Ankle and foot braces support your lowest extremities during rehabilitation. They help reduce swelling, pain, and joint stiffness and prevent fluid build-up. You can also wear braces to help reduce the risk of injury, especially while playing sports or exercising. What should you look for in an ankle or foot brace?
Choosing the Right Ankle Brace
The right type of ankle support will depend on the condition being treated. Here are some options:
Ankle sleeves are used for minor aches or pains and provide a moderate level of protection, compression, and pain relief. They provide slight support while allowing the ankle its full range of motion.
Ankle Support with Straps
Ankle supports with straps provide an extra level of support and compression, with additional straps that wrap around the ankle in a figure-6 or figure-8 configuration.
Lace-up Ankle Brace
These ankle braces have laces that enable you to adjust the brace to your individual preference while providing maximum support. Lace-up ankle braces are excellent for sprains or strains and used for sports.
Post-Injury Ankle Braces
These braces are often rigid and have two plastic panels on either side to support and stabilize. Some post-injury braces also have hinges to allow forward and backward movement of the foot.
Rigid Ankle Braces
As the name suggests, these braces are more rigid than post-injury braces and are available in different styles, including stirrups, straps, and air-casts. These are often used for severe injuries.
How Should an Ankle Brace Fit?
An ankle brace should feel comfortable and not restrict blood flow or cause any pain. It should also not be too loose.
Choosing a Foot Brace
There are a range of foot braces designed for various ailments and conditions.
A typical brace for treating plantar fasciitis heel pain is a night splint. This brace holds the foot in position while gently stretching the calf muscles and the plantar fascia. It can be worn for extended periods of time and has an anti-slip bottom so you can move about if you wake up at night.
Other options for plantar fasciitis are night socks, a day ankle brace, and a supportive wrap.
A night splint is usually recommended to keep the foot upright and ease the pain in the Achilles tendon. You can use an Achilles tendonitis boot, which supports the foot, ankle, and lower calf for more support. Other options include the Achilles tendonitis wrap and heel lifts for placing inside the shoe.
Ankle Foot Orthotic (AFO)
AFO is a brace that helps support people with various foot, ankle, and gait issues and controls lower limb stability. It is recommended to treat foot drops caused by a stroke, diabetes, traumatic brain injury, muscular dystrophy, and other complex issues.
Medical Walking Boots
Medical walking boots protect the ankle and foot after an injury or surgery. They are used for fractured bones, severe sprains, tendon injuries, and shin splints, as they aid in healing. Walking boots can be opened-toed or closed. These boots usually have between 2 to 5 adjustable straps that go up to your calf (midway). Sometimes a doctor may recommend an orthopedic walking boot instead of a cast.
When choosing an ankle or foot brace, it is highly advisable to seek your healthcare provider’s recommendations. Find the ankle and foot brace you need at Simply Medical.