Should you run while wearing an ankle brace?
They’re low profile, help you to recover from and prevent ankle sprains and other injuries, but should you run in an ankle brace?
Ankle brace - application
Ankle braces are widely used in the sports community, and for everyday situations as well. They are designed to keep the ankle joint working properly, preventing and reducing joint pain, as well as helping to keep it stable. However, not all ankle support braces are alike - much of their features and designs depend on their intended use. Anyone can wear an ankle brace, but in most cases, they’re made to function prophylactically or therapeutically. It’s common for both athletes to wear a variant of an ankle brace as well as patients recovering from a joint injury, surgery, or those who are looking for pain relief. So, what’s the best ankle brace for running, and can it be worn during the activity? Continue reading to find out!
Ankle braces are a common sight when it comes to sports that demand constant running, hopping and quick movements of the feet and legs. Sports such as long distance running, tennis, football, soccer and lacrosse all take their toll on athletes’ joints, often leading to any number of injuries, like ankle sprains, achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis and other acute ankle injuries. To help prevent such injuries from occurring, athletes turn to these braces. However, it’s important to note that these medical devices help lower the incidence of acute ankle injuries, it doesn’t lessen the severity of an injury when one occurs (Kurt Jacobson). Once the ankle strap or brace is on, it provides pressure to key points of the joint and foot, in order to keep it in place and to prevent overextension.
Prophylactic ankle braces for running are also an ideal alternative to taping and bandaging and provide the same key benefits, including ankle pain relief and soreness prevention. Since the majority of these ankle straps are skin tight, they’re low profile and easy to wear under socks (Ben Drew). Putting on an ankle brace for running is easy - simply loosen the securing strap and slide your foot into the opening. It is important that your brace is well-chosen and isn’t too tight on your foot - speak with your doctor or physical therapist and ask which size is right for you. A brace ought to be tight enough to restrict some motion of the ankle joint, but not so much as to cut off circulation to your foot. Now all that’s left is to put on your running shoes and head onto the track!
Ankle braces for recovery
Unlike their prophylactic counterparts, braces for treating injuries and helping patients recover from surgery differ in both application and design. In most cases, wearing them almost completely inhibits the wearer from making use of their ankle joint in order to avoid additional injury and breaking any postoperative sutures. If you’ve experienced ankle sprains or any other acute ankle injury, your doctor or physical therapist will create a rehabilitation regime that will most likely include exercises and icing the injury. However, this all depends on the severity. Ankle fractures, plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendon ruptures are common injuries experienced by athletes in all kinds of sports and can be treated with nonsurgical methods, but no matter the severity of the injury, most medical specialists recommend ankle braces to help patients fully recover. In other words, this is not an ankle brace for running, however, it will provide you with a speedy recovery that will help you get back on track or trail running as soon as possible!
Ankle recovery braces are also designed differently than the prophylactic braces - this is mainly due to their indications. These braces are meant to protect the foot and ankle, immobilize the joint after surgery, decrease ankle pain (ideal for people who suffer from arthritis of the ankles) and improve the overall comfort of the joint and foot. These orthotics are more bulky than the sports braces, and as a result, they usually cannot be worn with running shoes. They often include adjustable straps, aircells (which can be controlled by the wearer to add or reduce tension), durable outside shell, rocker soles, comfortable padding and even ice packs to reduce soreness and inflammation. Certain devices even include an inflatable ankle stabilizing option that allows you to control the amount of tension put onto the joint. These features help to absorb and evenly distribute any energy throughout the foot, allow for normal gait without too much tension being put on the ankle - all while preventing sweat buildup and allowing for good airflow. Depending on the injury or surgery, a patient may be required to wear an ankle support for a few weeks to even up to a few months.
So, should you run while wearing an ankle brace? Of course! If it is designed to be worn while you’re out running or performing any other kind of physically demanding sport, then it will only provide you with additional ankle support and stability. If you’re wearing a brace to help you recover from an injury or surgery, then running wouldn’t be recommended until you’ve fully recovered. Speak with your doctor or physical therapist and ask about your recovery process and whether or not it is safe for you to go back to track or trail running.
Where to shop
Before you start shopping, ask your doctor or physical therapist which orthosis is right for your condition. Only once measurements of your ankle have been made and the appropriate model has been recommended should you go on the lookout for an orthosis, as choosing the wrong one for your condition or the wrong size can cause serious consequences. When you’re ready to pick up your ankle brace for running or for recovering from an injury or surgery, make sure to visit our store! We have an extensive selection of ankle braces and supports to choose from - all from reputable brand names!
- “Brace for it: When to use an ankle brace”, Kurt Jacobson, JANUARY 9, 2017
- BEST ANKLE BRACES FOR RUNNING IN 2020, Ben Drew, 2020