Ankle Taping vs Ankle Braces: What’s Best for Your Ankle Support?


When it comes to preventing ankle injuries or providing support after an injury has occurred, two methods often come to mind – ankle taping and wearing ankle braces. They are common choices among athletes, athletic trainers, and physiotherapists for mitigating the risk of ankle sprains. In this blog post, we will delve into the advantages, disadvantages, and comparative effectiveness of both strategies, thereby assisting you in making an informed decision.

Ankle Taping: The Traditional Approach

Ankle taping has been used traditionally in sports and athletic activities for decades. It involves wrapping athletic tape around the ankle in a specific pattern to provide support and restrict certain movements that could lead to injury. Here are the pros and cons of this method:


  1. Customizability: Taping allows for customization based on the individual’s unique anatomy and the specific nature of their injury or risk. It can be tailored to provide targeted support.
  2. Versatility: Taping can adapt to various sports and activities, allowing for a degree of movement while offering the right amount of restriction to prevent further injury.


  1. Time-consuming: Proper taping is a skill that requires practice and can be time-consuming, especially for beginners.
  2. Consistent Reapplication: Tape loses its effectiveness over time, often requiring reapplication several times during an extended activity.
  3. Potential Skin Irritation: Extended use of tape can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions in some individuals.
  4. Locking the Ankle in Neutral Position: One significant limitation of ankle taping is that it often locks the ankle joint in a neutral position. This restriction can limit the natural range of motion and flexibility, which might not be suitable for all sports or activities.

Ankle Braces: The “Modern” Tool

Ankle braces, on the other hand, are devices made from various materials like neoprene, plastic, or fabric, designed to provide support to the ankle joint. They come in various sizes and designs, with some allowing for adjustable levels of compression and restriction.


  1. Ease of Use: Ankle braces are generally easier and quicker to put on compared to tape.
  2. Durability and Reusability: Unlike tape, braces can be used repeatedly over an extended period, making them a cost-effective solution for long-term use.
  3. Adjustability: Some braces offer adjustable levels of support and compression, allowing the user to adapt the brace to their comfort and needs.


  1. Less Customizable: Unlike taping, braces come in fixed designs and may not offer the same level of personalization to the individual’s anatomy or the nature of the injury.
  2. Potential Discomfort: Some users may find braces bulky or uncomfortable, especially during extended periods of wear.


Ultra Ankle Braces: The True Modern Tool

Ankle braces are devices designed to provide support to the ankle joint. They are available in various sizes and designs, with some offering adjustable levels of compression and restriction. A notable example of high-quality ankle braces is the Ultra Ankle line of braces. Here, let’s delve into the advantages of using these braces, in particular:

  1. Ease of Use: Like most ankle braces, Ultra Ankle braces are generally easier and quicker to put on compared to taping, reducing preparation time before activities.
  2. Durability and Reusability: Ultra Ankle braces are known for their durability. They are designed for repeated use over an extended period, making them a cost-effective solution for long-term use.
  3. Innovative Design: The Ultra Ankle braces are recognized for their innovative designs which take into consideration different ankle injuries and the varying degrees of support needed. This ranges from their Ultra Zoom Ankle Brace, which is aimed at preventing or recovering from ankle sprains, to the Ultra High-5 Ankle Brace, designed for chronic ankle instability and high-impact activities.
  4. Comfort and Fit: Unlike some other brands, Ultra Ankle braces are often praised for their comfort and the ability to fit snugly without being excessively bulky. This is because Ultra Ankle braces, like the Ultra Zoom and Ultra CTS, custom form-fit to the foot and ankle using body heat. This feature makes them suitable for use in various types of athletic footwear, although a traditional tongue and laces shoe is recommended for best fit.
  5. Maintaining Ankle Strength: The Ultra Zoom, Ultra CTS and Ultra High-5 offer a different approach than almost any other ankle brace on the market. Instead of imposing a universal restriction on the ankle’s movement, these braces feature a hinged design that allows for a more natural range of motion. This ensures that while the ankle is still supported and safeguarded from dangerous movements that can lead to injuries, it can move freely within the safe zone.

As a result, the muscles and tendons in the ankle continue to be actively engaged during movement, promoting their strength and function. This approach makes the Ultra Zoom, Ultra CTS and Ultra High-5 braces not just protective devices, but tools for maintaining, and even improving, the overall health and strength of the ankle.

