Table of Contents
- 1. Differences Between a Sprain and Strain
- 2. How to Avoid Sprains and Strains
- 3. Why Ankle Braces Are Important
- 4. Types of Ankle Braces and What They Do
- 5. Guide for Choosing Your Ankle Brace
- Top 5 Best Ankle Braces and Sleeves
The best ankle braces are used for stabilizing your ankles after an injury. Remember that braces can make your mechanical-working ankles weaker. The best thing to do is consult with your doctor about your specific ankle condition. Physical therapy is a good way to learn how to strengthen your ankles with only needing a brace for a lesser time. When you do need a brace, be sure it offers protection and support keeping your ankles firmly in place.
1. Differences Between a Sprain and Strain
A sprain is a stretch and can also be a tear of your ligament. Ligaments are bands of tough fibrous tissue that connect 2 or more bones at your joint. You can injure 1 or more ligaments at the same time of your injury. How severe the condition is depends on if the tear is partial or complete and how many ligaments are included. Remember: ligaments to bones.
A strain is to the muscle or a tendon. Tendons are tough fibrous cords of tissue connecting muscle to bone. It could be a slight overstretching of your muscle or tendon and can be a partial or complete tear. Remember: tendons to muscles.
2. How to Avoid Sprains and Strains
You can do numerous things to lower your risk of these 2 painful conditions that will put you out of action for some time. You’ve only got 2 feet. Take care of them!
- Do not play sports or exercise when you are in pain or are tired.
- Eat a healthy nutritious and balanced diet for strong muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
- Keep up your healthy weight.
- Get 8 hours of sleep.
- Make it a habit to keep safety in mind at all times to avoid falling. Make sure your athletic area and all areas are free from trash, clutter, rocks and anything that could cause a fall.
- Make sure your shoes fit and the soles and heels are not worn to help your balance and stability. Slick heels and soles can make you slip on ice and wet grass.
- When your athletic shoes show signs of tread wear, the heel is worn down and you teeter to the sides, it’s time for a new pair.
- Warm up and stretch your muscles every day and at practice.
- Be sure you are physically fit to play sports or do other activities using your feet.
- Wear your protective gear used in your particular sport. Wear helmets when bike riding or rollerblading.
- When you run, be sure the surface is even without holes or imperfections to catch your feet causing a sprain or strain.
- Stay hydrated drinking plenty of pure water!
3. Why Ankle Braces Are Important
The brace will immobilize your ankles while they heal. They provide compression and heat to your bones with the fabric and design construction. The fabrics are usually firm, unbending, and inflexible to hold your ankles in place. Neoprene, a synthetic rubber, is warming and comfortable. Some are made of nylon. They usually fasten with Velcro® a stiff but tight gripping fabric. The piece for the foot and sides can include metal sections, or ‘stays’ for the best way to immobilize your joints.
4. Types of Ankle Braces and What They Do
The type of ankle brace that you need will be dependent on your type of injury. How severe your injury is will dictate the type of brace necessitated.
Mild or light weight ankle braces are best for a first degree sprain or mild strain.
Moderate or medium support ankle braces are for a second degree sprain and are good for those of you active in sports. These will let you continue with side-to-side or lateral (side, sideways, crosswise) actions.
Maximum support ankle braces are for third degree sprains or acute twisting or wrenching sprains with little or no ankle stability. If you have suffered from a severe sprain from sports or other activities, these ankle braces prevent injuries and stop new injuries from happening.
5. Guide for Choosing Your Ankle Brace
You certainly want to know what brace is the right one for you. Ankle sprains and strains happen to everyone, not just athletes or sports enthusiasts. Runners hammering on the running trail can slip off; people mowing their lawn can twist an ankle when stepping into a squirrel hole where he planned to bury walnuts; others step into pot holes; misjudge getting off and on elevators; jumping, playing sports, and landing the wrong way. There is a plethora of ways for getting a miserable, excruciatingly painful ankle injury—and they do hurt and incapacitate the one with it.
