Football is a high-contact sport, and ankle injuries are very common on the football playing field. That is why it is important for every athlete to know preventive measures and wear the proper safety gear. Injuries in intense sports are unavoidable. Without the proper protective equipment, you can suffer even more damage than you think.
Ankle injuries can range from being mild to being very severe. So don’t wait for these injuries to happen before you take action. Wearing an ankle brace can protect you from potential injury and lessen the damage taken. If you are an athlete who grinds and plays at peak performance, maybe it’s time you invest in a football ankle brace, so you can continue playing and winning with no worries.
Common Injuries of Football Players
If you have been an athlete for a long time, you know that injuries are part of the occupation. Some will sideline you for a few months, while others could take years and even rehabilitation to completely heal. Therefore, it is crucial to know the different injuries and the right action the moment it happens to help sustain less damage.
The ligaments are tissues that connect your bone and joints. Sprains can happen from accidental twists while running, taking missed steps, and landing awkwardly from a vertical leap. Some warning signs of the injuries are ankle pain, swelling, and bruising.
Many people can't tell the difference between sprains and strains—sprains are torn ligaments, while strains are overstretched and torn tendons. Tendons are fibrous tissues that connect the muscle to the bone. For strains, the warning signs you should look out for are muscle spasms, swelling, and restricted range of motion.
Most people think that swelling is due to muscle fatigue from playing long hours. However, it can be an indication of an underlying injury. The simple tolerable pain you can play through can be a sign of injury. So be sure to check your ankle—even the littlest swells can ultimately lead to major damages.
Achilles Tendon Rupture
The Achilles Tendon is a muscle found at the back of your ankle. It connects your heels to your calf muscles. Achilles tendonitis or tearing of the Achilles tendon is common for players who are always running and jumping around. Warning signs to look for are severe pain in your heel and difficulty walking.
A dislocation happens when your bone pops out of your sockets from strong impacts and wrong landing. Dislocating your bones can be painful and can lead to swelling and difficulty standing upright.
A bone fracture refers to broken bones. Some warning signs of fracture include hearing a snap when the injury happened, visible deformity, and trouble supporting weight in the affected area. There are different types of fractures that you should keep in mind.
- Closed fracture – the breaking of the bone doesn’t break your skin
- Open fracture – the fracture breaks the skin or the muscles, and part of the broken bone is exposed; open fractures are more prone to infections
- Single fracture – your bone breaks into two pieces
- Comminuted fracture – the bone breaks into three or more pieces
- Non-displaced fracture – the bone breaks, and the alignment stays in its normal position
- Displaced fracture – the bone breaks and moves out from its alignment
Knowing the different injuries, you need to choose a proper football ankle support to use.
What is the best ankle brace for football players?
Play hardly on the field without worrying about ankle injuries. Here are some of the top recommended braces that will surely bring out your A-game and provide you with superior protection.
1. McDavid Ankle Brace Support - $34.45
The McDavid ankle support is a perfect ankle to wear when you want protective gear for your ankles while playing the game. It has a lace-up strap and an athletic tape with a 6-figure pattern so you can customize the fit for the brace on your foot.
You can adjust the fit of the brace without having to remove your shoes. It allows compression that aligns your ankle with every move and has a breathable layer for comfort that is not too tight on your ankle. Studies have proven that the McDavid ankle brace prevents injuries happening three times better than standard braces.
2. Ultra Zoom Ankle Brace - $57.95
The Ultra Zoom ankle brace's highlight is the soft shell that protects your ankles while allowing you to move freely without any restrictions. In addition, it is made with high-quality thermoplastic resin making it durable and long-lasting.
The ankle brace has a hinged cuff design for easy wearing and removal, ensuring a secure grip on your ankle even when performing a full range of motions.
3. DonJoy Performance Ankle Brace - $79.99
The DonJoy Performance ankle brace is designed to prevent your ankles from rolling and twisting. This football ankle strap is made from high-quality plastic materials that provide superior protection and support for your ankles.
