The feet and hands are very useful in completing different tasks, and there are so many unpredictable ways to hurt them in your everyday activities. Sometimes, your impulse gets super active, and checking what is around you doesn't matter anymore. Even the most routine tasks are just a misstep away from foot pain or sprain.
The initial measures you could do to relieve the pain are: taking a brief moment to rest, massaging your foot, or applying a cold compress. But have you ever thought of using a hard ankle brace? This is something you should consider first when you are sprained. So dive deeper into this article and find out the importance of using the right ankle brace.
It was in the early 1990s when ankle braces became popular among professional athletes. Today, ankle braces can be used by everybody and are widely available. A hard ankle brace is a protective garment worn around the ankle for rehabilitation. It heals minor foot injuries like sprains and relieves pain. Ankle braces are utilized to put the joint at rest and provide compression and heat to the affected bones.
Typically, the anterior talofibular ligament is affected and becomes painful when you have a sprain. There are variants of full support ankle braces perfect for arthritis, ankle trauma, minor fractures, immobilization of the joint, weak muscles, postoperative synovitis, and when recovering from surgery. This is aside from common injuries, like sprains and foot pains.
There are different types of hard ankle braces you may want to use in a particular situation.
The strap-style braces are usually made of cloth wrapped around the ankle, leading to the classic heel-lock form commonly observed during a tape job. These straps vary in flexibility and thickness. The material used in strap-style braces should be patterned to the user's needs because it affects the sense of comfort and performance. Professional athletes and varsity players widely use this type of brace.
Compared to other forms of braces, straps are cheaper and excellent as a first-line brace. If you plan to use this one, you have to be very careful because the application can become too complicated due to the number of straps. During application, please make sure you are comfortable because over-tightening leads to numbness.
It is very comfortable and yet the least stable compared to other braces. Ankle sleeves are also the most accessible choice because they are primarily available in sports goods stores and drugstores. Most of the time, sleeves are utilized as compressive materials. Since sleeves are like socks, they are used as first-line braces under another ankle brace or footwear for ankle protection.
The lace-up style is known as the original style of ankle braces. It is often made up of rigid materials that make it a very stable brace. Before, the bottom part of this rigid ankle brace had a rather uncomfortable sensation when worn. However, manufacturing companies have improved the lace-up brace's materials and design, giving the user maximum comfort and functional capabilities.
As mentioned earlier, ankle braces were popularized in the early '90s, and the stirrup was one of the first well-known designs. Stirrups could not be adjusted then, but over time, manufacturers have developed customizable and adjustable stirrups that cater to more people. Users can modify air bladders using a pump and even place gel-stuffed bladders into the freezer or heat them using a microwave. You can add plastic or metal strips so you can control and adjust these stirrups.
Stirrups are very flexible because you can also adjust the height to support syndesmosis or tibia-fibula fracture support. However, please be aware that the stirrup-style braces are alternatives for controlled ankle motion and splints, and they are not appropriate for sports use.
Ankle brace manufacturers decided to design a new style of brace that adapts the key features of straps, sleeves, lace-up, and stirrup braces, leading to hybrid braces. The hybrid is stable, more comfortable because of its soft rubber edges. In addition, this type is way more stylish. However, hybrid ankle braces, like a hard plastic ankle brace, are quite expensive at a price range of $75 to $200.
After learning the different kinds of hard ankle braces, you must learn the advantages of using ankle braces. If you are a very physically active person, especially, you want to protect all of your body parts to continue living your active lifestyle. Your feet are vital, and it's difficult to accomplish things if you feel ankle pain and lower extremity injuries.
Therefore, learning about the advantage of using ankle support will give you more reasons to utilize them when doing high-impact activities.
- Prevents Discomfort. Ankle braces take the form of socks, and they can avoid discomfort when you are running errands or working out. Typically, the discomfort lies in the footwear you are using. Wearing sleeve-type braces can be easily worn inside a shoe and can prevent discomfort.
- Relieves Pain. If you are suffering from an injury or recovering from one, wearing ankle braces minimizes the pain and relieves discomfort. For lesser discomfort, you may try to alleviate the pressure that is focused on the ankle.
- Avoids Injury. Remember that ankle braces are used as first-line protection and can be utilized as a preventative measure for injuries. You can save money with ankle braces than frequently taping your ankle. Also, braces provide stability and extra support during intense physical activity.
- Perfect for Recovery. A hard shell ankle brace gives you total control of the amount of weight and pressure you put on an injury. An ankle brace can reduce the probability of developing chronic pain and arthritis.
- Retains Flexibility. You have to remember that wearing ankle braces during recovery should be partnered with appropriate ankle exercises for you to regain your range of motion. Increasing your ankle's flexibility to halt scar tissue formation is important because you will feel less pain if less scar tissue builds up.
- Reduces Swelling. Ankle braces act as compression devices for your injury. You can purchase an orthopedic ankle brace depending on the level of the sprain. Therefore, it is essential to consult a podiatrist who can give you the right prescription.
You should certainly have good reasons when you are planning to obtain ankle braces—for sure, your protection is your number one reason. Good for you because you need to have extra protective gear for your daily activities. Definitely, there are certain things you need to think about when buying ankle braces.
- You have to think of the reason why you are buying ankle braces. Buy a light ankle brace like the sleeve-type for walking or doing simple tasks. You can also use a heavy-duty ankle brace when working out or doing physically demanding tasks.
- Think about how long you will use the brace. Consider the material of the ankle brace. Select a brace that will allow your skin to breathe and fight the cause of sweat if you plan to use it for the entire day. You may also want to try if the material is stretchable. You don't want to use a worn-out brace because you need a steady support for a long time.
- Make sure that the ankle braces fit you perfectly. Select an adjustable brace because you need to feel comfortable and prevent any forms of discomfort and pain.
- Check also if the price is right for the ankle braces. Before you go to the cashier or finalize your online purchase, it pays to check the label. Reading reviews is a smart move to justify the price of the ankle braces you are considering buying.
It is essential to apply the ankle braces correctly to prevent discomfort and pain. Here are the basic steps that you have to remember when using ankle braces.
- Do not forget to read the item description for further instructions. There might be necessary steps that are not mentioned on this generic list.
- Wear a sock. You can wear it depending on the item description. There are ankle braces that should be worn over the brace for heat retention and better compression. There are ones that are worn under the brace.
- Unlace the brace or unstrap it in case there are laces and straps. Velcro is a specific product that uses a combination of the two.
- Once you unstrap or unlace the brace, slide your foot gently and check where the tongue is. You can locate it on the upper portion of the foot between the laces and skin.
- Strap or lace the brace gently. Tighten it depending on your level of comfort.
- You can now use any footwear that you desire. Just be careful not to loosen the braces along the process. You can also use a shoehorn.
NOTE: Do not overuse your ankle brace because it can be painful and even wound you. Replace your ankle brace when you feel discomfort. You can wash it with mild detergent.
You may not realize it, but the footwear you use or the daily activities you do may be some of the obvious reasons for your suffering. Prevent injury, discomfort, or pain today by using hard ankle braces. Keep in mind that it is very difficult to move and get things done with a foot injury. However, there are many available ankle braces that you can buy to avoid injuries or relieve pain.
Get your ankle braces now to get your footing back on track!