As an athletic trainer I attend numerous sporting events and the number one question I get from parents, coaches, and athletes is “Do ankle braces weaken the ankle?” In some sports with a very high incidence of ankle injuries such as volleyball, basketball, and football many players wear ankle braces every game and practice to help prevent ankle sprains or lessen the severity should an injury occur. By wearing ankle braces on both ankles throughout an entire season, it makes sense that parents, coaches, and players would wonder if there was any negative impact on ankle strength.
Unlike most other sports, where a player’s hands are important, choosing the right ankle brace for soccer is much more critical due to soccer players primarily utilizing their ankles and feet during play.
brace takes away his touch on the ball and/or restricts his natural range of motion. The same goes for soccer players who rely on their ankle and foot to control the soccer ball, which is what makes choosing a soccer ankle brace difficult and frustrating.
Have you ever thought about the fact that while knee bracing keeps advancing in terms of design and materials, ankle bracing advancement is stagnant? The only difference between the first lace-up (which was introduced over a century ago) and the lace-ups of today is a figure-8 strap has been added.
With 25,000 ankle injuries happening a day in the U.S. there are a lot of people looking for a solution for their ankle injury or chronic ankle instability. Unfortunately, ankle bracing is something that people are not well educated on or have heard misconceptions about through the grapevine over the years. The Certified Athletic Trainers here at Ultra Ankle strive to provide the best ankle bracing solution to each customer based on their specific needs and we hope to do that through education, providing research, and answering any questions about ankle bracing that athletes, parents, or coaches may have.
As the former president of Active Ankle® and current president of Ultra Ankle®, I’ve been designing, developing and advancing ankle bracing technology for over 35 years. In my experience of designing ankle braces, there is one thing I am sure of: there is a lot of misinformation being circulated about ankle braces and their effect on the body and athletic performance. Here is a breakdown of the most popular myths I commonly hear about ankle braces and what my answers to those questions as a certified athletic trainer are:
We hear all about it on TV and sports radio – the dreaded high ankle injury and how long we can expect the athlete will be on the sidelines compared to a regular ankle injury. But what is a high ankle injury and how does it happen? Why are high ankle injuries so much more difficult to treat?
When it comes to product innovation, many times a product cannot advance until new materials or manufacturing methods are invented and/or advanced. This is certainly true for ankle bracing, as the technologies that were developed for the Ultra Zoom® ankle brace from Ultra Ankle® did not exist until they were specifically designed, tested, and proven to help prevent ankle injuries better than any other brace on the market.
The Ultra Zoom® ankle brace from Ultra Ankle® is a one of a kind ankle brace in terms of design and technology due to it’s patented flexible Performathane® soft shell, custom PerformaFit® 3D padding system, and durable hinged-cuff design – three features you will not find on any other brace.
As a high impact sport, football players wear more protective gear than many other athletes. Players must protect themselves from injury by wearing the most advanced equipment from state-of-the art helmets, to breathable pads, all the way down to advanced ankle braces. Since the responsibility of each athlete varies greatly from position to position, some players are at a higher risk of ankle injuries and should be especially concerned with which ankle brace is best for football.
“Which volleyball ankle brace should I choose?”
That’s the question I hear all of the time as an athletic trainer with over 30 years of experience specializing in ankle injuries and ankle injury prevention. For as common as ankle injuries are in today’s sports (over 25,000 ankle injuries occur each day in the U.S.), it surprises me that there isn't more available information about which ankle brace is the most effective for the various sports and athletes.