How do I Choose the Best Ankle Support Brace?

Autumn Rivers

If you have injured one or both ankles, you may need an ankle support brace to help during the healing process. There are various types of braces available for this purpose, from rigid braces to softer, flexible types. First, consider the amount of support you need before you buy a brace. You should also think about how active you plan to be while wearing the ankle support brace. Also, consider ankle braces that offer unique features, such as the ability to reduce pain, as well as the capacity to prevent the brace from slipping out of place.

Some ankle braces are made of soft and flexible material to allow partial movement of the foot.
Some ankle braces are made of soft and flexible material to allow partial movement of the foot.

Non-rigid braces are ideal for when you want some support, but still want to move your ankle somewhat freely. This type is often good to wear during athletics, since it can help protect an injured ankle from further damage, but can also allow you to move it to some extent. If you have a particularly bad sprain or strain, and do not plan to participate in sports while it heals, you should choose a semi-rigid brace, as this kind provides more support and less flexibility. Both non-rigid and semi-rigid types of braces are meant to be worn under the shoe, but the latter is often less comfortable to wear inside most shoes since it is bulkier.

The best ankle brace depends on how active you plan to be and how much support you need.
The best ankle brace depends on how active you plan to be and how much support you need.

Another reason to consider how active you will be before you buy an ankle support brace is that the materials of most braces differ. For example, neoprene is often used in sports equipment, including some heavy-duty ankle braces, but it is notorious for not allowing the skin to breathe well during use. This may be acceptable if you do not plan to be active, but if you are playing sports that require you to wear shoes over the ankle support brace, you should opt for materials other than neoprene. Cotton and acrylic are two types of material that are considered more breathable than neoprene, so look for braces made with a mixture of these kinds of cloth, instead.

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Excessive supination, or rolling outward of the foot, can often be treated with an ankle brace.
Excessive supination, or rolling outward of the foot, can often be treated with an ankle brace.

Some braces offer additional features besides just keeping swelling down. For instance, some use special cleats to keep the ankle support brace in place inside your shoe so that it does not shift while you are active. Others boast graduated compression, which is designed to reduce pain while improving circulation. Some braces even feature gel inserts that massage the joints and tendons as you walk, providing extra comfort. Consider whether these extra features are worth seeking out and perhaps paying more for; a doctor's advice could be helpful in this regard.

A proper diagnosis by a medical doctor is often needed to treat ankle pain, such as that caused by inflammation, tears or ruptures of the ankle tendons.
A proper diagnosis by a medical doctor is often needed to treat ankle pain, such as that caused by inflammation, tears or ruptures of the ankle tendons.

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Discussion Comments

anon128370

The best ankle brace is the Zoom Ankle. It has this cool soft shell technology that is really comfortable and supportive.

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