Ankle issues are prevalent; they can almost be considered an inevitable reality of life. You probably know more people who had ankle problems than those who never experienced it. Moreover, you could be someone dealing with an ankle issue right now, and you're eyeing a medical ankle brace for a solution.
Indeed, ankle braces are effective and podiatrist-approved medical devices. However, the selection is not that simple. Braces have different types that depend on the injury and severity. This article teaches what causes ankle problems and what kind of medical ankle support you need to heal.
An ankle injury happens when a joint is twisted out of its normal placement. It can happen to anyone regardless of age and lifestyle. It's also called "sports injury," but you can still get it even if you're not an athlete. An unnatural walking stance and uneven surfaces can cause it to happen.
See the list below for other causes of ankle pain and injuries.
- Uneven body weight transferred to the ankle when walking, running, or jumping
- Aging triggers natural wearing and tearing of your ankles
- Incorrect twisting and rolling of your ankles
- Performing high-impact sports or daily activities that require excessive pressure on your ankles
- Wearing faulty shoes
- Common accidents such as awkward landing and falling or tripping on uneven surfaces
These incidents cause different ankle injuries, such as (but not limited to):
- Ankle sprain
- Stress fracture
- Muscle strain
- Tendon rupture
4 Types of Ankle Brace: Wear the Correct Supporting Device
With the many ankle injuries and their common causes, the demand for medical devices is high. Ankle braces are often used to reduce the occurrence of these injuries and maximize the effectiveness of your treatment plan (if any).
However, you can't just buy an ankle brace and use it right away. You need to know what type of brace to wear first, as the wrong one will only cause further damage to your ankle. Check out the four types of ankle braces we've outlined below.
Lace-ups are the classic ankle brace design. Picture roller skater laces but without the shoe part. They are usually made of firm materials such as nylon for stability and durability and are worn over athletic socks. The rigid construction might feel uncomfortable for some, but many manufacturers today redesign lace-ups to offer more comfort and retain functionality.
Sleeve-style ankle braces emphasize comfort over stability. Therefore, they are only effective with mild ankle issues. For example, you can treat a mild sprain using ankle sleeves as a first-line medical device. They're not made of rigid materials, so they're softer and less stable. You can easily access them in local drugstores or sports stores.
If you're familiar with the popular Aircast Air Stirrup, that's a classic example of a stirrup ankle brace. Stirrups consist of two plastic semi-rigid shells covered with foam airbags to work on a swelling ankle. They provide a high protection level against inversion or high jumps and ankle sprain support. In addition, they're light, allowing the ankles to bend or move up and down naturally, and fit well with medical ankle support shoes.
Hybrid is a combination of ankle sleeves, stirrups, and lace-up brace styles. It's super comfortable, more stylish, and provides stable ankle support. As a result, it is the most preferred ankle brace for most athletes because it has all the advantages of the other brace types. And naturally, these characteristics also make hybrid braces more expensive than the rest.
Still, you must consult your doctor before deciding what medical-grade ankle brace to wear. The most popular type doesn't make it the right device for you. It will depend on the severity of your condition, so be careful when choosing among the brace styles.
Bonus Question: How About a Medical Boot for an Injured Foot?
You might encounter medical boots while looking for ankle support devices. A medical boot, also called a walking boot or orthopedic boot, is simply an ankle brace that includes foot protection. It is often used to keep your feet stable and help heal injuries, such as broken bones, ankle sprains, and tendon injuries.
Where to get a medical boot? Fortunately, a soft medical boot is easily accessible, usually found in local medical supply stores. However, if you're injured and can't afford to purchase from a physical location, look for trusted e-commerce shops. There are plenty of them online.
Ankle braces are effective, but that's not all you need to completely recover from an ankle problem. When receiving instructions from your doctor, you're usually required to do the following tips for maximum foot care at home:
- Take care of your skin. It can be sensitive and may develop irritations such as redness, blisters, bruises, and pain. The redness can be a normal reaction. However, if it doesn't disappear within 15 minutes after removing the ankle brace, you need to get it checked. Health experts usually adjust the brace to prevent such issues in the future.
- Make a habit of using mild soap and water to keep your skin clean and free from irritations. Avoid products like lotions or oils while wearing the brace because they only increase the likelihood of skin infection.
- Check your ankle brace. Make sure it's clean and not exposed to extreme temperatures. Moreover, be mindful of signs of wear and get it repaired immediately as needed.
- Take your gentle time in getting used to the brace. Start by wearing it for an hour on the first day, then add another for the next day until you feel comfortable enough.
- Ensure that the socks or stocking under the brace are worn properly. Replace them when you experience excessive sweating to prevent skin irritations.
- Ensure that the brace complements the shoes you're wearing. Some shoes might not fit well, but you can ask for help adjusting the braces to fit your footwear.
Ankle braces are widely acknowledged as effective medical devices. They've been used for a long time now, and companies are redesigning the structure for extra comfort and flexibility. You can also buy them in local and online stores, so don't worry about accessibility.
However, these ankle support devices come in different types and specific purposes. You must understand which one works best for your condition with the help of a health professional. Otherwise, it will only cause more damage and put your money to waste. Brace yourself with appropriate information before making an ankle brace purchase. We wish you a speedy recovery!