Here’s the scenario: a player goes down with an ankle injury. The athletic trainer brings the player back to the sidelines, takes off his or her shoe and sock and begins to tape the injured ankle. After a roll of tape the player hops off the taping table to give it a try but is still hobbling around, unable to tolerate the pain. Why? You just put the best tape job of your life on that ankle, it should be stable. Here’s the thing, it’s not the ankle instability that is causing the pain, it’s the impact. Tape alone cannot reduce weight-bearing impact. So what options do have to reduce impact – and the pain associated with it, thus allowing the player to return quickly, safely and relatively pain free to competition?
Reducing painful weight-bearing impact from acute ankle injury is the key to a quick return to activity. Tape can’t reduce ankle impact, lace-ups can’t reduce impact, any ankle brace that has a soft bottom or open heel section can’t reduce impact. You must use an ankle brace that “unloads” the ankle to reduce painful weight-bearing impact. Unloading means the ankle brace is absorbing the impact or energy, not the sore ankle.
To achieve maximum ankle unloading, the ankle brace must be made with a semi-rigid resin having a hinged cuff U-shaped design. The hinge is important because it allows the ankle brace to move with the ankle, staying securely in place maintaining long-lasting support. The cuff which wraps around the posterior lower leg is extremely important because it absorbs the impact and transfers that impact/energy to the lower leg. This technology is efficient in ankle unloading because it creates significant stabilization and support due to the U-shape semi-rigid design in both the vertical and horizontal planes.
At Ultra Ankle® we have developed two ankle bracing technologies that will unload the ankle. The Ultra High-5® is a hinged-cuff design that is recommended for chronic ankle instability and reoccurring joint pain. The Ultra CTS® is a hinged-cuff detachable shell design that is recommended for acute ankle injury treatment and rehabilitation. The Ultra CTS® provides maximum lower leg compression and stabilization with significant ankle unloading to reduce weight bearing pain. The Ultra CTS® is the ankle brace every athletic trainer should have available on game day.