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?
Where a classic ankle injury is caused when the ankle turns inward, or rolls inward, a high ankle injury can occur when the ankle and lower leg twists excessively outward. Alternatively, a high ankle injury can occur if there is an excessive force on the ankle when the toes are pointing up. Unlike a classic ankle injury, a high ankle sprain is not to the ligaments surrounding and supporting the ankle, but to the tissue and ligaments that hold the lower leg bones, the tibia and fibula, together (hence the “high”).
Athletes with a high ankle injury will most likely complain of pain in the upper ankle and shin region. If an athlete believes they have a high ankle injury, they should cease activity immediately and get a quick evaluation by an athletic trainer or other medical professional. Since athletes with a high ankle injury are typically out twice as long as someone who suffers a classic or low ankle injury, it’s important to not make the injury worse by continuing activities.
Once evaluated, the sports medicine professional will most likely prescribe the common RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) for recovery as well as recommend an ankle brace designed specifically to treat a high ankle injury versus a low ankle injury.
Since the high ankle injury is typically caused by ankle rotation, it’s important to wear an ankle brace that is going to restrict excessive rotation during recovery. The only braces to effectivelyrestrict excessive ankle rotation utilize a “hinged-cuff” design where the cuff is the section above the ankle that connects the inside of the brace to the outside of the brace with a rigid connection. This connection combined with a semi-rigid stirrup that goes under the foot creates the stability necessary in both the vertical and horizontal plane to restrict excessive ankle rotation.
Here at Ultra Ankle® we designed two advanced ankle braces with hinged-cuff technology that are prescribed by sports medicine professionals specifically for high ankle injuries. The Ultra High-5 (pictured) is a great sports ankle brace designed to treat both high and low ankle injuries, while the Ultra CTS ankle brace is designed to treat both high and low acute ankle injuries. Both braces will also unload the ankle which reduces weight bearing pain allowing athletes to return to competition quicker and safer.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a high ankle injury, have reoccurring ankle injuries, or an acute injury and are interested more in hearing about how our ankle braces can help you get back in the game – send our certified athletic trainer a message. We’d be happy to talk through your injuries and see if our technology would be right for you.
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.