High ankle sprains, also known as syndesmotic ankle sprains, are distinct from the more common low ankle sprains. They involve injury to the ligaments that connect the tibia and fibula, particularly the anterior inferior tibiofibular ligament, posterior inferior tibiofibular ligament, and the interosseous membrane. These injuries are often caused by an external rotation and/or dorsiflexion trauma, common in high-impact sports like football, soccer, and basketball. (1) (2)

how a high ankle sprain works


Symptoms and Diagnosis

The symptoms of a high ankle sprain can be subtle compared to a regular ankle sprain. They typically include pain radiating up the leg, especially when bearing weight or pivoting on the foot, and some swelling. However, high ankle sprains do not usually cause significant bruising or swelling, which can make them difficult to diagnose without proper medical assessment. (1) (2)

To diagnose a high ankle sprain, a physician will perform a physical exam that may include the syndesmosis squeeze test, where the tibia and fibula are compressed together to elicit pain. Imaging tests like X-rays, MRI, or CT scans may also be necessary to rule out fractures or other injuries. (3)

Treatment Options

The treatment of high ankle sprains generally follows the RICE protocol: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Rest involves avoiding weight-bearing activities to allow the ligaments to heal. Ice should be applied for 15-20 minutes several times a day to reduce swelling. Compression with an elastic bandage helps control swelling, and elevating the leg above the heart reduces pain and inflammation. (1) (3)

In addition to these initial treatments, physical therapy plays a crucial role in recovery, focusing on regaining strength, range of motion, and proprioceptive training. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair torn ligaments and restore stability to the ankle. (2)


The Role of Ultra Ankle® Braces

Ultra CTS® and Ultra Zoom® ankle braces can significantly aid in the treatment, recovery, and further prevention of high ankle sprains. These braces provide the necessary support and stabilization to the ankle and lower leg, reducing the risk of further injury and allowing for pain free weight-bearing activities as the healing progresses. Here are the specific features of each brace:


Ultra CTS® Ankle Brace:

Dynamic Hinged-Cuff Technology: Specifically designed to help prevent external ankle rotation which causes syndesmotic (High) ankle sprains. The Ultra CTS aids in healing by supporting soft tissue recovery. Will help to alleviate weight-bearing pain, encouraging early activity and aiding in quicker rehabilitation post-injury.

Flexible Soft Shell: Made from Performathane®, the Ultra CTS forms a custom-fit to your ankle, providing a comfortable, snug, and secure fit.

PerformaFit® Technology: Transition from the Ultra CTS acute injury ankle brace to a low-profile Ultra CTS activity ankle brace by detaching the PerformaFit upper cuff section. Reattach the PerformaFit cuff section anytime additional ankle support is needed.

The Ultra CTS® is best when used after a walking boot or immediately after injury to help reduce weight bearing pain and provide maximum ankle support and stabilization to aid the healing process and prevent further ankle injury.

Ultra CTS Ankle Brace for rotational stability

Ultra Zoom® Ankle Brace:

Hinged-Cuff Design: Allows for natural up and down ankle movement (dorsiflexion & plantarflexion) while offering excellent support to not only help prevent low “turning” ankle injuries, but also to help prevent rotation “twisting” of the lower leg which can lead to high ankle injuries.

Flexible Soft Shell: Made from Performathane®, the Ultra Zoom forms a custom-fit to your ankle, providing a comfortable, snug, and secure fit.

Durability: Exceptional durability to last multiple seasons. A full ONE YEAR warranty on every component.

The Ultra Zoom® is best when used after the high ankle injury is mostly healed and the athlete is released to return to partial or full activity.

Ultra Zoom ankle brace product features

These features make the Ultra Zoom and Ultra CTS ankle braces highly effective in aiding recovery from high ankle sprains, ensuring that patients can return to their daily activities or sports with confidence. (1) (2)


High ankle sprains are complex injuries that require careful diagnosis and treatment. By following proper medical guidance and utilizing supportive devices like the Ultra Zoom and Ultra CTS ankle braces, individuals can effectively manage their recovery and reduce the risk of future injuries. If you have further questions about either the Ultra CTS or Ultra Zoom ankle braces, or, would like to communicate with one of our Certified Athletic Trainers, please reach out to us here.

Why Football Players Need Ultra Ankle® Braces: A Game Changer in Injury Prevention & RECOVERY

Football is an intense sport requiring players to exhibit agility, speed, and raw power. With its explosive movements, sharp turns, and abrupt stops, football puts significant strain on a player’s body, particularly their ankles. Hence, safeguarding against injuries, specifically ankle injuries, is of paramount importance. That’s where Ultra Ankle braces come into play.

