So you just sprained your ankle. Healing ankle ligaments can take up to six weeks. It would be best if you stabilized your ankle while it heals. The best way to stabilize the ankle is with a rigid ankle brace. The rigid ankle brace will provide maximum support for the injury. Rigid ankle braces can be worn to support the ankle and allow you to recover faster. Braces are the most popular treatment to help reduce strain on the ankle.
I had my first major ankle sprain when I was in high school playing basketball. If the ankle ligaments do not heal properly, as mine did, you will end up with instability in the ankle. Ankle sprains were the most common injury in US college student-athletes, with men’s and women’s basketball having the highest rates. Athletes were 3 times more likely to sprain their ankle in competition compared to practice. Wearing a brace will help support these muscles and the ankle, which are now more susceptible to injuries.
If your reading this post, you may have already hurt your ankle once, or in my case, multiple times. I have injured both my ankles several times. My injuries have occurred in several different activities, with the first time being playing basketball in high school, which was pretty severe. The last time I injured my ankle severely was when walking down the street and stepped in a hole along a sidewalk. Each time, a part of the healing treatment is to wear a brace. I have worn many kinds of braces in my healing processes.
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What is a Rigid Ankle Brace?
So rigid ankle braces aren’t your run of the mile ankle brace you can buy down at the local pharmacy. Rigid ankle braces were designed to provide a maximum amount of support for the ankle during physical activities. Rigid ankle braces are used in many sports but are usually found on many volleyball and basketball players.
A rigid ankle brace will allow the ankle to move up and down while keeping the ankle from rolling in or out. Most rigid braces have plastic inserts on either side of the ankle to prevent inversion or eversion. Rigid ankle braces are made by many companies such as Active Ankle, Don Joy, Mueller, Zamst, and Ultra.
Types of Rigid Ankle Braces
There are two types of rigid ankle brace: lace-up braces and stirrup braces.
- Rigid lace-up braces feature plastic inserts that press against the sides of the ankle to prevent it from rolling inward (inversion) or outward (eversion).
- Rigid stirrup braces have a hinged design that allows for dorsiflexion and plantarflexion, but they also feature extra straps that wrap around the ankle for added support.
When Should I Use a Rigid Ankle Brace?
Rigid ankle braces are geared toward activities that will require lots of jumping. You will see rigid ankle braces on many volleyball and basketball players. Some volleyball leagues even require the use of rigid ankle braces because of the likely hood of the ankle getting injured. Due to the frequency of jumping, these types of athletes are more likely to sprain their ankles. Using a rigid ankle brace should provide a level of protection for the ankle that is more substantial than a regular lace-up or sleeve-type ankle brace.
So what if you have already hurt your ankle, or you have hurt your ankle many times? Rigid ankle braces are good for this as well because they will keep you from reinjuring the ankle during recovery due to extra ankle protection. Rigid ankle braces can provide a sense of confidence as well. Since a rigid brace is a so much more protective, it will allow a person who has an ankle injury to feel better about attempting to return to the activity and help the injury heal faster.
Benefits of Rigid Ankle Braces
Rigid Ankle braces offer maximum support and ankle protection. The braces are rigid, which keeps the ankle from turning inward or outward.
- Rigid braces offer the highest level of preventative support
- Anatomical bilateral and unilateral hinges allow for unencumbered forward/back and vertical mobility
- Assists in faster rehabilitation after injury
- Superior level of protection without sacrificing comfort
These braces are ideal for individuals with weak ankles that have experienced injuries in the past.
Downsides of Rigid Ankle Braces
As with all things, there are some not-so-great things about rigid ankle braces.
- Rigid ankle braces tend to be more expensive than other types of braces.
- They don’t always fit in your shoes.
- Sometimes rigid ankle braces can become uncomfortable after wearing them for long periods of time.
- These types of braces can sometimes be hard to put on and get the correct fitment.
Are Rigid Ankle Braces for Maximum Support?
Well, the answer, of course, is yes. Top-level athletes in basketball and volleyball use rigid ankle braces. Suppose you have injured your ankle and need a brace that will provide the best type of protection, look no further than a rigid ankle brace. These braces are great for people with weak ankles that have experienced injuries in the past, such as myself. If you are involved in an activity that requires you to jump frequently and have weak ankles, you definitely need to check out a rigid ankle brace.
I wish at some point in my youth I would have purchased a rigid ankle brace. I am sure my ankles would have thanked me many times over.
If you have ankle pain due to a sprain, it is important to see a doctor for a checkup. You deserve to feel better and get back to your day-to-day activities. With the right care and treatment plan, you will be back on healthy feet in no time.
- If you have just recently injured your ankle, you might want to check out my post on RICE.
- Have you ever used KT Tape? Read KT Tape for Plantar Fasciitis Review. I have personally used KT Tape to help with my own ankle pain and Achilles tendonitis.
- Do you know what a TENS or EMS can do for your pain? Check out TENS or EMS for Ankle Pain