Ankle Taping vs Ankle Braces: The Verdict

When choosing between ankle taping and braces, it ultimately depends on your individual needs, comfort, and the nature of your activities. For short-term use or during a sporting event, taping can provide the right amount of support and flexibility. However, for ongoing competition or everyday use, an Ultra Ankle brace is a more practical and cost-effective solution.

In the end, the primary goal is to prevent ankle injuries or to aid recovery from an injury. Therefore, consulting with a healthcare provider o understand your specific requirements would be highly beneficial. It’s also crucial to remember that while ankle taping and braces can provide valuable support, they should be complemented by strength and balance training exercises to help build robust and resilient ankles.


The debate between ankle taping and ankle braces is not about finding a clear winner, but about understanding their benefits and limitations. In doing so, you can make an informed decision that best suits your lifestyle, activity level, and personal comfort. Remember, preventing injuries is always better than treating them, so take care of your ankles – you literally stand on the foundation they provide. Optimum ankle health not only boosts your physical performance but also enhances your overall quality of life. Stay strong, stay active, and stride forward with confidence!

Ankle Bracing Myths

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.


When it comes to ankle injuries, two common treatment options have historically been ankle fusion and ankle braces. However, medical advancements and evolving practices have brought about new insights and options for ankle injury management. In this article, we will explore the updated information regarding ankle fusion, ankle braces, and the innovative Ultra Ankle Ultra CTS to help you make an informed decision about the best course of action for your ankle injury.

Ankle Fusion: A Brief Overview

Ankle fusion, also known as arthrodesis, is a surgical procedure that aims to eliminate motion in the ankle joint. Traditionally, it has been recommended for patients with severe arthritis or those who have not responded to conservative treatments. The procedure involves fusing the bones in the ankle joint together using screws, plates, or rods, thereby reducing pain but also sacrificing ankle mobility.

The Evolution of Ankle Braces

Ankle braces have long been used as a non-surgical alternative for ankle injuries. They provide external support to the ankle joint, aiding in stabilization and preventing excessive movement that can lead to further damage. Over time, advancements in design and materials have significantly improved the effectiveness of ankle braces.

Updated Insights on Ankle Fusion

While ankle fusion remains a viable option for certain cases, advancements in ankle brace technology have reshaped the landscape of ankle injury management. Ankle fusion is a permanent solution that eliminates joint motion and can be effective in relieving pain. However, it also restricts ankle mobility, making activities such as running, jumping, and pivoting more challenging. Additionally, ankle fusion requires a lengthy recovery period and carries the inherent risks associated with surgery.

The Advantages of Ankle Braces

Modern ankle braces offer several advantages over ankle fusion in the management of ankle injuries. They provide external support to the ankle joint while allowing controlled range of motion, thus preserving mobility. Ankle braces are non-invasive, meaning they do not require surgery and carry fewer risks. They can be easily adjusted, customized, and removed as needed, allowing for greater flexibility during rehabilitation. Furthermore, ankle braces can provide ongoing protection, reducing the risk of re-injury and facilitating a quicker return to daily activities and sports.


Introducing the Ultra Ankle Ultra CTS

One notable innovation in the field of ankle braces is the Ultra Ankle Ultra CTS (Custom Treatment System). The Ultra CTS combines the benefits of external ankle support with customizable features that cater to individual needs. This advanced ankle brace is designed to provide superior stability, comfort, and performance. Its adjustable multi-point strapping system was designed to reduce weight-bearing pain and “unload or offload” the ankle. This means the ankle brace will absorb some of the impact from standing or walking that would normally cause joint irritation. The brace distributes this “energy” to the lower leg, bypassing the ankle joint.

Less impact means less pain and ankle joint irritation.

Since ankle arthritis is mainly caused by a history of ankle trauma, which could include multiple ankle sprains or fractures, it stands to reason the ankle may be unstable which is contributing to the joint wear and tear. The Ultra CTS will stabilize and firm up the lower leg and ankle – helping control unwanted joint movement that results in excessive irritation and pain. Since the Ultra CTS has a hinge, full up and down ankle range of motion is encouraged to help keep the muscles strong and the joint flexible.

Choosing the Right Option for You

When it comes to ankle injuries, it is crucial to consult with a qualified medical professional to determine the best treatment approach for your specific condition. While ankle fusion may still be appropriate for severe arthritis or specific cases, ankle braces, such as the Ultra Ankle Ultra CTS, have become a popular and effective choice for many patients due to their versatility, non-invasive nature, and advanced features. They offer improved mobility, reduced risks, and ongoing protection.

