Sam is a high school student. He likes soccer very much. He plays for his school team. He is a very dedicated player who never misses a single day of practice. But it is unfortunate that he met with an accident while playing on the field yesterday. Thankfully it wasn’t anything serious but he had to put on an ankle brace and his coach instructed him to keep wearing it until his sprain gets better.
Sam has a brother named Charles. Charles is a basketball player. He plays in the point guard position. All the movements he has to make, put a lot of strain on his legs, especially on his ankles. Therefore, often he uses an ankle brace to protect his ankle from a sprain. So, Sam went to his brother Charles for some tips so that he can determine which ankle brace to buy.
Are you facing similar predicaments to Sam? Do you also wish to find an ankle brace that is the most suitable one for you but don’t know how to?
This article is here just for that. We will provide you with step-by-step guidance and suggestions to help you make the most efficient choice to buy the best ankle brace for a sprain.
If you already have the know-how then we advise that you take a look at our recommendations for it is always better to have more options at hand while making a choice. The more you know, the better, right?
What is an ankle brace?
We have been talking about an ankle brace but many of us may not know what an ankle brace is or may have a vague idea. So, without any more delay, let us talk about what an ankle brace is.
An ankle brace is a piece of garment that can be either protective, supportive or both at the same time. It is worn around the ankle to secure your ankle in its place. What it does is that it immobilizes the joint, provides support, and at the same time, protection while providing heat as well as compression to the bones. If you are recovering from an ankle injury, have chronic pain or simply just want to prevent an injury, an ankle brace is the best option for you as it fulfills the requirements while being super comfortable.
Why choose an ankle brace?
Ankle braces can be used in a variety of situations, from everyday activity to sports with high intensity level. If you experience regular ankle pain from tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis or just general pain, an ankle sleeve with primary protection and compression can help soothe pain. When playing sports, an ankle brace is an excellent tool to help prevent future injury or re-aggravate an old injury. Also, when recovering from ankle surgery, ankle braces help to keep the ankle supported and limit movement to aid in the recovery process.
For normal cases, such as prevention from sprains, many may prefer to use the taping method instead of using an ankle brace. Though both ankles taping and wearing an ankle brace during sports can reduce the risk of an ankle sprain but an ankle brace is generally considered the best choice for ankle joint protection. This is because ankle braces are not only thicker but also more durable than tapes, which means more and longer support for the ankle. Sometimes, you may find someone saying “ankle brace hurts my foot”. Most of cases, this happens due to the poor quality ankle braces and for that, you need to know how to choose the best ankle brace for a sprain.
Our top picks for you
Ultra Zoom Ankle Brace for Sprained Ankle
This ankle brace manufactured by Ultra Ankle has a hinge-cuff design.
- Ideal for players and athletic figures.
- Really easy to put on.
- Doesn’t restrict vertical jump or natural range of motion.
- Extra-long durability.
- Separate straps of different sizes are available.
Available in two sizes only
Powerlix Ankle Brace
It is a sleeve-type ankle brace manufactured by Powerlix. It applies equal pressure towards the joint of your leg, thus it helps you prevent strains and other sorts of pain in the ankle. The best part of this brace is it is super light and you can do any of your activities like walking, hill tracking, hiking, running, and playing.
- The special breathable fabric absorbs sweat quickly and keeps your feet dry and odor-free.
- Specialized fabric blend with 4-way stretch capability.
- Special knitted technical design that matches different joints perfectly.
- Significant pain relief from a variety of ailments including sprains, swelling, tendonitis, muscle fatigue, and other ankle pain.
- Has 6-month guarantee
The sizing chart may be a bit challenging.
Mueller Green Adjustable Ankle Support
Ankle braces made by Muller are popular worldwide, especially for athletic purposes. What makes this ankle brace special is that it is made from recycled materials. Even the packaging is recyclable and printed with soy-based inks. This is one of our best pick of the best ankle brace for sprain.
- Latex free.
- You can adjust the ankle brace without removing your shoe.
- Sectional Design helps minimize slippage.
- It has a figure 8 strapping system that not only offers custom support but also controls the level of compression.
Fits women’s shoe size 4 1/2 and men’s size 13
Active Ankle Eclipse II
Another product from the active ankle brace. This model is more fashionable and can be helpful for chronic injury as well. People with heavyweight and need hard work can choose this brace. The multi-point strapping system of this brace can help quick recovery of the sprain and other sorts of injuries on the ankle. It is most popular due to the adjustability, air circulation features. It will help you with both protecting and preventing ankle sprain. So it is also recognized as the best ankle brace after sprain.