Existing conditions could be chronic pain, Achilles tendonitis, osteoarthritis, and plantar fasciitis (PLAN-tur fas-e-I-tis), one of the most common causes of heel pain. There are many other medical conditions where you need a measure of support with an ankle brace. Here are a few ways for determining the ankle brace for you with your condition or to prevent future injuries.
Achilles (uh-KILL-eez) tendonitis usually results from overuse on an injury to the fibrous tissue that attaches at the back side of the calf muscles in the low leg to the back end of the heel bone. It happens more frequently in runners when they increase their time running or the intensity level. It’s also shared with middle-aged and older people who play basketball, tennis and other sports on weekends. Achilles tendonitis can be treated at home or with braces with first consulting your healthcare provider. It is painful and exercising and resting will help.
Ankle braces provide a superb defense with compression when you wear your shoes. They stabilize and protect your ankles while you are in physical therapy and healing. You can easily move about and do your normal activities and pursuits for those of you with ankle sprains, swelling, inflammation, or mild fractures.
Lace up ankle braces are easy to put on and take off. They will give you a custom fit for your sports or any time used when you have weak ankles. The laces are adjustable and usually are accompanied with an adjustable strap as well. They fit over any type shoe and are perfect for sprains, strains, or future injury prevention.
Mild support for everyday regular use is beneficial for ankle instability, mild ankle sprains, or after an injury needing stability and support. Mild braces are available as wraparounds or sleeves for compression and steadiness as you move through your day.
Moderate and maximum support ankle braces are comparable to the lace up models. These are great for sports with high impact, quick lateral moves, and jumping. If you’ve had ankle sprains before or second- to third-degree sprains, this type brace will allow for movement during your healing and give you support for other activities. The Velcro® straps go around your foot and ankle and snug up to you with some having plastic or metal stays (formerly called bones) preventing your ankles from rolling to the sides. The rigidity of the covering will help you to heal with great support doing everyday normal things.
Full shell protection boots are semi rigid keeping your ankles stable. Having a rocker sole, they reduce pressure you put on your foot when walking. With inflatable air cells, you can make them fit the way you are most comfortable. These work best for ankle or foot fractures, grade 3 ankle sprains and after you’ve had surgery. These boots are not to be used during sports activities but for recovering from injuries.
Keep in mind as a preventative measure to wear your brace when you are doing things in a lateral movement, for instance, ball games such as basketball, volleyball, badminton, or tennis. When you use your brace for therapy and rehabilitation, wear it all the time for being more stable on your feet and to avert further injuries.
Ankle Brace Uses
|Achilles Tendon||Heel Spurs|
|Anterior Talocrural||Plantar Fasciitis|
|Charcot's Foot||Shin Splints|
What You Can Do with Ankle Braces and Sleeves
Top 5 Best Ankle Braces and Sleeves
1. ASO® Ankle Brace Stabilizer
The ASO® Ankle Stabilizer model number 264019-P is preferred by over 250 colleges, universities, and professional teams for sports making this brand a leader in braces incredibly obvious! ASO® stands for Ankle Stabilizing Orthosis. Orthosis means correcting disorders using braces for proper alignment and support. Choose black or white to match your shoes or outfit.
This ankle brace provides comfortable support and is exceedingly durable. It is a top selection in sports medicine by the pros. It is used for preventative measures and most ankle sprains and strains. It is more effective than elastic bandages and tape, is easy on and easy off and is reusable. It will fit into a regular street or athletic shoe. The stabilizing straps do not stretch for a perfect snug fit with its basket weave type of taping that seats the brace well inside your shoe. It will fit either the left or right foot. It will give you greater rehabilitation and physical therapy outcomes.
