Basketball Series Part 4: Ankle Braces

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Basketball Series Part 4: Ankle Braces

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As we’ve discussed earlier in this series, ankle sprains are extremely common in basketball players.  Often times you will see basketball players wearing ankle braces, which raises several questions:

  • Do ankle braces help prevent injuries?
  • Do ankle braces negatively affect performance?
  • What type of ankle brace should I wear?

The evidence is somewhat split on this issue leading to a lot of really good discussion.  The general feeling from the latest evidence is that:

  • Ankle braces do help prevent injuries, but only in people who have already suffered an ankle injury (so maybe it’s more fair to say that they help prevent re-injury).  
  • Yes, some of the more rigid ankle braces can negatively affect performance.  
  • The evidence is unclear as to which braces help the most.  This is pretty much up to personal preference and/or professional opinion.  

If you are going to wear a brace, I personally prefer a brace with a little more rigidity such as the one shown above.  That being said a brace of any kind should never replace a good exercise program.  Injury prevention/rehab programs for ankles should always include:

  • Strengthening Exercises
  • Stretches for appropriate range of motion
  • Balance training

If you or anyone you  know suffers from ankle injuries, they should absolutely see a Physical Therapist!  PT’s specialize in assessing injury/re-injury risk, improving movement, and generally helping people return to full function regardless of activity level.  And remember, PT no longer requires a referral from another healthcare provider.  Simply give us a call and set up a visit!