Ankle Support Brace
Ankle support brace by Bodyprox is a sleeve type ankle brace that comes with adjustable wraps.
- Made of breathable Neoprene material that retains heat and prevents skin irritation.
- Specially perforated to keep your foot fresh.
- Open heeled design ensures extreme comfort.
- Universal size.
- The straps that come with it make it easier to adjust accordingly.
- Cannot be washed using a washing machine or dry cleaning.
- Compared to other sleeve type braces this one may be hard to put on.
Shock Doctor 849 Ultra Gel Lace Up Ankle Brace
It is a lace up type ankle brace manufactured by the well known Shock Doctor.
- It has internal gel cushions that provide stability, support, and alignment.
- Its lace-up style makes it adjustable to your ankle.
- If offers stability of mid-level as well as support for moderate to major ligament sprains.
- The footbed comes with a silicon gripper pattern that helps against sliping.
- Contains natural rubber latex
ACTIVE ANKLE T2 ANKLE BRACE
One of the best ankle braces provided by Active Ankle would be “Active Ankle T2 Ankle Brace”. It is a rigid type ankle brace that stabilizes the ankle and offers protection and support for the ankle. It is recommended for people with sprained ankle, the best ankle brace for sprain obviously.
- Strengthened brace material.
- EVA custom molded padding that offers 360° protection
- Especially suitable for volleyball players.
- Designed to minimize the risk of injuries that may occur during competitive play.
- The sizing and fitting chart may be unreliable.
Criteria to look out for
Before you choose an ankle brace that is the best for you, it is important to know how to determine if an ankle brace is best for you or not.
Here are the criteria that you need to look into before you choose an ankle brace that is best for you:
- Comfort: The very first thing you should focus on is comfort. Take your time when choosing the product. Observe if the ankle brace restricts your blood circulation. By no means, should it put too much pressure on your ankle?
- Size & fit: You are buying an ankle brace for your ankle. So it is necessary that it fits the respective ankle. If the size is not right then you’ll not be able to use it. While choosing the ankle brace that is best for you should see if it fits for the specific ankle properly. Check to see if the ankle brace varies for right ankle and left ankle. Make sure you don’t end up buying the wrong one.
- Material: You should check the material the ankle brace is made of. Sometimes it may be made of certain materials that you might be allergic to. So, don’t forget to check the material beforehand.
- Durability: You may have to put on the ankle brace for a long period of time or a short period but at the end of the day, when you no longer need to use it, you have to put it off. Continuous putting on and off might cause the ankle brace to tear. So, you have to see if it is durable enough to sustain your needs.
Benefits of Ankle Brace
- Protects your ankle from sprain.
- Supports sprained ankle.
- Reduces the risk of injury or reinjury by holding your ankle in place.
- Assists movements of the ankle and helps regain mobility.
- Compared to other methods, it is easier and safer to wear an ankle brace.
You can read the well-researched article by Harvard University here.
Types of ankle braces
Ankle braces come in different sizes and different types just to make sure that you get the best care you deserve. In general, they are categorized into 3 types:
Ankle Sleeves Ankle Brace:
Ankle sleeve type ankle braces are made keeping general use and protection in mind. Athletes with heavy ankle use look for daily protection that keeps their ankle in place and helps prevent ankle sprain. If it is worn over a normal sock it is barely noticeable. Its lightweight and slim figure doesn’t hinder the play and can even be worn without shoes. The unique braces support the ankle, provide compression, prevent swelling, and increase blood circulation.
Lace-Up Ankle Braces:
Lace-Up type ankle braces provide more rigidity as compared to sleeve type braces. It has either laces, straps oversleeves or both. They are generally lightweight and can be worn inside shoes. Generally, it is preferred by the athletes who are used to tapping provided by the trainers. Unlike tapes that loosen with movements, the laces and straps hold the brace tight and can be adjusted easily as needed. These braces are especially recommended for those who have a history of ankle injuries for lace-up ankle braces to help stabilize your ankle to prevent sprains.
Rigid Ankle Braces:
Rigid type ankle braces offer maximum ankle protection. It’s thicker than lace up braces normally. It’s designed in such a way to treat severe cases of ankle sprain and injuries. The purpose of this brace is to immobilize the ankle and allow it to heal properly, not allowing the user to hamper the rehabilitation process in any way. Yet it ensures comfort all the same.