Ultra Zoom

Help prevent ankle injuries all season long.

Ultra High-5

Reinforce the ankle after a history of multiple ankle injuries

Ultra CTS

Maximize stabilization to treat acute ankle injuries

While ankle braces fit comfortably in most traditional athletic shoes or sneakers with a tongue and laces, there are some shoes that don’t work well with braces.

If you purchase an ankle brace and can’t fit it inside your shoe, or its uncomfortable while you’re wearing it with your shoes, it may be due to the design or style of the shoe and not the ankle brace. For that reason, it’s a good idea to know up front which shoes you should avoid when wearing your ankle braces.

The style of sneaker that works best with ankle braces have a traditional tongue and laces design so you can spread out the opening of the shoe and easily insert the ankle brace. Low-top athletic shoes work best with ankle braces because they don’t apply undue pressure over your ankle bones like a mid- or high-top shoe will.

Athletic shoe styles are changing all the time. It’s important to know how these new styles impact the fit of an ankle brace inside the shoe. In recent years athletic shoe companies have been introducing sneakers that deviate from the traditional shoe design. Rather than having a traditional tongue and laces, this new style of shoe has a collar or sleeve design that makes it almost impossible to fit the brace in the shoe. These shoes typically are of the mid- or high-top design and are hardest to fit an ankle brace inside.

We have found that our customers with these newer types of shoes can usually wear a hinged ankle brace if their foot size is above a women’s size 9 or a men’s size 7 – it all depends on how large the opening to the sleeve of the shoe is.

For those without a traditional tongue and laces design, a smaller shoe size, or a high-top shoe a lace-up ankle brace will most likely be the best option for you. The Ultra 360 locks your ankle in place while the figure-8 straps provide 360º of ankle support to help prevent excessive ankle rolling. The multi-adjustable design allows you to customize your level of support.


If you’re an athlete who is planning to wear an ankle brace and you want it to fit in the shoe properly and be comfortable to wear for long periods of time stick with a traditional, low-top sneaker designed for the sport you play.

No high-top shoe is going to prevent an injury in sports that have a higher risk of ankle sprains (such as basketball or volleyball) where the mechanism of injury is coming down from a jump and landing on an opposing players foot at a high velocity. Therefore, we recommend wearing a low top athletic shoe with a high performance ankle brace, like the Ultra Zoom, which is designed to help prevent ankle injuries or lessen the severity should an injury occur. The Ultra Zoom will fit easily in a traditional low top sneaker and provide a comfortable fit all season long. 

Conventional wisdom is that high-top athletic shoes or tall work boots can support the ankle more effectively than low tops primarily because the high-top shoe is higher and therefore has more leverage to grab the ankle and hold it in place. However, todays high-top sneakers are not your parent’s high-tops.

These new high-top designs use flexible and stretchable materials with the goal of being comfortable to wear for long periods of time. And if the material stretches it’s probably not going to provide much in the way of ankle support. While high-top shoes are advertised to provide additional ankle support, the truth is that no shoe can support the joint and help prevent ankle injuries like an ankle brace can. 

Tall Work Boots

Let’s say you are a construction worker and you suffer from ankle osteoarthritis, so you like to wear a sturdy work boot to help stabilize your ankle. Let’s say recently your ankle started hurting on the job site and you’re thinking about getting an ankle brace for additional support.

Two things happen when you try to wear an ankle brace in a tall work boot:

  1. The ankle brace is very difficult to fit inside your tall work boot, or
  2. If you get the brace to fit in the boot it may not be very comfortable. This happens after you lace up the boot, which pushes the sides of the brace against the ankle bones, potentially causing pain and irritation.

In general, we recommend a low-top work shoe where you can spread out the laces enough to easily fit the brace in the shoe. Since the sides of the shoe are below the joint  there is no potential for irritation over your ankle bones. A low-top work shoe combined with a good professional ankle brace can provide more ankle support than a tall work boot worn by itself by far.

For those looking for an ankle brace that will fit in a high-top work boot, the Ultra 360 Lace-up will be your best option. This flexible, fabric brace fits in almost any shoe – providing extra support and compression to help protect your ankle. 

If you have questions about which ankle brace would fit best inside your athletic shoes or work boots you can send one of our athletic trainers a message. They will be able to take a look at a photo of your shoe and help you determine the right ankle brace for your situation. 

Ultra Zoom

Help prevent ankle injuries all season long.

