Ankle sprains are the most common sports related injury. You will find ankle braces at your local drug store  and just about any other store that sells medical products or sporting goods. You have to careful because all ankle braces are not created equal and if you select the wrong brace you can do more harm than good.

What do you look for in an ankle brace?

•The best braces completely surround the ankle and will have a method to adjust tightness. Typically they are adjusted with laces or Velcro and have supporting straps that wrap around the heel. •The ankle brace should provide coverage all the way up over the ankle bone. Low profile braces are more prone to twisting which is what you are trying to avoid. •Vertical protection on the sides of the ankle brace provides support and helps prevent the ankle from rolling over. The vertical protection could be stays made of plastic or light weight metal. It might also be a plastic shell or straps that are pulled upward and attached to the side of the ankle brace or a brace with a "figure 8" strapping system.

Ankle Brace Types:

Wrap Around Ankle Braces: Wrap around ankle braces usually are a long bandage which is wrapped around the ankle a number of times to provide compression and support.This type of brace is designed for injuries where compression is more important than lateral support. While it is convenient to use and can be tightened to individual preference, it doesn't provide much support.

[caption id="attachment_1933" align="aligncenter" width="300"]LP Ankle Wrap LP-634 LP Ankle Wrap[/caption] Neoprene Ankle Braces: Braces made of neoprene provide compression and heat retention. This retained heat increases the blood flow which may speed up healing. Neoprene ankle braces do not provide much lateral support unless they have incorporated wrap-around straps (highly recommended). Plain neoprene ankle braces are suitable for tendon injuries and overuse injuries where ankle instability is not an issue. I keep one of these ankle braces in my athletic bag for emergencies.
[caption id="attachment_1948" align="aligncenter" width="175"]Mueller Adjustable Ankle Support Mueller Adjustable Ankle Support[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1950" align="aligncenter" width="175"]LP Ankle Support with Velcro Straps LP Ankle Support with Velcro Straps[/caption]
Laced Ankle Braces: Laced ankle braces are very popular because they combine comfort with excellent support. Many of these braces have additional enhancements for lateral support such as plastic stays, surgical springs or side straps. They provide a high degree of support and usually aren't very bulky so they can be used inside athletic shoes.
[caption id="attachment_1953" align="aligncenter" width="175"]McDavid Ankle Brace Lace-Up w/Inserts McDavid Ankle Brace Lace-Up w/Inserts[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1955" align="aligncenter" width="175"]McDavid Soccer Ankle Brace McDavid Soccer Ankle Brace[/caption]
Hinged Ankle Braces: The hinged ankle brace provides a high level of lateral support. They have side reinforcements made of high grade plastic or light metal that are joined at the ankle with a hinge. They work great for severe ankle injuries because they prevent lateral motion but they still allow forward and back motion.They are usually easy to put on but can be a little bulky when using tight fitting athletic shoes.
[caption id="attachment_1957" align="aligncenter" width="175"]McDavid Ankle X Brace McDavid Ankle X Brace[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1958" align="aligncenter" width="175"]McDavid Ankle Support w/Straps and Stays McDavid Ankle Support w/Straps and Stays[/caption]
My personal suggestion is not to go cheap when selecting an ankle brace. Make sure to choose a size that fits well and is for your specific injury. When your ankle injury has healed make sure to include ankle strengthening as part of your normal workout. About the Author: Bruce is the president of Return2Fitness, an online sports medical resource and product center. His "entrepreneurial spirit" has resulted in the founding or acquisition of 20 companies during his 39 year career. Bruce is not a medical professional so please consult your local specialist before making any changes in the treatment of any injury or condition. Thanks for reading my post! For more information connect with me: Return2FitnessEmailLinkedInFacebookSquidoo

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