The TPU or thermoplastic polyurethane adapts to the shape of the athlete’s foot for a customized feel and a perfect fit. It has an EVA lining that gives comfort with every step and is not too bulky to be worn with playing shoes.
4. BIO SKIN Trilok Ankle Brace - $69.95
The Trilok feature of the BIO SKIN ankle brace is designed to copy your body's normal movements to prevent Plantar fasciitis and other ankle injuries from happening by limiting your range of motions.
The compression sleeve allows a better blood flow that helps swelling and sprains heal faster. In addition, it restricts your ankle from doing unnecessary movement while still giving you active mobility. It is also made with hypo-allergenic materials, so it is perfect even for athletes with sensitive skin.
5. Zamst A2-DX Strong Ankle Brace - $117.05
The Zamst A2-DX is the best ankle support for football players to prevent injuries and re-occurring injuries. The EXO grid support technology of the Zamst ankle brace is designed for improved medial and sideways steadiness.
It has an anti-roll and anti-sprain feature that automatically corrects the alignment of the ankle to prevent injuries. In addition, the x-strap design works as a three-way stabilizer that gives lateral, medial, and anterior support and protection.
How to prevent ankle injuries?
Even the best ankle brace for football players cannot stop the injuries if you do not know how to take care of your ankles properly. Ankle braces are good preventive measures, but you must all do your part in protecting your body. Here are some tips on how to prevent ankle injuries.
Wearing the proper shoes
A lot of people overlook the importance of wearing the proper shoes for the proper activity. If you go to the shopping mall, you will notice that shoes are categorized by their purpose or the sports they are meant to be played because that's what the manufacturers want to tell you. There's an appropriate shoe for every activity.
The common cause of ankle injuries from running is because people try to exercise in casual shoes. Running shoes are specifically designed to help your heels bounce and absorb the shock into your every step. So be one step ahead of injuries by wearing the proper shoes for your physical activities.
Skipping warm-ups is a big no-no when you are about to do longer hours of playing and intense physical activities. Warming up increases your body and muscle temperature, releasing more energy that you will need while playing. It also allows flexibility in your muscles and a faster reaction time.
Stretching your muscles during the warm-up will allow you to move in a full range of motions without sudden force that could lead to muscle, small tissue tears, and other injuries.
Training in even surfaces
Some athletes prefer to train on rocky terrains or on uphill and downhill slopes to enhance their strength and stamina. The environmental conditions can help you develop certain skills such as agility, fast reaction time, strength, and coordination. But these conditions are also where you are most prone to sustaining injuries.
When you train under these conditions, make sure to take it slow. Running on steep slopes and downhills at a fast pace can be dangerous. If you want to pick up your speed, it is better to run on dirt roads or even surfaces.
Tracking your progress
If you are coming from an injury, it is not recommended to go back to your usual routine right away. If your ankles have been resting for a long time, sudden physical activity may trigger the injury. Instead, lessen the intensity and duration of your training upon returning. You can gradually adjust to your normal routine when you feel that your ankles can take the demand of the activity.
Knowing basic first-aid
Knowing the basic first aid is always an advantage. In addition, knowing what to do when the injury happens can significantly lessen the damage of the accident. There is a simple method that you can easily remember in case you face an injury: The RICE method.
R – Rest. In case of an injury, immediately stop doing the activity that causes the pain in the affected area.
I – Ice. Put ice or apply a cold pack to the injured area to prevent the swelling from getting worse.
C – Compression. Wrap the affected area in an elastic bandage to minimize the swelling. However, be careful not to wrap your injuries too tight because it can cause more damage to your injury. If, after 24 hours, the pain and the swelling did not subside with the compression, it is time to check with your doctor to see the underlying injury.
E – Elevation. You can place the affected area on a pillow or elevate it higher than your heart to help minimize the swelling.
Ankle injuries are a common occurrence, especially in high-contact sports. That is why it is crucial that players perform precautionary measures to ensure their safety while playing on the field. Invest in the best ankle brace for football players so you can play at your best and get that game-winning touchdown without worrying about injuries.