On September 10, 2016 Assumption (Louisville) girls’ volleyball coach Ron Kordes won the 1,000th match of his career in the semifinals of the Ultra Ankle® Louisville Invitational Volleyball Tournament.

We recently spoke with Coach Kordes, who is also the Club Director of Louisville-based volleyball club KIVA, to congratulate him on his career milestone and also to ask him his professional opinion on ankle injuries and volleyball ankle braces.

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When it comes to product innovation, many times a product cannot advance until new materials or manufacturing methods are invented and/or advanced. This is certainly true for ankle bracing, as the technologies that were developed for the Ultra Zoom® ankle brace from Ultra Ankle® did not exist until they were specifically designed, tested, and proven to help prevent ankle injuries better than any other brace on the market.

The Ultra Zoom® ankle brace from Ultra Ankle® is a one of a kind ankle brace in terms of design and technology due to it’s patented flexible Performathane® soft shell, custom PerformaFit® 3D padding system, and durable hinged-cuff design – three features you will not find on any other brace. (more…)

When I speak to Athletic Trainers about ankle bracing technology I find there is minimal to no education about the subject taught in the curriculum.  Understanding the basics of ankle brace design is paramount for choosing the right brace for the specific ankle condition.  For example, let’s say you have an athlete with a syndesmotic ankle injury – which would be the best stabilizing option for that condition? a) lace-up brace b) tape c) hinged brace d) hinged-cuff brace

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Have you noticed that most all ankle braces are made with either fabric in the case of lace-ups, or rigid plastics in the case of stirrup or hinged designs?  When designing a modern preventative ankle brace to replace the century old lace-up corset design we were faced with some overwhelming design challenges.  We did not want to use a fabric material because fabric stretches and loosens the longer you wear it.  Plus it collects bacteria and can develop an unpleasant odor, even after laundering.  However, making a low-profile, tight-fitting preventative ankle brace using a rigid plastic would be significantly uncomfortable.  Our design goal was to develop a bridge material between fabric and rigid plastics.  We developed an advanced thermoplastic resin material calledPerformathane® custom-fit soft shell technology which will change everything you think about ankle bracing.

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With athletes looking for the slightest edge in performance over their competition they would never wear a product that negatively impacts performance, but yet they do.  Many athletes, including elite athletes wear a product that restricts non-injury range of motion.  And if you restrict normal joint range of motion in any way, you negatively impact performance.  Try restricting elbow ROM and ask that quarterback to pass the ball with velocity, or the basketball player to shoot the ball accuracy.  Binding up that joint is going to affect their performance.  Then why do athletes wear lace-up ankle braces that do the same thing?  Do you think you can run as fast, or jump as high with the lace-up brace binding up your ankle?

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When it comes to ankle bracing, specifically preventative ankle bracing, the goal should be to allow as much free ROM as possible while restricting excessive movement that causes injury.  It’s the same with preventative knee bracing.  Performance bracing means “Support” with “Mobility.”  As an ATC you get what you want, “support” and the athlete gets what they want, “mobility.”

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