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  4. Understanding the different types of ankle support
  • What are the different types of ankle support for running?

    bare feet with ankle suport on wooden walkway

    • Ankle sprains are common, painful injuries that can keep you out of the game for days, weeks, even a month or more. The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) estimates that every day, 25,000 people suffer an ankle sprain. Of course, these accidental injuries are not always associated with playing or practicing a sport. You may have been injured tripping over your pet, or missing the last step on your way out the door. Ankle sprains are all too familiar to athletes, with high-movement sports such as running, volleyball, football, and basketball frequently causing injuries, but anyone who competes is at risk of an ankle sprain.

    • Early treatment is key to preventing long term problems

      According to the AOFAS, sprains are classified as Grade I, II, or III, depending on the amount of ligament damage sustained. Your doctor or trainer will want to check your ankle to ensure that you haven’t suffered any broken bones, and will recommend the appropriate course of treatment.

      Most at-home care includes the RICE regimen - a combination of rest, ice, compression, and elevation to aid healing. More serious sprains require more serious treatment, however, and if your sprain is severe, your doctor may recommend additional wrap around ankle support to help support the joint. Severe sprains may even require a cast or a walking boot that can be removed at night.

    • What kind of ankle support do you need?

      Ankle braces provide varying levels of support, stability, and comfort. According to Podiatry Today, there are five different types of ankle supports for running that your doctor or trainer may consider, depending on the severity of your injury.

      • Sleeves – Least stable, most comfortable; often worn under a more stable brace for comfort
      • Adjustable Supports – Hook and loop strap braces typically wrap around the ankle; take care to not make the brace too tight
      • Stirrups – Stirrup braces are designed to limit lateral motion, and are often prescribed as an alternative to a splint or boot
      • Adjustable Stabilizers – Usually made of rigid materials to provide more stability; newer designs are often combined with hook and loop straps and laces to improve comfort
      • Hybrids – Combines different aspects from all of the above-mentioned braces for comfort and stability

    • Early treatment is the key to preventing long-term problems

      No matter how much you want to keep going, fast and appropriate aftercare will help you understand when to use ankle supports to help guard against long-term problems with stability. Have your sprained ankle assessed by a trainer or medical professional, and follow their treatment recommendations to the letter to regain stability and strength in your ankle joint.