If you’ve ever Googled these questions about ankle braces, you know that there’s a lot of conflicting information. So, to tackle that and dispel your concerns about ankle bracing, let’s debunk four common myths about ankle bracing.
NOTE: Why do thousands of high school, collegiate and professional athletes wear ankle braces? because they work. Wearing ankle braces do not cause knee injuries, they don’t create ankle weakness and they don’t impair performance or the top team physicians and athletic trainers would not prescribe them for their athletes.
Myth: Ankle braces prevent all ankle injuries
The Truth: No ankle brace can prevent all ankle injuries. We could probably design an ankle brace that would prevent all ankle injuries, but no athlete would wear it because it would be too big, bulky, and uncomfortable. Ankle braces can prevent some ankle injuries and those injuries it can’t prevent the ankle brace will help lessen the injury severity so instead of a grade 2 injury and the player is out three weeks, it’s a grade 1 ankle injury and the player is out three days.
Choosing the proper ankle brace is determined by your ankle injury history. If you have played sports for years and have a history of numerous ankle injuries, then you need a more robust ankle brace like our Ultra High-5 or Ultra CTS which is designed with more leverage to support the ankle. On the other hand, if you’ve had a few previous ankle injuries and want a smaller scale sports ankle brace then our Ultra Zoom model would be highly recommended. The goal of wearing any ankle brace is reduce or stop the cycle of ankle injuries to stop the joint and ligament deterioration.
Myth: Ankle braces increase knee injuries
The Truth: While in a laboratory setting researchers exhibited that there are changes in knee mechanics when landing from a jump wearing an ankle brace, there is no evidence of increased knee injury while wearing ankle braces during a sports season. In sports like volleyball research has shown there is no impact on knee forces or athletic performance.
Our Limitless Performance Series (LPS) ankle braces have a hinge that allows full up (dorsiflexion) and down (plantar flexion) ankle range of motion which like a hinged knee brace significantly lessens the forces that could cause an injury due the joint being in a static condition. Any brace that moves with the natural movement of the joint will always be more supportive and less likely to cause injury then a brace that locks the joint in a fixed position.
Sports like volleyball and basketball generate a tremendous amount of ankle joint stress just from playing the sport. Wearing an ankle brace like our Ultra Zoom can not only help to prevent ankle injuries but can also reduce joint stress that cause ligament microtears which produce post activity soreness and pain. Rather than the ankle absorbing this stressful impact or energy every practice and game let the Ultra Zoom do the work and protect that healthy ankle joint.
Myth: Ankle braces cause muscle weakness
The Truth: Immobilization of the ankle joint over an extended period can cause muscle weakness. However, if you are wearing an ankle brace you are not immobilized, you are active. And the only time you are wearing an ankle brace is while playing your sport. There is no clinical evidence that suggests wearing an ankle brace over the course of a sports season causes muscle weakness.
The best way to ensure that your ankle muscles are working to their fullest while wearing an ankle brace is to wear a hinged ankle brace that allows full natural up and down ankle movement like our Ultra Zoom, Ultra High-5 or Ultra CTS. These three ankle braces are designed for different ankle injury conditions however they all have the goal of providing early activity after injury in order to regain ankle range of motion and strength.
Myth: Ankle braces impair performance.
The Truth: Ankle braces are designed to restrict excessive ankle motion that cause ankle injuries. This does not mean that ankle braces negatively impact performance. A hinged ankle brace like those in our Limited Performance Series move with the natural movement of the ankle so speed, power and endurance are not affected, nor is vertical jump which is essential in sports like volleyball and basketball.
To achieve your top performance level while wearing an ankle brace make sure you wear a hinged ankle brace. A hinged ankle brace will allow your ankle to move through a full up and down range of motion to enhance your speed and vertical jump. Our best performance ankle brace is the Ultra Zoom model which will allow you to play better and play more, losing less time to ankle injuries.