Ultra High-5

Reinforce the ankle after a history of multiple ankle injuries

Ultra CTS

Maximize stabilization to treat acute ankle injuries

A common question I get several times a week from people inquiring through our website portal is, “which ankle brace is best for me, the Ultra Zoom or the Ultra High-5.” Which I reply with several questions about their current ankle condition and injury history.


In the 1990’s athletic trainers were spending considerable time and money taping the ankles of their players – a practice that some are still dedicated to today. During this time, lace-up ankle braces were introduced to reduce cost and save time, acting as essentially a reusable tape job that the athlete could apply themselves. As a result, lace-ups became popular as a low-cost alternative to taping the ankle. Now, lace-up style braces are inexpensive and readily available at all sporting goods stores – but are they the best option to protect your ankle from potential injuries?

Lace-Up Ankle Braces Lose Support Rapidly

When we are at sports tournaments we hear the same thing over and over from athletes, “why do I keep spraining my ankle if I wear a lace-up or tape my ankle?” Both tape and lace-ups feel so tight when you first apply them that you think, “wow, this is really going to support my ankle!” Then 30 minutes into a game you land on another players foot and sustain a grade 2 ankle injury. All that support that was felt when you first applied the brace is gone.

Some studies have shown that tape loses 70% of its effectiveness in the first 15 minutes of activity. The reason for this is that tape restricts the natural up and down movement of the ankle that is needed to run and jump. By restricting the natural joint movement, tape loses support rapidly. The same logic can be applied a lace-up brace acting as a reusable tape job – during activity it quickly stretches out and loosens as any fabric would, greatly reducing the level of support it can provide.

You’re Basically Binding Up Your Joint

Ankle taping and lace-up ankle braces restrict the natural up and down
movement of the ankle
 which is needed to perform at the highest level and keep your muscles strong. If the goal is to jump the highest or run the fastest,
the last thing you would want is something that binds, or ties, up your
ankle and restricts the very motion you need to perform.

We would never restrict knee or elbow range of motion with a brace during athletic activity, so why would we want to restrict the ankle?

Better Alternatives

Ankle braces are no different than any other product in the sense that you get what you pay for. If you feel you must wear a lace-up because of the feel of the brace or that it is low profile in the shoe, we suggest our Ultra 360 Lace-Up™. It will provide a mild support level while still maintaining moderate mobility.

A better solution for everyday use to help prevent the ankle injury is a hinged ankle brace. Our hinged Ultra Zoom® ankle brace allows you to move in all the natural ways and none of the bad ones. You’ll play better and play more losing less time to injuries.

If you have any questions about ankle braces, including more info on transitioning to a new brace from your lace-up, send our certified athletic trainers a message. We’re here to help you make the best ankle brace decision for your situation.

Ultra Zoom

Help prevent ankle injuries all season long.

Ultra High-5

Reinforce the ankle after a history of multiple ankle injuries

Ultra CTS

Maximize stabilization to treat acute ankle injuries

While hinged braces might not be the most exciting topic in the world to discuss, it’s definitely an important one. Whether your joint has been injured, or you’re trying to prevent an injury from occurring, it is crucial that the brace you wear is effective in supporting and stabilizing your joint.

Two major components of a brace that dictate its effectiveness are the design features that set it apart from similar products and the materials in which it’s made.


One of the most common design features in modern bracing is the use of a hinge. You might think that the purpose of a hinged brace is to keep your muscles strong and enhance performance by allowing for full range of motion. While this is a perk of using a brace with a hinge, it’s not the main reason why the most advanced elbow, ankle, and knee braces are designed this way.

The main reason a hinge is used in knee, elbow and ankle braces is to achieve sustainable, long-lasting joint support. When the brace can move freely throughout a non-injury range of motion, the straps that hold the brace to the joint stay securely in place resulting in support throughout an entire practice or game.

Lace-up braces restrict all joint range of motion and since they aren’t working in conjunction with the joint, like a hinged brace, the laces and straps end up migrating, stretching, and rapidly losing support during activity. For this reason, tie-up elbow and knee braces that limit non-injury range of motion haven’t been used for decades, however, when it comes to ankle braces people continue to bind up their joints and limit their performance for minimal support in a lace-up ankle brace.


While ankle braces were finally catching up with knee and elbow braces in the design department with the addition of effective hinges, they were still lacking in the materials used to create braces. When hinged braces first came on the scene in the late 1980s, they were big and bulky and consisted of a hard plastic that had a tendency to break and crack within a couple of months. Up until the late 1990s, this rigid plastic was the only material hinged braces were made out of. This forced people to choose between a soft, comfortable brace that provided minimal support or a hard plastic brace that provided ultimate support with full range of motion but could be very uncomfortable.