Ankle braces, like the Ultra Ankle® Ultra Zoom®, are critical for football players for several reasons:

  1. Injury Prevention

One of the main reasons football players should wear Ultra Ankle braces is to prevent injuries. Ankle sprains are common in football due to the sport’s demanding nature. The lateral support provided by Ultra 360 Lace-Up braces or Ultra Zoom braces minimizes the risk of sprains, preventing the ankle from rolling inward or outward excessively. Additionally, the hinged-cuff design of the Ultra Zoom works to prevent excessive twisting or turning of the lower leg, thereby limiting high ankle injuries, which are common among football players.

  1. Enhancing Performance

Ultra Zoom braces not only prevent injuries but also enhance performance. With the confidence that their ankles are well protected, football players can focus more on their game. They are free to make quick moves and sudden changes in direction without the fear of injuring their ankles. The Ultra Zoom brace allows football players to stay on the field and off the sidelines, playing more, playing better, and losing less time to ankle injuries.

  1. Speedy Recovery

For players recovering from previous ankle injuries and absolutely needing to play, Ultra Ankle braces, specifically the Ultra CTS, provide much-needed support and stability to accelerate recovery while minimizing the risk of reinjury. The Ultra CTS provides superior unloading of the ankle joint and reduction in weight bearing pain. This gives the relief that players need so they can get back on the gridiron. There is no other brace on the market that can make this claim.

  1. Advanced Design

Ultra Ankle braces like the Ultra Zoom and Ultra CTS have been engineered with advanced biomechanical design, tailored to meet the specific needs of athletes, and in this case, football players. They feature a multi-directional hinged-cuff design, allowing for free, natural movement. Unlike taping, this design helps maintain stability and support while still allowing for full athletic functionality. Additionally, the Ultra Zoom and Ultra CTS braces custom form-fit to the athlete’s ankles and feet. This not only provides comfort for the athlete, but also allows the brace to act and react with that specific athlete’s ankle joint(s).

  1. Durability and Comfort

In the physical world of football, equipment durability and comfort is a crucial factor. Ultra Ankle braces are known for their robust construction that stands up to the rigors of the sport. Despite this durability, these braces don’t sacrifice comfort – with the custom form-fit, the Ultra Zoom and Ultra CTS are designed to be worn for extended periods and fit comfortably inside most football cleats.

In conclusion, Ultra Ankle braces are a necessity for football players. They provide injury prevention, enhance performance, assist in speedy recovery, offer advanced support and comfort, and bring the robustness necessary for the sport, making them an integral part of every football player’s gear. Investing in Ultra Ankle braces is investing in the longevity of a player’s career. Stay in the game with Ultra Ankle.

As a high impact sport, football players wear more protective gear than many other athletes. Players must protect themselves from injury by wearing the most advanced equipment from state-of-the art helmets, to breathable pads, all the way down to advanced ankle braces. Since the responsibility of each athlete varies greatly from position to position, some players are at a higher risk of ankle injuries and should be especially concerned with which ankle brace is best for football.

Football Positions that Should Wear an Ankle Brace

Unlike sports with a much higher ankle injury rate for every player, you’re not going to see the entire team wearing preventative ankle bracing in football – usually only the offensive and defensive linemen. The football players on the line are typically the most vulnerable for ankle injuries due to the fact that they quickly pivot and turn while other players are constantly falling on their legs/ankles.

Most of the ankle injuries suffered by linemen are high ankle sprains, which are more severe than a classic ankle sprain and can take twice as long to heal. Once an ankle sprain occurs, there is a 70% chance that the ankle will be re-sprained. With each ankle sprain the ankle ligaments become further and further stretched apart making the ankle joint more loose and unstable with each sprain.

Which Ankle Brace is Right for You?

For this reason, linemen have started to wear ankle braces to help prevent football ankle injuries or lessen the severity should an injury occur. For offensive/defensive linemen it’s not only crucial to keep their ankles healthy, but also to be able to get down in their stance comfortably while retaining their explosive power. To meet both of these expectations, the best ankle brace for this position would be a hinged brace with a flexible shell, such as the Ultra Zoom®, that custom fits to the ankle for maximum comfort and provides full range of motion.

Although linemen are the most susceptible to ankle injuries during play, many other players on the field may still be wearing an ankle brace – especially those with a history of ankle injuries or chronic ankle instability. In the case of chronic ankle instability, the athletes should wear an ankle brace that offers more long-lasting support than taping or a lace-up style support, such as the hinged-cuff Ultra High-5®, that can withstand the pounding of an entire football season while providing maximum protection to help prevent furthering injuring the joint.

Regardless of which position you may play, if you’re interested in learning more about if you should be wearing an ankle brace for football send us a message. Our certified athletic trainer would be happy to answer any of your questions and help you stay on the field all the way from two-a-days through the championship game.

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