In recent years, braces have become a popular treatment for common foot injuries, such as sprains, chronic ankle instability, and stress fractures.
Braces hold joints/ligaments in place, limit your range of motion, and provide therapeutic warmth/compression during physical activity.
Additionally, according to the researchers, braces can "prevent ankle sprains in previously injured players." But the question is how to put on the ankle brace, right?
#1 Determine Your Ankle Brace Type
Braces come in different types, such as soft (ankle braces), semi-rigid (laced or hinged), and rigid. The type of brace depends on your health and how much compression/restriction you need.
For mild swelling/minor sprains, the elastic sleeve is sufficient to provide adequate comfort, compression and foot stability.
On the other hand, semi-rigid and rigid braces are used in moderate situations when you have to keep the ankle from rolling and keep the ankle joint stable.
These braces are a little tricky to put on because they have straps/laces. But it's easy to learn how to wear them.
#2 Read the product description
We will give you general guidance on how to put on the ankle strap/brace, but we cannot cover all available models.
This is why we recommend that you read the product information and instructions provided by the manufacturer. They will show you how to use the brace properly and avoid further injury.
#3 Consider if you’re going to wear socks
Some manufacturers recommend wearing socks over the stand for better compression and insulation. Others recommend wearing athletic socks under the brace.
In general, high-quality ankle braces are made of breathable materials, such as nylon, to prevent skin irritation and ensure proper airflow.
Therefore, they should not cause any discomfort or excessive sweating. But if you feel uncomfortable, you can wear thin socks under the brace for extra foot protection.
#4 Unpack the curly braces
Semi-rigid and rigid braces have a combination of Velcro straps and shoelaces, usually two straps on the sides, one in the middle, and shoelaces.
Unfasten all Velcro and loosen the adjustable laces to fit your foot in the holder. Then find a comfortable place to place your feet so you can use the stand.
On the other hand, the sleeves have no laces/straps. All you need to do is slip the ankle sleeve over your foot, put on your shoes, and start your daily activities.
#5 Slide Your Feet
Slide your foot into the boot portion of the brace and check where the brace's tongue is. It should be at the top of the foot, between the skin and the laces.
Keep the injured ankle at a 90-degree angle. Then put the laces on and tighten, just like you would put on a boot.
Follow the steps below to apply Velcro:
- Take the inner strap and thread it across the top of your foot and under your heel. Then, pin it on the other side of the ankle.
- Do the same with the outer straps.
- Check that the straps are tight but not tight enough to cut off blood flow. Readjust if necessary.
- Slide the middle strap over the two Velcro straps and the laces.
- Depending on your daily activities, you may need to adjust the tension from time to time.
- If you're using an adjustable ankle brace with Velcro, follow the steps above to cross the straps.
Keep in mind that AFO braces are designed differently than your regular ankle braces/ankle braces. But the best AFO braces are easy to put on and follow pretty much the same steps.
#7 Put on your shoes
After adjusting the stand for a snug fit, use the stand to slide your foot into the shoe. Be careful not to loosen the stand during this process. Use a shoehorn if necessary.
If you are an elderly patient, consider having someone assist you with the braces/shoes. While the best ankle braces for seniors don't have complicated laces, they can be difficult to tie.
#8 Ask an Expert
It may take a few days for you to notice improvement in symptoms or pain relief when you wear the brace. But if you notice severe swelling, numbness, or pain, you should talk to your doctor.
Check out this video for a quick recap:
Should you wear an ankle brace for a sprained ankle?
Ankle sprains are a common injury that can usually be treated at home with rest, ice, and elevation.
However, in some cases, ankle braces may also be recommended.
While there is some debate as to whether ankle braces actually speed up the healing process, there are several benefits to wearing ankle braces.
First, ankle braces can help stabilize the joint and reduce pain. Additionally, it can help prevent further injury by providing support and limiting range of motion.
Finally, ankle braces can also be used as a preventive measure for those with vulnerable ankles.
For example, an athlete or someone with a previous ankle sprain may choose to wear an ankle brace to help avoid re-injury.
Overall, wearing an ankle brace is a personal decision and should be based on the severity of the injury and the advice of a healthcare professional.