It works well preventing injuries and treating those injuries to your ankle. The nylon straps stabilize your foot preventing overturning (inversion) or eversion (foot turns inward) at your ankles. The nylon boot portion offers great strength increasing its life time. You will be able to participate in your sports activities and do full squats if you have no knee issues.
As an aside, when ligaments are stretched beyond their normal limits, ankle injuries result. Two types of ankle injuries identified as inversion and eversion affect ankle joints that are stretched to the sides. Inversion happens in more than 90% of the cases. Inversion occurs when the foot rolls over so that the sole of the foot progressively faces the opposite foot. Eversion rarely occurs. Eversion occurs when the foot rolls outwards with the sole of the foot progressively facing away from the other foot.
The ankle brace boot is manufactured in the USA by Medical Specialties®, Inc. for superior quality control (QC) criteria. Instructions for putting on the brace are shown here.
Use your shoe size as a guide, but measure the circumference of your ankle for a more accurate fit. See chart for measuring.
The stabilizing straps form a figure-8 for your ankle support and protection. The cuff is elastic and will keep the laces and stabilizing straps fixed firmly. The tongue is shaped to provide you with a comfortable supportive fit with its CoolFlex material that makes this brace breathable and hypoallergenic. The same material is the lining for the inside boot back for better comfort to the Achilles tendon. The invisible seams will not bind at your skin. The laces are attached to the tongue maintaining the center of the laces. There are finger loops at the end of the stabilizing straps when tightening the straps for the best support and comfort. The back of the heel is open. Only one brace comes in each package.
It has no metal stays and the only metal is in the shoe lace eyelets. You can use this brace for all ball sports games, roller blading, diving, surfing, in bed, and regular activities where you need added support for your ankles.
You will receive an instruction sheet with a 6-months Warranty from date of purchase by Med Spec limited to materials and workmanship only, and does not include failure due to wear or incorrect laundering. The Medical Specialties ASO® ankle brace is made in the USA.
2. McDavid® 195™ Ankle Brace with Stabilizer Straps
The McDavid® will improve your odds of injury 3 times. You will have 3 fewer injuries based upon research done at a major university when you wear the 195™. This brace is made of a single layer of 600 denier polyester to give you full support without the weight. The brace comes in black, white, or gray with a figure-6 strapping pattern similar to athletic tape. The comfortable top strap will give you a customized compression fit that is adjustable without unlacing or taking off your shoe. The tongue is ventilated to breathe with your movements. It will fit the left or right foot and only 1 comes in each package. It has reinforced closures with a soft padding for comfort.
The sizes are extra small, small, medium, larger, and extra-large. The trim, straps, and cover fabric is not polyester. This brace is a level 3 for maximum protection and it weighs under a pound. It does not have stays or metal supports.
You will receive an instruction booklet with your McDavid®195™ ankle brace. The brace is made in China.
3. Sleeve Stars Sports Foot Sleeve with Ankle Brace Strap
The Sleeve Stars bestselling sleeve is available in one size fits all women and men for foot comfort and relaxation. It will give you relief for weak, stiff, strained, or sprained ankle injuries. It is 1 single sleeve, so if you want it for both feet, you will need to order 2. For recovering quicker and lessen your pain, swelling, or discomfort, the Sleeve Stars sleeve foot compression is the best way to go. It also provides ankle support, relief from joint and tendon inflammation, improves blood circulation, relieves varicose vein symptoms, makes aching feet feel better, and aids heel spurs. When you wear the sleeve for your sports or other activities you will prevent an injury. You will be able to run, lift weights, play volleyball, baseball, and all games including running, hiking, biking and more.
The sleeve will not slide down or bulk up in your shoes, boots, or house shoes. It will keep your feet dry and not sweaty or stinky. The inside that touches your skin is soft and smooth. The sleeve is machine washable on gentle with cold water then drip dry in the shower or tub. It weighs about 2.4 ounces. It is made of polyester and rubber. You can wear the sleeves under your socks.
