Athletes, whether amateurs or professionals, often face episodic or repetitive pain. Among the main injuries they typically face are ankle sprains. These can have several levels of severity. Either way, the ankle brace is designed to help prevent or treat this type of injury as much as possible. This is an accessory that many athletes wear to exercise their activities. When should you wear an ankle brace to exercise? Which ankle braces are suitable for sports activities and how to choose them?
When to wear an ankle brace for sports?
The ankle brace is a bandage whose function is to protect the ankle. You can use it in various situations.
Wear an ankle brace to prevent injury
Wearing the ankle brace is a habit among athletes who regularly practice their activity. As a precaution, you can therefore wear an ankle brace for prevent the occurrence of a sprained ankle. If you have suffered an injury such as tearing of the fibers of the lateral ligaments of the ankle in the past, this bandage can be very useful for you. Wearing sports ankle braces does not always prevent injury, but it does all the same reduces the risks during sporting activity.
Wearing an ankle brace after an injury
You can wear sports ankle braces after having suffered a mild or minimal sprain. Ankle injuries that do not require surgery can be treated to some extent thanks to the wearing of a suitable bandage. The latter serves to reduce the amplitude of the pain. The use of a bandage makes it possible to resume activity after a stop and to adapt the ankle again to the effort. This is a good way to limit the risk of over-injury. The sports ankle brace is therefore also to wear as part of a re-education to sports practice.
Wear an ankle brace to prevent relapse
Relapse of ankle injuries is common among athletes. One of the solutions to avoid it is to wear sports ankle braces. It is also the fear of relapse that leads many athletes to put on this bandage. The ankle brace therefore plays a role on the psychological level Also. Protective accessory, it reassures you and allows you to indulge in your sports sessions without fear of injuring yourself again in the same place.
What are the different types of ankle braces to wear for sports?
Sports ankle braces are available in several types, each playing a specific role for the ankles.
The proprioceptive ankle brace
The proprioceptive ankle brace is a bandage that maintains the joint through compression. It is flexible, elastic and promotes stabilization by proprioception, that is to say by stimulating the sensory receptors surrounding the ankle. The proprioceptive ankle brace can be worn for the prevention of ankle torsion and as part of the resumption of sports activity. Remember that a large sprain can cause irreversible damage to the ligaments. In this case, wearing a support bandage will be essential for playing sports, since it improves proprioception and compensates for damaged ligaments.
The ligament ankle brace
The ligament ankle brace is very useful when you want to resume sport after a period of immobilization of 3 to 7 days due to a minor sprain. It is therefore indicated if you experience slight pain in the ankle. It can also be used in cases of ligament stretching, ankle instability or swelling. It is a bandage which acts by compression on the lateral ligaments to relieve pain and reduce edema. You must wear a ligament ankle brace throughout the adjustment period following a slight sprain.
The stabilizing ankle brace
The stabilizing splint is also part of the sports ankle braces. In the event of elongation of the ligaments, pain or edema in the ankle, it is necessary to mark a period of relative immobilization which can range from 4 to 6 weeks. To speed up healing, it is therefore advisable to wear the stabilizing ankle brace in order to strengthen the lateral ligaments. This bandage offers the advantage of not completely immobilizing the ankle. So you can put it to good use during the recovery, all the more if you do a pivot sport such as tennis, soccer, volleyball, basketball, etc.
How to choose an ankle brace for playing sports?
The types of ankle braces mentioned above are useful for the good practice of sporting activity. However, to take advantage of it, you must choose the right bandage by taking into account several criteria.
The severity of the sprain
The choice of your sports ankle brace should not be done in an approximate way. You must make your choice depending on the severity of the injury. Depending on the extent of ankle pain or swelling, some ankle braces will work better for you than others. If you want to wear a bandage for the purpose of preventing injury, you need to take your history into account. In general, the proprioceptive ankle brace is indicated for prevention, while the ligament ankle brace and the stabilizing ankle brace are suitable for resuming your sporting activity.
The type of sport
To choose the right sports ankle braces, also take into account the activity you are doing. The point is, not all sports strain the ankle in the same way and with the same intensity. It exists ankle braces designed for all sports. Likewise, bandages intended for certain disciplines in particular are available in sports departments. So you can find ankle braces for team sports, contact sports, hiking, running, etc.
The characteristics of the ankle brace
To buy effective sports ankle braces, you need to pay attention to their characteristics. These bandages are made of various materials. For sporting activity, the best are those produced thanks to the assembly of two urethane layers, which assembly results in a very resistant, flexible, thin and rigid film. Ankle braces designed using a compression-fusion urethane process hug the ankles and are comfortable. In addition to the material of manufacture, choose your bandage in the right size. The ankle braces are available in size:
- S (26-29 cm)
- M (29-32cm)
- L (32-35cm)
- XL (35-38cm), etc.
If your heel measurement is between two sizes, choose the one that provides the most comfort, the larger size.
Finally, let us point out that the support or proprioceptive ankle brace can be worn simply like a sock. Regarding the ligament ankle brace, once worn like a sock, it is fixed by retaining straps. As for the stabilizing ankle brace, it can be worn next to the skin or over a sock.