So what other injuries can you wear an ankle brace for?
When do I need an ankle brace?
Now that you know how to put on an ankle brace, let's talk about when you should consider wearing a brace.
Sprains are the most common type of acute ankle injury. During a sprain, your foot moves into an unnatural position, causing the soft tissues (ligaments) to stretch or tear.
Healing time will vary, depending on the severity of the injury, but the brace can keep the ankle safe while it heals and reduce severe swelling, inflammation, and pain.
#2 Chronic Instability
If the sprain does not heal well or you have multiple sprains, you may develop chronic ankle instability. You need a stand to keep your feet from rolling/turning to one side.
#3 Stress Fractures
Stress fractures of the ankle joint are often caused by repetitive activities and overuse. These are tiny cracks in the bone that cause pain and tenderness.
#4 Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes. Compression stents can reduce swelling and aid in injury recovery.
#5 Achilles Tendonitis
Repetitive motion and overuse can also damage your Achilles tendon, which connects your heel bone to your calf muscles.
Severe cases of Achilles tendinitis can tear the ligaments, but braces can reduce ankle strain and pain.
5 Tips on How to Wear an Ankle Brace
Besides knowing how to put on the stand, there are a few other things you should keep in mind to make sure you use it properly.
#1 Get the right size bracket
To do its job well, the ankle brace should be comfortable and not too tight to cut off your circulation. This is why you should choose the right size for your feet.
Always measure your foot according to the manufacturer's instructions for an accurate fit. If you are between two numbers, choose the smaller size. You can also watch this video.
#2 Don’t forget to clean your braces
Even if your stand is made of breathable material, sooner or later you will have to clean it. Otherwise, it can hold bacteria and smell bad.
In general, you can wash any stand without metal parts or wipe the plastic/metal stand with a damp cloth.
#3 Choose the right shoes
You should not wear some braces without shoes because it increases the risk of injury. But not all shoes do, as tight shoes can hinder your quick recovery.
Usually, experts recommend sneakers with laces because you can tighten/untwist them until you have a comfortable range of motion. But any shoelace made of elastic material is a good choice.
Avoid high heels or any other shoes that can cause pain. It's also a good idea to size up to make sure the shoes aren't too tight.
#4 Take it easy
Regardless of your injury type, you should relax for a few days to give your foot a chance to heal before returning to normal activities.
A brace can reduce your discomfort during activities, but that doesn't mean you should run around with a sprained ankle.
#5 Don’t Overwear Your Braces
You should not wear your brace longer than necessary. The brace limits the normal range of motion. Therefore, if used improperly, it can weaken the ligament and cause chronic instability.
If you are an athlete, you may need to wear a brace during physical activity to prevent future injuries. Fortunately, the study also determined that braces "do not affect performance, speed or agility."
Should I wear socks on my sprained ankle?
If you have a sprained ankle, you may be wondering if you should wear socks over it. The answer depends on the severity of the injury.
For minor sprains, wrapping the ankle with an Ace bandage or wearing compression stockings can help reduce swelling and support the joint.
However, if you have a more serious sprain, be sure to see your doctor.
They may recommend wearing a splint or brace to stabilize the ankle and prevent further injury.
In either case, it's important to avoid prolonged walking or standing that puts too much stress on the joints.
So if you feel pain or swelling in your ankle, it's important to take it easy and seek medical attention if needed.
How to put on an ankle brace FAQ
Most braces should be worn under socks for maximum pressure and pain relief. However, if you are uncomfortable, you can wear sports socks under the stand.
Should I wear ankle braces all day?
In general, you should wear a brace during your daily activities to keep your ankle stable and prevent further injury to the affected area.
But you shouldn't overuse the brace, as it can weaken your ligaments and joints in the long run. Instead, ask a specialist how long you should wear the brace.
You should not wear a brace in bed unless you have a chronic medical condition that requires a brace or your healthcare provider recommends it.
Ankle braces are a great way to reduce ankle pain and provide extra stability to your feet. Most braces are relatively inexpensive, and once you get the hang of them, they are easy to put on/off.
Remember to talk to your doctor if you're not sure whether a brace should be used to aid the healing process.