You will receive an instruction booklet, and a 12-month 100% money back guarantee if you aren’t completely satisfied. The Sleeve Stars ankle brace strap is a free bonus item to provide you with even more ankle support, compression, and pain attaching with Velcro®. The sleeve is made in China.
4. Kunto Fitness Ankle Sleeve
The Kunto Fitness Products provide support and compression for athletes, injuries, recovery and rehabilitation, joint pain and much more. Everyone gets pain at times. You do not have to be a robust athlete to have pain. Some people do not play in sports or do much of anything. This is a great sleeve for the elderly who have joint pain. Sometimes a walk in the park will have our ankles aching. This sleeve is perfect for aches, pain, joint pain, plantar fasciitis, arthritis, osteoarthritis, and other foot and ankle problems. You can put the sleeve over your socks. You can wear it with boots, sneakers, any shoe, and sports shoes. They are great for sleeping in them. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for how to clean.
The fabric blend of 65% nylon, 35% spandex, and 15% rubber gives the sleeve a 4-way stretch for all over protection and support. It breathes so will not become sweaty and have odors. The compression will give you all-day support and will never roll down or become bulky and bunch up. The sizing chart is accomplished by first measuring your arch circumference. Large is for over 11-inches, medium is for 8-11-inches, and small is under 8-inches. One sleeve is in each package. If you want a sleeve for both feet you will need to order 2. The sleeves will not slip and do not fit so tight they cut off your circulation. The sleeve weighs 3 ounces.
You will receive the Kunto Fitness sleeve and an instruction booklet. The sleeve is 100% money back guaranteed if you are not satisfied with it for any reason. The sleeve is made in China.
5. Copper Compression Ankle Sleeve
The Copper Compression foot and ankle sleeve helps with recovering from foot injuries, plantar fasciitis, arthritis, and any problem needing support. The sleeve is made of 88% copper nylon, 12% spandex, and is 100% latex free. You can wear the ankle sleeve all day, sleep in them, for the support and comfort you need working out, playing sports, or sitting at home watching a movie. Copper Compression has the highest copper content in their sleeves beneficial to health.
They come in small, medium, large, and extra-large. Measure your arch circumference and check the sizing chart for your precise fit. Choose the smaller size because these do stretch if your size is in between 2 sizes. There are a pair of 2 in the package.
The heel is open. Do not be misled when the competition states their product has copper infused compression sleeves. Turning the sleeves inside out will reveal this for you with a low content from others.
Use your sleeves with socks on top for heel spurs, swelling, arthritis, muscle and joint aches and pains and more. Your foot and ankle will stay warm all day. You will be able to have better range of motion and flexibility. These are made for women and men and can be washed. The sleeve weighs 8 ounces.
You will receive the Copper Compression ankle sleeve and the instruction booklet. If you are not happy with the sleeve return it with the 100% money back guarantee. Copper Compression offers a 30-day unconditional money-back guarantee. The sleeve is made in China.
- Some brands can be washed in the clothes washer and some must be hand washed. Read your instructions for what to do.
- Sleeves last as long as a normal pair of socks depending on constant wearing, once in a while wearing, and heavy use.
- Don’t roll the top band down to accommodate for length.
- Putting them on properly will prevent overstretching.
- Washing your socks makes them last longer by removing oils, perspiration, and dirt. Wash them after each wear.
- Use a garment bag to reduce lint balls that attach to the bottom of socks when used in the washing machine.
We hope the information provided here has helped you learn more and to find the ankle sleeve just right for you. Read customer reviews and be sure your doctor is involved in your buying decision based upon your ankle and feet issues. Be sure to measure your feet for a good fit. You can always contact the manufacturer online for help with the fitting issue—it can seem overwhelming sometimes. Maybe pain creams would help with your aches and pains in conjunction with the braces. An invigorating foot spa bath does wonders for sore, tired, and aching feet. Live good pain free and happy shopping!