There are three types of ankle sprains; high, medial and lateral that people suffer from. Among them, lateral ankle sprains are those that occur most frequently. According to statistics obtained recently, as much as 85% of all ankle sprains turn out to be lateral sprains. Medical practitioners commonly refer to this type as an outside sprain of the ankle.
The majority of the ankle braces available in retail settings are designed for preventing an outside sprain and or to provide support while healing this type of sprain. By limiting the ankle’s range of motion, braces can prevent any further injury while providing comfortable support for what is usually a painful condition.
Before our discussion of the different types of medical supports available for the ankle, note that you that you can purchase low-end, inexpensive braces at any commercial store that offers sporting goods. Be aware though, if you are looking for high-end, medical grade ankle braces, you will either need to contact a reputable medical supply or place your order online.
Types of Ankle Braces
Lace-up units: These are semi rigid units made using a specially formulated nylon-vinyl material. The most prominent feature of this unit is that you will be able to tighten it according to you own comfort level. The semi-rigid design of the unit makes it much more flexible compared to the rigid braces available on the market. You can use the lace-up braces as prophylactics, or in other words, to prevent injury and create support for the ankle during athletic activities.
Post-injury units: These units are either gel-filled or air-filled and are equipped with plastic panels meant for contouring either side of the wearer’s leg. In addition, these units also have a hinge, which allows for comfortable dorsiflexion or backward bending and plantarflexion or forward bending. Post-injury units are mostly used for preventing inversion and pushing out swelling and are not meant for functional activities. These braces stabilize the leg and ankle for comfortable healing.
Rigid units: Rigid braces can be of two types, lace-up and stirrup. Doctors ask patients to use these braces during injury rehabilitation periods. A stirrup unit has been designed for making the up and down motion of our ankle comfortable and also for ensuring that the ankle doesn’t roll in or out.
Volleyball and basketball players often wear stirrup ankle braces when playing; the high stability of these units allows these players to avoid injuries caused by frequent jumping. Here, it must be noted that both volleyball and basketball involves frequent jumping. The lace-up units, on the other hand, are primarily meant for preventing eversion and inversion. Some companies have started making rigid units with straps, which wrap around the wearer’s foot to provide additional support.