Ankle Sprain: Types of Ankle Sprain
Before we go any further it is very important that you understand what a sprain is and exactly what type of sprain you are suffering from.
To understand what an ankle sprain is properly, we must first understand what ligaments are. Ligaments are a short band of tough, flexible fibrous connective tissue that connects two bones or cartilages or holds together a joint. Ankle sprain refers to tear or stretching of ligaments. Sprains most often happen on the lateral side of the ankle when you roll your foot that is when the bones in your ankles joints are shifted in an unnatural way. In turn, it causes the lateral ligaments of your ankle to stretch more than it is able to, resulting in a sprain.
Let’s use a simple example to understand it better. Think of a hair tie. What does it do? It binds your hair together. Similarly, ankle ligaments hold the bones of your ankle joint together yet, they allow some movements. Be careful not to make too much movement and end up with a sprain.
Sports include different types of games and games include a lot of running and jumping which increases the chances of sprain. However, accidents happen and you can trip over a block or simply, step in the wrong way.
Ankle sprains are categorized into 3 degrees generally.
- Ankle sprain of first degree: refers to the situation where the ligaments get stretched and not torn. The ankle might feel sore and may get a bit swollen.
- Ankle sprain of second degree refers to the situation where the ligaments get torn slightly. The pain goes on continuously and swelling might occur. Internal bleeding might cause bruising.
- Ankle sprain of third-degree refers to the situation where the ligaments get torn completely. It causes tremendous pain and swelling and bruising are quite common..
Statistical reports show that 85 percent of all ankle sprains are of the first degree. Therefore, most braces are designed to prevent ankle sprains of the first degree. Ankle sprains of second and third-degree are less common. Nonetheless, ankle braces restrict the range of motion to prevent, support and heal injury. So, before choosing the best ankle brace for sprain, first, you need to identify the type of sprain and some other things like that.
How long do I need to wear a brace for a sprained ankle?
You should only wear an ankle brace for as long as you need it. After your sprain has healed, you shouldn’t wear it anymore as your ankle may not need that amount of protection any longer and it may lead to other complications. If necessary, you can consider wearing a sleeve type ankle brace that is more suitable for a day to day use.
Is it okay if I exercise wearing an ankle brace?
That will depend on the type of ankle brace you are wearing. Some ankle braces focus on being supportive, some are protective while others are a combination of both. They vary from being light-weight to rigid. Depending on how much mobility is allowed by your ankle brace, you can probably exercise. However, the sprain level is high and you have to wear a rigid ankle brace. It is best if you refrain from exercising unless told otherwise by your doctor.
How to care for my ankle brace?
It is necessary that you take care of your ankle brace. You should air it as much as possible when you are not wearing them. If you want to wash it, make sure you follow the instructions provided with the product and not a method unsuitable for it.
Should an ankle brace be tight?
While buying an ankle brace the first thing you should look out for is comfort. So an ankle brace can by no means compress your ankle to such a level that you cannot bear it. An ankle brace should be tight enough to restrict your motions. But it cannot be so tight that it cuts off your blood circulation.
Should/Can you massage a sprained ankle?
You can massage your ankle, if it is allowed by your doctor. However, make sure not to overdo it because you need your sprain to heal and you do not want it to worsen.
How should you sleep with a sprained ankle?
It is often seen that when you sprain your ankle, there is some swelling noticeable in your ankle. If you elevate your ankle, it will drain the fluids within which, in turn, will prevent unwanted swelling of the ankle. So it is for the best if you place a pillow or some kind of support under the respective ankle to help elevate it before going to sleep. Applying some ice on the injured area before going to bed will work against the inflammation and help reduce it.
Is there a difference between an ankle that is rolled and an ankle that is sprained?
It might seem surprising but rolled ankle and sprained ankle means the same. Rolling refers to the unnatural movements in the ankle joints that lead to sprain. Hence, they are one and the same.
how to wear an ankle brace with shoes
For that you need to follow several steps. First you need to raise/lift the insole of your shoes, then place the bottom part of the ankle brace at the beneath part of your shoes.A little problem is you can’t take off your shoes easily like the normal one.
Should I sleep with ankle compression?
Physicians recommend not to wear ankle brace while sleeping. It sometimes stuck the normal blood circulation of your leg. But elevating the brace may become helpful if you extremely need to wear this while sleeping.
how to wear ankle support with socks
This is quite simple. You may have lots of recommendations and guidelines to wear ankle support with socks. But you simply and wear it over your socks just in the same way to wear it without socks.
You are cordially invited to read our epic article on fitness items