Many people believe that ankle braces are only for people who play intense contact sports or recover from their injuries. But what if we tell you that swimmers can also wear braces during their water activity?
In this blog post, you will learn about the complications you can encounter while swimming and how to prevent them using ankle braces.
The Most Common Foot Injuries for Swimmers
When an athlete is in the water, they are not free from foot injuries. Swimmers use their feet to move inside the pool, so one wrong or forceful movement can result in injury. Not only that, but injuries are also possible outside the pool, where they walk on slippery floors with wet feet.
Here are some of the common injuries and foot conditions swimmers encounter.
The athlete's foot is a condition that usually starts between the toes. Usually, people who are at high risk of this infection usually have sweaty feet.
A swimmer’s body is underwater for a long time and exposed to chlorine and harmful microorganisms in the water. When they don’t properly clean their feet after the activity, it could lead to an infection.
Early indications of this infection are rashes between the toes, itching, cracking, and skin redness. Inflammation, blisters, and a stinging or burning feeling may also develop.
Antifungal ointments can treat an athlete’s foot, but if it comes back, it's best to check with your doctor. It may be a sign of worms.
Foot and Leg Cramps
When swimming, it's easy not to feel tired because your body feels light in the water. But swimmers who do a lot of laps experience foot and leg cramps because of muscle fatigue.
Some cases of cramps go away with only a bit of stretching. But severe cramps can completely ruin your game; worse, you might not recover from it.
Cramps can also happen when the cold pool water causes poor blood circulation. Keeping your legs and feet warm underwater is difficult; that's why we recommend ankle support for more stability and to promote blood circulation.
Even if swimmers don't jump and run, they still use their feet to kick and move in the water. Additionally, swimming puts their feet in an unnatural position for a long time, putting stress on their feet and ankles. Combine it with forceful kicking, and it’s a recipe for an injury. Many swimmers may not feel it during swimming, but they will experience pain and discomfort once they are out of the water.
Like any other sport, swimming accidents are ever-present in or out of the water.
A swimmer is more likely to get a sprain outside the pool and not during the activity itself. Because swimming is not a contact sport, accidental ankle twists are most likely to occur when swimmers slip at the poolside. These accidents can lead to fractures, bruising, and knee or back injuries.
Injury Prevention for Swimmers
When you are an athlete, injury is part of the game. That’s why you should know how to prevent them so that they won’t stop you from performing at your best.
We’d love to help you achieve more. So here are some practices you should do to prevent swimming injuries.
- Warm up. It's a basic routine to stretch and prepare your muscles before a physical activity so that the strain won't shock them. It also applies to swimming. You may not sweat underwater, but you use a lot of muscle power when swimming. So stretch up first before jumping into the water.
- Observe proper posture. Proper swimming posture not only ensures that you can perform swimming techniques but also keeps your body aligned in the proper position to prevent body aches or other injuries.
- Wear safety gear. All sports need safety equipment to keep the activity injury-free. For example, in swimming, you will need goggles, a swimming cap, proper swimming attire, and the best ankle brace for swimming to protect your legs and feet.
How to Choose an Ankle Brace for Swimming
Now that you know you can wear a brace while swimming, we'd love to help you find the perfect one for you. The market offers endless choices, but not all are suitable for water activities. So you should consider some things when purchasing a swimmer's ankle brace support.
It’s impossible to keep your feet dry underwater. But the foot wrap of a waterproof ankle brace for swimming can repel water and not absorb it in its cloth.
A brace that absorbs water can feel bulky and heavy on the feet, affecting your performance. So, if you're looking for a brace, look for ones made of nylon instead of cotton.
To keep your muscles working, you need to have excellent blood circulation, even underwater. Thus, braces should include a compression sleeve to keep your muscles strong during your swimming activity.
Look for a brace that can give compression between 20 and 30 mm Hg. This compression level will relieve and prevent pain. If you have a recurring injury, you may want to wear a brace with compression up to 40 mm Hg.
You should also know how to put on an ankle brace. Braces have several strapping mechanisms, but you should look for one that will stay secure on your feet and won’t slip off while you swim.
For example, compression braces are easy to wear. You can put them on like a sock: just slip them on, and they are ready. Just make sure to buy ones that don’t loosen easily.
Some braces wrap around your feet with a Velcro lock. However, remember that water can weaken Velcro.
Last are braces you can lace up. Lace-up strapping is the most secure but can take time to wear and take off. So make sure to choose a suitable and comfortable strapping mechanism for you.
Metal or No Metal?
You can opt for braces with metal inserts on the side for more reinforcement and stability. Just make sure the inserts will not react to chlorine, which can cause it to rust and ruin the quality of your brace.
Metal inserts help align the feet so that the ankles won’t twist and sustain more damage. Thus, they are better for people with injuries. If you need a brace for injury prevention, it's much better to wear those without the metal.
Top 5 Recommended Braces for Swimming
With so many factors to consider, it's hard to make a choice. We'd love to help you pick out the best, so here is a list of the top five braces recommended by swimmers and doctors alike.
- BraceAbility Neoprene Water-Resistant Ankle Brace
- Candy Li Breathable Nylon Ankle Support Brace
- Treat My Feet Ankle Compression Brace
- GARNO Ankle Brace Compression Sleeve
- Aircast A60 Ankle Support Brace
Ankle injuries are a silent threat. Whether you engage in sports for physical fitness or for leisure, it is always important to think ahead. As the saying goes, prevention is better than any cure.
We hope this article has helped you see the importance of wearing ankle braces not only for contact sports but also for swimming. If you want to prevent developing foot conditions, visit our blog. Our ankle support buying guides and reviews will address your every foot care need.