In order to better understand how ankle braces work it is important to understand the anatomy and the function of the ankle. Please review Foot Pain Info / Ankle Pain Info 's sections on ankle anatomy and Foot Pain Info / Ankle Pain Info 's section on foot and ankle biomechanics before reading this section.
Ligaments are like strong ropes that help connect bones and provide stability to joints. In the ankle there are three ligaments on the outer (lateral) aspect of the ankle and one broad ligament on the inner (medial) aspect of the ankle. It is most common for people to injure the ligaments on the lateral aspect of the ankle.
After an ankle injury, the long term goal is to return the individual back to their previous level of activity. An ankle rehabilitation program which includes strengthening exercises, flexibility exercises, aerobic conditioning, technique refinement and proprioceptive (biofeedback) retraining is the most important factor in achieving this goal. Some people with an ankle injury report an improved sense of stability when wearing an ankle brace. In addition to providing increased stability to the ankle, ankle braces may also decrease the risk of re-injuring the ankle.
Ankle braces have some drawbacks. Some people report that they are inconvenient and cumbersome. Sometimes the brace material can irritate the skin. Furthermore, ankle braces do not always work. Sometimes they do not improve the stability of the injured ankle especially when the ankle is very unstable. Ankle braces do not return normal stability to the ankle, so the ankle may still feel unstable under high forces. However, when these braces are fitted properly and when used in conjunction with a general ankle rehabilitation program ankle braces can serve an important role in the treatment of ankle injuries.
In summary, ankle braces should be considered as part of the treatment for ankle injuries. Doctors and physiotherapists who treat ankle injuries can advise whether an ankle brace would be helpful and where and how to get the correct brace.
Foot Pain Info / Ankle Pain Info 's links section has additional information on this topic. Links have been provided to other websites as well as online medical journals. Visit Joint Pain Info for information on other joint injuries and problems.
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