Why do i wear ankle braces
So you just sprained your ankle and you've started your RICE regiment. Healing ankle ligaments can take up to six weeks. You need to stabilize the ankle as it heals. The best way to stabilize your ankle is to use an ankle brace. The brace will provide support for the injury. Braces can be worn to support the ankle and allow you to carry weight in the event of an injury. Braces are the most popular treatment to help relieve pressure on the healing ankle tissue.
If the ankle ligaments don't heal as properly as I do, it will eventually lead to an unstable ankle. This can cause the ankle to give way on uneven terrain. Many people with unstable ankles have weaker muscles in the legs and outside of the ankle. Wearing a brace will help support these muscles and ankles, which are now more prone to injury.
If you're reading this, chances are you've hurt your ankle once, or in my case multiple times. I have injured both ankles several times. My injury happened at a few different events, the first was playing basketball in high school and it was pretty serious. The last time I injured my ankle badly was walking down the street and stepping down the sidewalk. Part of the treatment is wearing a brace each time it occurs. I have worn multiple braces during my recovery. This lets us know what kind of brace you should buy for your specific ankle injury.
How to Sprain Your Ankle
Any movement that suddenly twists the foot beyond its natural range of motion can lead to an ankle sprain, such as:
- Landing error while jumping or running
- on the wrong side of the road
- slips on slippery surfaces
- tripped over a hole in the ground
What happened to the ankle
When the ankle is sprained, the ankle bone itself is not injured. It is the ligaments around the ankle bone that are injured. Ligaments are structures in each joint of the body that help control the movement of the joints. If the ligament is stretched too far, the ligament can be injured and can result in a partial or complete tear. There are two different types of ankle sprains:
Inversion ankle sprains are the most common type of sprain and occur when the foot steps inward and the external ligaments are overstretched. The pain occurs on the outside of the ankle, not the inside of the ankle.
A valgus ankle sprain occurs when the foot twists outward and the inner ligaments are stretched too far. The pain will be on the inside of the ankle, not the outside.
No matter what type of ankle sprain you have, you will most likely need a brace to help stabilize the joint and ligaments.
Ankle braces help and protect your ankles. Ankle braces are made of elastic or rigid fabric with metal or plastic support. Some ankle braces are pulled on, while others are tied or use velcro straps. Those that offer the least protection are pull-on braces without reinforcement. The pull brace type is used for compression and helps reduce inflammation and swelling after an ankle injury. Use a more supportive ankle brace that uses reinforcements on both sides of the ankle after an injury or to prevent further injury.
The type of ankle brace you need depends on the severity of your ankle sprain. Ankle braces are divided into three categories:
Mild or Lightweight Ankle Brace - for first degree or mild sprains
- Moderate or Moderate Braces - For Level 2 or those who are more active in lateral movements that require support. These modest braces can also be used as a preventive measure against re-injury to the ankle.
- Maximum Support Brace - These braces are used for third degree, most severe sprains, and ankle instability. They can also be used as a preventative measure to prevent your first sprain while participating in strenuous activities.
There are many types of ankle braces, here is a brief description of each type:
Lace Up Supports – These types of braces are typically designed for athletes who need confidence and support during your sport. They can be easily put on and taken off with the footwear.
- Daily Use or Light Support - These types of braces are used by people like me who suffer from chronic instability and need light support as we go about our daily activities. Sometimes a compression sleeve can provide the required support.
- Moderate/Maximum Support - These are similar to laces and provide stability and support for those who may have injured their ankle more than once. Some people have semi-rigid shells on their ankles to prevent further injury.
- Boots - Boots are semi-rigid shells to keep the ankle strong and stable. When you walk, they take pressure off your feet to help speed recovery. These are usually only used after more serious grade III sprains, fractures, or surgery.
The ankle brace should be tight enough to support your foot, but your skin should not overflow the brace or be so tight that you lose circulation or discolor your skin.
If you use an ankle brace to prevent injury, you will need to wear the brace for any activity that exposes your ankle to any lateral movement. Such as tennis, basketball, volleyball and other sports. If you use an ankle brace for rehabilitation or therapy, you should wear the brace during any daily activities to improve stability and prevent re-injury. I tend to have my braces on when my ankle hurts again or when I might be trying an activity that could have caused the injury. I even wear a gentle support brace on a regular basis to support my ankle and increase circulation to help with pain.