When it comes to wearing an ankle brace – people choose the more comfortable version almost every time. This, along with a lower price point, led to a resurgence in lace-up ankle braces, despite their minimal support and performance restricting design.

Knowing there was a better way, the innovators at Ultra Ankle set out to develop a new material for hinged ankle braces that is flexible and form-fitting, yet just firm enough to provide ultimate support to the joint. The Performathane soft shell found in the multi-patented Ultra Zoom and Ultra CTS ankle braces uses body heat to form-fit to your ankle creating the most comfortable ankle brace you will ever wear.

This premium material in Ultra Ankle’s hinged-cuff braces is a thermoplastic resin that will never crack, break, or tear resulting in multi-season protection from injury causing ankle inversion and rotation. When you invest in Ultra Ankle braces, you’re investing in long-lasting ankle protection – not a short term fix that you’ll soon have to replace. Instead of buying 2-3 ankle braces to last you one sports season, you can now buy one Ultra Zoom to last you multiple years.

You Get What You Pay For

When it comes to sports medical devices, especially braces for the knee, elbow and ankle, the old adage “you get what you pay for” is completely true. When evaluating the best ankle braces for your situation, make sure to consider the latest in ankle brace research, design, and materials to choose which is best for you. A premium hinged-cuff ankle brace that provides the comfort, support, and durability you need to protect your ankles will be worth the investment every time.

Our product specialists and athletic trainers have over 40 years of experience in ankle bracing and hold the most ankle brace design patents in the world. We’re here to help and answer any questions you may have – just send us a message.

Ultra Zoom

Help prevent ankle injuries all season long.

Ultra High-5

Reinforce the ankle after a history of multiple ankle injuries

Ultra CTS

Maximize stabilization to treat acute ankle injuries

What is your go-to ankle brace for acute ankle injuries? Don’t have one? It turns out you’re not alone.

When it comes to bracing acute ankle injuries, many AT’s end up using a walking boot because they are lacking a sufficient ankle brace alternative. Seeing this void in the marketplace led the ATs at Ultra Ankle to develop the first ankle brace specifically designed to treat/brace acute ankle injuries – the Ultra CTS (Custom Treatment System).

With the Ultra CTS ankle brace we address the two features needed most when bracing acute ankle injuries – maximum ankle and lower leg stabilization combined with reducing weight bearing pain. 


Stabilizing the Ankle and Lower Leg

Let’s say your basketball player comes down from a rebound and lands on another player’s foot, potentially resulting in a grade two ankle sprain. Or your starting tackle gets his ankle rolled up on and now you’re treating his syndesmotic ankle injury. A typical plan of action is to put the player in a walking boot for a day or two to calm things down…but then what?

First things first, you must address the stability issue before the athlete can transition out of the walking boot.

The Ultra CTS has a dual hinged-cuff design that is taller than other braces to compress and stabilize the tibia and fibula. This upper cuff section is made of a flexible soft-shell material (Performathane) which allows the brace to securely encircle the lower leg and ankle providing maximum stability. Our proprietary Performathane® material is made of the highest quality thermoplastic resin – which means it is able to absorb the body heat of the athlete during activity to help it create a form-fitting, secure fit.

When it comes to recovering from an injury, the longer the athlete is in the walking boot the more their ankle strength and ROM are negatively impacted. For this reason, it’s important to have the Ultra CTS® acute injury ankle brace as a part of your transition protocol. With this ankle brace, athletes are able to transition back to activity much sooner and safer than if they went straight from a walking boot to no brace or a lace-up support.

Now, how do you address the weight bearing pain?

Reducing Weight Bearing Pain

The second unique feature of the Ultra CTS design is the ability to unload the ankle to reduce weight bearing pain. We designed the foot section of the Ultra CTS using a semi-rigid material that will absorb some of the impact and/or energy that would normally be directed into the sore and injured ankle. With this foot section in place, the energy bypasses the ankle and is applied to the lower leg. This reduces the impact to the sore ankle (resulting in the athlete feeling less pain) which means they can transition out of the walking boot to a fully functional ankle brace they can wear for the remainder of their rehabilitation.

