When it comes to ankle bracing, specifically preventative ankle bracing, the goal should be to allow as much free ROM as possible while restricting excessive movement that causes injury. It’s the same with preventative knee bracing. Performance bracing means “Support” with “Mobility.” As an ATC you get what you want, “support” and the athlete gets what they want, “mobility.”
When evaluating a preventative ankle brace to use on your athletes in sports like basketball, volleyball and other high ankle injury sports, keep the “Performance Bracing” concept in mind. What runs contrary to the Performance Bracing concept is any brace that restricts normal non-injury ROM. Can you think of an ankle brace that restricts normal ROM? There are a lot of those types of ankle braces on the market. Think about it, lace-up style ankle braces restrict normal ROM. Any brace, whether ankle, knee or elbow that restricts normal non-injury ROM will lose support rapidly because the brace works against normal ROM. However when a brace moves with normal joint ROM it stays securely in place, maintaining long lasting support. Would you use a lace-up KNEE brace on your athlete? Then why would you want that same performance restricting design on your ankle?
Now I know what you’re saying, you understand that lace-ups restrict normal ROM and lose support rapidly, but athletes won’t wear bulky rigid plastic ankle braces for prevention, even though they allow full ROM providing long lasting support. At Ultra Ankle® we know that challenge, and we did something about it. We developed an entirely new type of ankle brace technology for prevention. We combined a hinged-cuff technology design (because it restricts excessive inversion and rotation while allowing full ROM) with a thermoplastic “soft shell” technology. The flexible “soft shell” we call Performathane® uses body heat to form or custom-fit to the ankle. The result is a comfortable, low profile, tight fitting ankle brace that provides full range of motion for long lasting support. A Performance ankle brace we call the Ultra Zoom®. Click the following link to discover more about performance ankle bracing www.ultraankle.com/ultra-zoom.
Written by Rick Peters
Rick Peters is a Certified Athletic Trainer who has been advancing ankle bracing technology for three decades. Peters patented his first ankle brace in 1985, revolutionizing the industry by adding a hinge to traditional stirrup braces for greater mobility. In 1989 he was a founder and became President of Active Ankle Systems. In 1998 he co-founded Ultra Athlete LLC to develop the next generation of ankle bracing technology. Peters has 18 ankle brace patents and is considered an authority on ankle bracing technology worldwide.