What Does an Ankle brace do ? Which is the best Ankle brace?
When it comes to elite sports, ankle injuries are the some of the most common occurrences. The ankle injury can go from acute to chronic, depending on its severity. An acute injury, for instance, will consist of broken bones and sprained ligaments, while a chronic injury was developed over time due to repeated use. This is why people often use an athletic ankle brace to treat these kinds of injuries.
What Does an Ankle Brace Do?
As mentioned, there are several injuries that you can keep in check with certain types of ankle brace, providing your ankle an extra edge of support and stability. These injuries can be fractures, sprains, tendonitis, and these accessories will offer you exactly what you need. The braces are grouped into several categories so that you will pick the best one for you.
So what kind of ankle brace do you need? Here are the main categories:
- Low-level Ankle Brace – This one is a soft ankle brace usually made from elastic and Neoprene. Athletes wear these braces to deal with minor ankle pain or to act as a sports first aid in case of an injury.
- Medium-level Ankle Brace – These are generally lace-up, thin ankle braces that are used in case of sprains or mild to moderate ligament injuries.
- High-Level Ankle Brace – These contain rigid stays and splints used to keep the ankle in a correct position in the case of a moderate to a more severe ankle injury.
Depending on the severity of the injury, you may have to wear the ankle braces for a few weeks to a couple of months. The more severe the injury, the more you’ll have to keep it on. As the ankle heals and the pain goes away, you can switch from a high to a low-level ankle brace.
When and How to Wear an Ankle Brace
A regular soft ankle brace should fit with no problems on the inside of the shoe, like a sock (preferably, wear sneakers, since they are softer). Depending on how thick the ankle brace is, you can loosen up the laces in order to make them fit.
A supportive brace is perfect if you have a bad ankle prone to injuries, especially if you tend to run a lot of marathons. However, there is a time and place to wear these braces, depending on the outcome that you want.
For example, a lace-up ankle brace will provide a good amount of support when it comes to ankle injuries, but it will also restrict the movement of your foot. Since it will not be as easy to flex your ankle, it will be much harder to pick up speed.
Therefore, you will have to choose what your priority is: speed or support? If you are a jogger looking for a workout, then you should definitely go for a good compression ankle brace. On the other hand, if speed is an issue and you are running a marathon, you may want to go sans ankle brace or with one that is not as constrictive.
As a basketball player, you will need something that is neither soft nor hard. Since you will be jumping around a lot, a soft ankle brace will not be of much use to you unless your pain goes from minor to none. On the other hand, a high-level ankle brace will restrict your movement too much, decreasing your speed. In this case, a medium-level ankle brace might be your best bet; however, if you are confident that you can score without being Speedy Gonzales, then you may opt for high-level ankle braces as well.
Best Ankle Brace Choices In 2018
You know what you should be looking for in the best ankle brace; now let’s see some of the most popular choices that athletes around the world use. Regardless if you’re a jogger, marathon runner or basketball player, these are some choices that many people swore upon.
1. Shock Doctor Ultra Gel Lace Ankle Support
This Shock Doctor model is the best ankle brace out there due to the fact that it provides support for major sprains. It’s categorized as a high-level ankle brace, and it’s a perfect choice if your joints are unstable. It provides excellent lateral and medial support, and the soft padding makes it a very comfortable choice. The antimicrobial technology will also help to keep the foot cool and fresh, preventing the accumulation of odor and bacteria.
2. Aircast A60 Ankle Support Brace
This ankle brace is one of the best options if you’re looking for something that is both cheap and efficient. Despite the fact that it is relatively low-cost, it still offers maximum comfort and protection, and overall, the best ankle support that such an accessory can give. This medium-level ankle brace comes with side padding and a strap that offers a better fixation. It is also a fairly thin and light model, which makes the ankle brace breathable and easy to fit in any kind of shoe.
3. McDavid Classic Lightweight Ankle Brace
McDavid is pretty popular among sports enthusiasts due to the fact that they provide high-quality ankle braces that are comfortable and effective as well. This particular lace-up ankle brace is a level three when it comes to protection, being suitable for those that have sustained a more severe injury. The lace-up design is not only stylish, but it’s also practical since you can tighten it to get the perfect fit.
4. CompressionZ Ankle Sleeve
Although a sleeve isn’t technically an ankle brace through and through, it can still provide low-level support and warmth. These will help improve blood circulation as well as induce a faster muscle recovery.
5. McDavid 195 Deluxe Ankle Brace with Strap
A perfect choice for runners everywhere, this is definitely what you’d call the best ankle brace for running. Sporting a protective collar and a criss-cross system, these are very comfortable and protective just as they are durable and light.
6. Bracoo Breathable Neoprene Ankle Support
This model is perfect if you are looking for the best ankle brace for basketball, but you’re tight on the budget. Made with an elastic build, it provides a medium-level support while you play, preventing your foot from sustaining any injuries but also allowing you to move and flex your foot comfortably.
7. ASO Ankle Stabilizing Orthosis
Popular with trainers all around the world, this is the best ankle for sprain prevention that you can purchase on a relatively small budget. It has natural stabilizing straps that will keep your ankle in place, providing it strength and support in case of an injury.
8. Ossur Form Fit Ankle Brace
If you find yourself in a position where you need maximum support, the Ossur model is definitely the right choice for you. Advertised as one of the best basketball ankle braces, it will offer you free movement while still keeping your ankles protected during long exercise sessions.
An athletic ankle brace should keep your ankles snug and tight while still allowing a certain degree of movement. Even though all models may look different, they must have two features in common: they should be comfortable as well as supportive.