Just so there is full disclosure in this blog, I invented both the Active Ankle® T2 and Ultra Zoom® by Ultra Ankle®. After developing the first commercially available hinged ankle brace I was one of the founders of Active Ankle Systems in 1989 and was its President until 1996. In 1999, I was co-founder of Ultra Athlete LLC and developed the Ultra Ankle line of ankle braces. Through all of those years of ankle brace development I accumulated 18 U.S. and numerous foreign patents on emerging ankle bracing technologies.
As the inventor of both ankle braces I often get asked, “what is the difference between the two?” So in this post, I will compare the Active Ankle® T2 versus the Ultra Zoom® by Ultra Ankle®. When I designed the original Active Ankle® approximately 35 years ago it was a significant breakthrough from the traditional splint style ankle brace (like a Aircast®) in terms of support and range of motion. The hinge design allows full up and down ankle motion to run and jump without restriction. Since the hinge allowed the brace to move in conjunction with the joint, the straps stayed securely in place maintaining ankle support. The Active Ankle® was designed to restrict excessive ankle turning (“inversion”) which causes the classic low ankle sprain.
Ankles Braces for High Ankle Sprains
Have you ever heard the term “high-ankle” sprain? In the mid-90’s we kept hearing about athletes having high ankle injuries. In the sports medicine profession, high ankle sprains are commonly known as syndesmotic ankle injuries. Where the classic low ankle sprain involves the ankle excessively turning inward or outward, the high-ankle injury is a result of the ankle twisting or rotating excessively.
This twisting and/or rotating causes an injury above the ankle, between the tibia and fibula, which tends to be more severe and takes longer to heal. Since all ankle braces at the time were only designed to treat low ankle injuries, the Active Ankle® T2 included, a new ankle brace technology needed to be developed to protect the ankle from both low and high ankle injuries.
At Ultra Ankle, we introduced the first hinged-cuff designed ankle brace in 1999. Adding a cuff to the hinged style brace meant that the ankle brace could help restrict both excessive ankle turning and twisting to treat both the high and low ankle injuries. In 2010 Ultra Ankle introduced the hinged-cuff designed Ultra Zoom performance ankle brace. Compared to the rigid Active Ankle® T2, the Ultra Zoom has a flexible Performathane shell which uses body heat to custom-fit to the ankle for comfortable, long-lasting ankle support. The Performathane shell will never crack, break or tear offering the user multi-season durability. This advanced resin technology was not even available back in the 1980’s when I invented the Active Ankle T2.
When it comes to comparing ankle braces and deciding which is the best for you it’s important to consider a variety of factors. Questions like “How long will the brace last? What kind of injuries will it help prevent? Is it comfortable? Does it have a warranty?” will help you begin your research and make an informed decision. If you have any specific questions about ankle braces and how they relate to your situation, leave a comment below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our certified athletic trainers will be able to help.
QUICK COMPARISON: T2 vs. Ultra Zoom
Ankle Brace Design
– T2: Hinged design
– Ultra Zoom: Hinged-cuff design
– T2: Helps prevent low ankle injuries
– Ultra Zoom: Helps prevent low and high ankle injuries
– T2: Rigid Polypropylene
– Ultra Zoom: Flexible Performathane®
Standard Retail Price
– T2: $39.99
– Ultra Zoom: $49.95