Do ankle braces really make your ankles weaker?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always heard that wearing ankle braces will make your ankles weak.
I wore ankle braces throughout my basketball career because I had weak ankles. My ankles were weak as a result of repeated ankle sprains and not getting the proper rehabilitation program.
Even after I discovered the best ankle sprain rehab program available, I still wore ankle braces to give me the added protection and assurance that I would not get hurt during heated competition. And with the quality as well as the low stature of the shoes available today, I would still be wearing ankle braces today just for the added protection they offer if I were still actively playing basketball.
The only ankle brace I feel is worth anything at all is the McDavid lace up ankle brace. It provides compression of the ankle joint thereby offering support, but does not restrict movement of the ankle that would hinder performance in competitive sports.
The only ankle brace that I don’t recommend wearing during competition is the aircast. For me, it did not provide the support I wanted and always ended up cutting into my ankle bone when I wore it in competition. What’s funny is that almost all hospitals send aircasts home with patients who’ve had an ankle sprain.
They might work for you, but they did not work for me. If you’re ankles are weak and you need some support during competition or just during your everyday tasks, you can’t go wrong with the McDavid lace up ankle braces.
McDavid just came out with an ankle brace that closely mimics a professional taping job. Its called the X brace and has 2 velcro straps that cross the top of the foot and wrap around the bottom much like a basket weave tape job. You can get the straps as tight as you want and unlike tape, they won’t get loose as you sweat.
When I played in college, we were required to get our ankles taped before every practice and every game to minimize or prevent injury.
Ankle braces provide additional support and protection to help prevent injury, but its still critically important that you get started on a solid ankle rehab program if your ankles are weak and you continue to have ankle sprains.
Because no matter how good the ankle brace is, if your ankles are weak you will still suffer more frequent and more severe sprained ankles.
So, ankle braces don’t make your ankles weaker, but if you have weak ankles they do give you protection until you can get them stronger.