal naturally.
- A low profile design that allows it to easily be worn under athletic footwear during a game or training session.
- Made from BioSkin’s ultra comfortable and patented materials. It is highly breathable, hypoallergenic and both latex and neoprene free.
Due to its versatile design, the BioSkin Trilok is an excellent choice for all round ankle protection against not only ankle sprains but plantar fasciitis, bursitis and even flat feet.
McDavid Ankle Brace / Lace Up with Stays
The Ankle Brace / Lace Up with Stays is another excellent choice of an ankle brace for sprains. Unlike the Trilok, it is an example of a lace up ankle brace.
This ankle support uses a lace up design with reinforced lace eyelets to ensure a secure fit. The laces are augmented with metal stays for additional ligament support.
In addition to its excellent ligament support and protection, this ankle brace is designed to be comfortable to wear. It is made from a breathable two layer polyester/vinyl mesh material that will keep the feet and ankles cool and dry. The ventilated tongue also helps to prevent overheating under the brace even during periods of athletic activity.
We suggest use of this brace when dealing with slight or chronic ankle instability and the need to help prevent either inversion or eversion ankle sprains. It is a good choice for use while playing or training to help prevent a sprain or other ankle injury. The lace design also makes it easy to apply or remove.
Darco Body Armor Sport
This is an example of a rigid ankle brace that uses a stirrup design. Unlike the Trilok and the Ankle Brace / Lace Up with Stays, the Body Armor Sport can help protect both the lower and upper ankle from ligament damage. This upper ankle protection makes it a superior choice (in our view) for helping to prevent high ankle sprains.
However, as a rigid ankle brace, the Body Armor Sport is best suited for treating an existing ankle injury. It can be used either during the acute phase of the injury or in the rehabilitation stage.
McDavid Active Comfort Compression Ankle Sleeve
This is an example of an ankle support that belongs to the ankle sleeve category. It is another great choice for slight but chronic ankle problems like instability or stiffness due to arthritis.
This brace will provide compression due to its 4 way stretch fabric design. However, it will also provide moderate warmth to reduce ankle stiffness and ease the symptoms of arthritis. The warmth will also help to increase the suppleness of ankle ligaments and reduce the risk that they may be torn or overstretched during athletic activity.
In addition to the above features, the Active Comfort Compression Ankle Sleeve is easy to apply and/or remove – just slide it on or off. This is an important factor in ensuring patient compliance and a favourable outcome.
The low profile design of this ankle compression sleeve also allows it to easily fit under athletic or regular footwear with little or no discomfort.
In this article, we have presented 4 ankle braces that help prevent sprains. Although these are all excellent choices, we encourage you to browse our extensive collection of ankle braces and supports to see whether there may be an even better fit for your specific needs.