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 support@ultraankle.com 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

Your player goes down with an ankle injury during the game. You re-tape the ankle but he still has too much weight bearing pain to continue. You try a lace-up but that doesn’t help. Game over for him…or is it?

When an ankle injury occurs during competition all eyes turn to the athletic trainer to assess the severity of the injury and report on when they can safely get the player back in the game. Athletic trainers are expected to act quickly and efficiently under pressure, whether it be from the coach or on a national stage such as professional sporting event, which is why it’s important to correctly diagnose and remedy in-game ankle injuries as they happen.

As a Certified Athletic Trainer I have been specializing in ankle injury recovery and prevention for over 35 years. That being said, I wanted to share with you my steps for dealing with an in-game ankle injury quickly and efficiently:

  1. Injury Evaluation – Determine the extent of the injury to evaluate whether or not the athlete can return to competition.  If it is determined that that athlete can return to competition if the ankle is sufficiently stabilized proceed to steps 2 and 3.
  2. Stabilize the Ankle – Using whatever method you or the athlete are most comfortable with, stabilize their ankle joint so that they cannot injure themselves further. It is important to note that if they are still feeling pain in the ankle when walking/moving around, then a different treatment technique should be used, such as an ankle brace, or they should not re-enter the game.
  3. Relieve Weight Bearing Pain – If the athlete continues to suffer from weight bearing pain and still needs to re-enter the game, they can always reduce that weight bearing pain by using an ankle brace that “unloads” or “offloads” the ankle. Taping, lace-ups, or any brace with a soft bottom cannot unload the ankle – instead they will need to use a semi-rigid bottom, hinged-cuff ankle brace. Not all semi-rigid, hinged-cuff braces are the same so it is important to research whether they can reduce weight bearing pain as well as provide joint immobility.

If you work with athletes in any sports that have a high prevalence of ankle injuries (basketball, football, volleyball, soccer, etc) it is important to know the in’s and out’s of ankle unloading/offloading and how to treat these acute ankle injuries as they happen. The hinged-cuff ankle brace design and method of unloading weight bearing pain has been used by numerous athletes since it’s introduction in early 2000 and is the most evolved ankle brace on the market for acute ankle injury treatment and rehabilitation.

If you’d like to learn more about our hinged-cuff ankle brace ideal for in-game injuries and ankle injury treatment and rehabilition, check out our Ultra CTS® Custom Treatment System. If you’re an athletic trainer that works with athletes with a high incidence of ankle injuries and have more questions about unloading/offloading the ankle to assist your athletes – send us an email and we would be happy to help.

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

Syndesmotic ankle injuries are causing athletic trainers all kinds of fits. They take so long to heal and the athlete gets impatient, it’s just not an easy fix…or is it?  Here are the two most important things you need to know when treating a high ankle injury:

Compressing the Tibia and Fibula

Every athletic trainer knows the high ankle injury is more severe than low ankle injuries and they take longer to heal.  The ankle externally rotates which forces apart the medial and lateral aspects of the mortise, respectively the tibial and fibular malleoli.  This movement can stretch or tear the ligaments and membrane that hold the tibia and fibula together.  Fixing the high ankle injury involves compressing the tib/fib together which will take stress away from the damaged ligaments allowing them to heal with less pain.  

The best way to compress the tib/fib together is with an ankle brace that can provide consistent compression around the entire circumference of the lower leg and ankle.  It’s best to have this compression extend from the ankle joint to at least 8 inches above the malleoli.  This extended area of compression provides the necessary leverage the brace needs to support the lower leg and ankle, reducing soft tissue stress.

Reduce Weight Bearing Pain

Compressing the tibia and fibula is just one part of remedying the high ankle injury – you still need to reduce the weight bearing pain associated with ankle impact on the joint.  When the calcaneus impacts the ground it thrusts the talus into the tibia causing separation between the tibia and fibula.  This separation causes the damaged ligaments and membrane to stretch and pain ensues.  An ankle brace that can “unload” or “offload” the ankle is the best solution since this style of ankle brace has a semi-rigid bottom that can absorb the painful impact and transfer that energy to the lower leg.

If you’re interested in learning more about ankle braces that are designed specifically for acute ankle injuries, and more specifically the syndesmotic ankle injury, check out our Ultra CTS® ankle brace.  The Ultra CTS® (Custom Treatment System) ankle brace allows athletes with acute injuries to return to activity quickly, and virtually pain free, using the same methods as described above. If you have any questions about how the Ultra CTS® can help your athlete get back in the game sooner, send us a message and we’d be happy to help.

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

The challenge with treating patients or athletes with acute ankle injures is they typically require two ankle braces for treatment.  The initial treatment requires a more supportive restrictive ankle brace, and then as the ankle heals and more mobility is prescribed, a lower profile less restrictive ankle brace is preferred.  Medical professionals on the clinical side are faced with billing patients for two ankle braces, which is not in the patient’s best interest.  At Ultra Ankle® we saw this dilemma medical professionals face when treating acute ankle injuries so we developed PerformaFit® Detachable Shell Technology that allows one ankle brace to be used for both acute injury treatment and active rehabilitation.

The Ultra CTS® Custom Treatment System combines two advanced technologies.  Performathane® custom-fit soft shell technology uses body heat to form-fit to the ankle, constantly reforming as edema is reduced and the ankle changes shape.  And PerformaFit® Detachable Shell technology which allows the upper cuff of the Ultra CTS® to be detached for a low profile activity brace, or reattached for maximum lower leg compression and stabilization.  The Ultra CTS® is the first ankle brace that can both treat and rehabilitate ankle injuries.

Another reason we developed the Ultra CTS® is because we saw walking boots being prescribed for bracing grade 1 & 2 ankle injuries.  In most cases a walking boot is overkill for treating those types of ankle injuries but the medical professional has no good ankle brace alternatives for treating acute ankle injuries.  Now, the medical professional has an acute ankle bracing option.  The Ultra CTS® provides significant lower leg compression and stabilization which is necessary in the early stages of an acute ankle injury, especially syndesmotic injuries.  The Ultra CTS® also unloads the ankle to reduce weight bearing pain allowing for early activity after injury.  The Ultra CTS® is total ankle injury management in ONE ankle brace.

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
abstract

When we were developing the Ultra CTS® acute injury brace we were really astounded at the level of comfort and stability you can achieve by compressing the Tibia and Fibula together, especially with syndesmotic injuries.  However the key was to provide stable compression up to 8 inches above the malleolus.  Tape alone could not provide the structural integrity necessary to stabilize the lower leg and ease pain. Most rigid plastic ankle braces were too low on the leg to provide enough compression, plus they were so rigid making them uncomfortable.  This data lead us to develop the first PerformaFit® detachable shell technology that provided significant Tib/Fib compression and stabilization, easing weight bearing pain, promoting early activity after injury.

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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.

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