Short answer: Yes, in the majority of cases basketball players should wear an ankle brace. 

Most people don’t realize that 42.9% of high school basketball players will injure their ankle during the course of their season, making the ankle the most common basketball injury location by far. Once a player suffers from an ankle injury, they are five times more likely to have reoccurring ankle injuries in the future. With the ankle injury rate so high in basketball it’s always wise to take precautions that can help prevent the ankle injury or lessen the severity should an injury occur.

Athletic trainers remedy basketball ankle injuries a number of ways, typically by taping and/or bracing their players after an injury as well as implementing an ankle strengthening program that utilizes stretches and balance exercises. Unfortunately, no amount of ankle strength can prevent an injury when a players comes down from a rebound and lands on another player’s foot. The only way to prevent these initial injuries, and reduce the risk of reoccurring injuries, is to wear an ankle brace designed specifically to work with the basketball player’s ankle, not against it, to protect the joint.

Before you start your basketball ankle brace search, it’s extremely important to understand the different ankle brace designs and how they may affect ankle strength, range of motion and performance.

Today you see a lot of basketball players wearing the lace-up style ankle supports primarily because they are low profile and upon initial impression they appear to provide good ankle support. A lace-up is basically a corset that restricts all ankle range of motion which is not ideal when you are trying to keep the ankle strong and maximize performance.  Also, by restricting normal up and down ankle motion, the ankle works against the lace-up causing it to lose support rapidly.  Lace-ups became popular as a replacement for the ankle tape job, which loses 70% of its effectiveness during the first 20 minutes of activity. 

Rigid plastic ankle braces are another style of ankle brace.  These types of ankle braces have a hinge and allow free up and down ankle motion to maximize performance and keep the muscles strong.  They will provide much more ankle protection than the lace-up support because the brace moves with the ankle, not against it so the straps stay securely in place maintaining long last support.  The downside is because these braces are rigid they can be uncomfortable and bulky which basketball players typically do not like. 

A third style of ankle brace that offers the performance aspect of the hinged brace with the softness and low profile of the lace-up is the Ultra Zoom.  The brace shell is made of an advanced flexible material called Performathane that uses body heat to custom-fit to the ankle.  The hinged-cuff design allows full ankle range of motion and the cuff helps to restrict excessive ankle turning and twisting which causes both low and high ankle sprains. 

 Regardless of which type of ankle injury prevention methods you use as a basketball player, safely competing at a high level should always be one of your top priorities. If you’re a player with a history of basketball ankle injuries and want to speak with one of our certified athletic trainers about your specific situation, give us a call or send us an email and we’d be happy to help

3 responses to “Should Basketball Players Wear Ankle Braces?”

  1. Cheryl Stepien says:

    My grandson just turned 15 he broke his ankle in basketball the tibia and fibia and separated his growth plate he is very active in basketball usually scoring 39 points or more he jumps high when he cane down from blocking a shit he hit the dude if the basketball base and injured his ankle he is now in second week of PT with a sports therapist, my grandson is anxious to get bk to basketball but is freaked out about jumping and hurting his ankle and wants a ankle brace so which one is the best for him! Thanks

  2. Michal Musial says:

    Hello, I have sprained my ankle two times in a row, how can i prevent recurrent ankle sprains?? and what should I look at, when choosing braces?


    Thanks for reaching out to Ultra Ankle. We really appreciate it.

    Michal if you can answer a few questions for me I can recommend the appropriate ankle brace for you.
    • Do you play a sport? If so, what sport?
    • Are you still recovering from your injury or are you back to full activity?
    • What type of shoe will you wear with the ankle brace?

    I look forward to your reply.
    Rick Peters ATC

  3. Sheree Holland says:

    My son plays basketball. He sprained his ankle last month, but is returning to play ball again . What type of brace will he need to support the ankle during the games


    Thanks for reaching out to Ultra Ankle. We really appreciate it.

    Now that your son has a previous ankle injury and he plays basketball I would recommend our Ultra Zoom ankle brace. The Ultra Zoom has a flexible shell that uses body heat to form a custom-fit to the ankle for comfortable long-lasting ankle support. The hinge design allows for natural ankle range of motion to enhance performance and keep the muscles strong. The Ultra Zoom is our preferred basketball ankle brace with exceptional durability to last multiple seasons.

    SHOES: We recommend a low or mid-top sneaker with a traditional tongue and laces where you can spread out the laces enough to fit the brace in the shoe. Some basketball shoes have a sleeve or collar design that limits the opening of the shoe making it very difficult to fit the brace in the shoe.

    SIZING: When sizing the Ultra Zoom make sure you measure your ankle circumference per the size chart on the product page. Do not use shoe size to determine ankle brace size.

    For more details about the Ultra Zoom please take a look at this brief Ultra Zoom Fitting Video.

    Please review the product information and get back to me with any other questions you may have.
    Rick Peters ATC

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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