At this point many athletes will opt to wear the Ultra CTS the remainder of the season because it’s comfortable and they don’t have any fear of reinjury. However, if the athlete would prefer a more mobile ankle brace, they can quickly detach the upper PerformaFit® upper cuff section to transition into a low-profile activity brace. Either way, you now have options when bracing and treating acute ankle injuries that will safely get your athletes back to full participation faster.

Treat In-Game Ankle Injuries

Aside from being an important part of your treatment and rehab protocol, the Ultra CTS is also widely used by collegiate and pro athletic trainers to treat in-game ankle injuries.

After an athlete suffers an in-game ankle injury, most of the time the only thing preventing them from returning to the game is their weight bearing pain. Tape and lace-ups cannot unload the ankle and reduce weight bearing pain – but the Ultra CTS can. Athletic trainers, especially in football, are consistently utilizing the Ultra CTS on in-game ankle injuries (when appropriate) to allow the player to return to competition during the same game.

Are you one of the many athletic trainers prepared for acute and/or in-game ankle injuries by having an Ultra CTS in your kit? If not, let us know what it would take to get you to try it out by sending us an email at [email protected] or leaving us a note in the comments below.

Ultra Zoom

Help prevent ankle injuries all season long.

Ultra High-5

Reinforce the ankle after a history of multiple ankle injuries

Ultra CTS

Maximize stabilization to treat acute ankle injuries

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. 

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 us a message and one of our certified athletic trainers will be able to help.


Ankle Brace Design
– T2: Hinged design
– Ultra Zoom: Hinged-cuff design

Injury Protection
– T2: Helps prevent low ankle injuries
– Ultra Zoom: Helps prevent low and high ankle injuries

Shell Material
– T2: Rigid Polypropylene
– Ultra Zoom: Flexible Performathane®

Ultra Zoom

Help prevent ankle injuries all season long.

Ultra High-5

Reinforce the ankle after a history of multiple ankle injuries

Ultra CTS

Maximize stabilization to treat acute ankle injuries

As a university athletic training student, the first thing we learned in class was how to tape an ankle. Taping the ankle was something athletic trainers would take pride in and it was always a competition as to who could tape the ankle the best and the quickest. But looking back now, after over 30 years of being an ATC, is ankle taping always appropriate for the ankle?


As a university athletic training student working with the football program we taped the ankles of every player on the team at great expense and time. We taped perfectly healthy ankles with no previous injury history with the goal of helping to prevent the ankle injury during practice and games. Looking back at that experience, I don’t think that was a wise decision.

When you tape the ankle you are locking that ankle joint in a fixed position which would restrict normal up and down ankle range of motion necessary to run and jump at a high level. Why would you want to restrict normal, non-injury range of motion? The answer is you wouldn’t, and therefore I would advise against taping a perfectly healthy ankle to help prevent the ankle injury.

If you did play a sport with a high incidence of ankle injuries and wanted to protect your ankle I would suggest wearing an ankle brace with a hinge that would allow full up and down ankle range of motion. This way you get the performance of being able to move your ankle freely with the protection the ankle brace provides for excessive turning and twisting. Not to mention, studies have found “that ankle taping would be 3.05 times as expensive as ankle bracing over the course of a competitive season” so this method isn’t as cost effective in the long run.


Now, let’s say you do have a few previous ankle injuries and you want to tape your ankle to provide additional stability to help prevent future ankle injuries. Taping the ankle is perfectly fine in this situation as many collegiate and professional athletes routinely have the athletic trainer tape their ankles before every practice and game. In some circumstances, like gymnasts who don’t wear shoes in competition, ankle taping can be the only option for ankle injury prevention and in that case is better than no support at all. 

Limitations of Ankle Taping

When taping your ankle, it’s important to keep in mind the limitations that taping can provide so that you choose the best way to protect yourself. One of the biggest limitations of tape is that like cheap, outdated lace-up ankle braces, tape that is used to wrap ankles is typically made of fabric. As you continue rigorous activity, the tape (like fabric) will become loose and unstable in a short amount of time reducing the amount of support it can ultimately give you.

When your ankle is taped in the commonly fixed 90º position, the tape will be forced to stretch, migrate, and shift during activity. When you’re playing your sport or moving around your ankle is moving up and down and constantly working against the tape. This will not only cause the tape to lose its structural integrity, but may also fatigue your ankle joint due to the extra effort it is putting forth to move in it’s natural range of motion.

Ultra Zoom

Help prevent ankle injuries all season long.

Ultra High-5

Reinforce the ankle after a history of multiple ankle injuries

Ultra CTS

Maximize stabilization to treat acute ankle injuries