What is an ankle brace?
An ankle brace is a device which is placed around and fastened to an ankle, providing it with additional support in order to aid with rehabilitation and prevent injury. Ankle sprains are on of the common injuries in sports, and as such the prevention of ankle injuries, and the rehabilitation of injured ankles is extremely important to athletes. While taping is a common practice to give stability to weak joints, or joints under heavy stress, bracing provides an additional level of stability for those with extra stability needs.
Using an ankle brace
An ankle brace usually consist of a small sleeve in which the foot can be placed that extends from the middle of the foot to the lower calf. Braces often have laces like shoes in order to tighten them up to provide stability, as well as nylon straps fastened down by Velcro. Ankle braces can come in both non rigid and semirigid forms. Non rigid braces only consist of flexible materials which are bound tightly around the ankle to provide support. Semirigid braces contain both flexible materials, as well as rigid materials like plastic, which act as the struts of a splint in order to provide extra protection against injury. By surrounding the ankle with taught fabric, straps, and plastic, it reduces the chance that the ankle joint will roll and hyper extend too far to one side or the other, reducing the chance of sprains.
While braces are an important part of protecting ankles, they are often used in response to an ankle injury or problem ankle. In order to avoid ankle injury and protect ankles that have already been injured, bracing the ankle naturally, with the muscles and tendons of the body is important. Doing regular ankle strengthening and range of motion exercises helps keep ankles bound tightly in place and reduces the change that they will get injured. Calf raises, and spelling the alphabet repeatedly with the toes are two good ways to increase ankle strength and prevent injury.