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:
Stretches for appropriate range of motion
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!