Basketball Ankle Braces
Basketball requires a good deal of equipment in order to play, a ball and a hoop attached to a backboard are essential. The player should also have the proper personal equipment, such as socks, shoes and jersey when playing organized basketball. However, an equipment piece not often mentioned or noticed could be the one most important to the athlete's well-being, this is the ankle brace.
What are ankle braces used for?
Basketball is a sport that requires a lot of athleticism. The player must sprint in short bursts, stop quickly, jump, pivot and move laterally. All of these actions put a great amount of stress on the lower extremities which, in fact, is where the great majority of basketball injuries occur. The most common basketball injuries year in and year out are ankle sprains. A good way to aid in preventing ankle injuries is to purchase an ankle brace.
A basketball player may wear ankle braces to prevent the ankle from rolling to either side during play, which could result in a sprain or other injury. There are different types of ankle braces that offer different levels of support and restriction. If an athlete has a history of ankle injuries, they are more likely to injure the ankle again. For this individual it would be wise to choose a brace with a higher level of support.
Things To Consider
When looking for an ankle brace, you'll want to consider the following:
- What are you going to use the ankle brace for?
- What injury are you dealing with or looking to prevent?
- What size of ankle brace do you need?
- What type of ankle brace do you want?
- How much money do you have to spend on an ankle brace?
- Is there a certain color of ankle brace that you want?
- Do you need the ankle brace to be sweatproof?
The three main types of ankle braces are lace-up, rigid, and soft shell.
Lace-up ankle braces are a basic corset design that provide some customization as the laces can be tightened to fit snug around each individual ankle. These braces offer convenience because they are easy to put on and take off. Lace-up braces are often made of breathable fabric and offer no hinge to enhance range of motion. They can be worn every game and practice as a means of support and injury prevention.
The rigid ankle brace gets its name for the harder shell, which is typically made of plastic. These braces will often have a hinge to provide vertical range of motion but they will stabilize the ankle horizontally. The support offered is greater than that of the simple lace-up brace, but it can be bulky and somewhat uncomfortable. The rigid brace is recommended for someone playing with or returning from an injury. They are usually worn for a limited period of time until the injury has fully healed.
The most modern type of ankle brace is the soft shell brace. This brace has a flexible shell made from an advanced thermoplastic elastomer called Performathane. This material uses body heat to provide a custom fit to each user's ankle and provide support, comfort, and durability. These braces can be worn every day and are an excellent option for basketball players to prevent injury, as well as those with any ankle instability from previous injuries.
Basketball ankle braces are made out of various materials such as nylon, neoprene, cloth, plastic and memory foam. Each offers its own unique level of comfort and support.
- Nylon: Ankle braces made solely of nylon are typically made to slip on over the foot, similar to a sock. These braces add support through compression and are quite comfortable.
- Cloth: Lace-up ankle braces are usually made of a woven cloth fabric, such as canvas. These braces offer more restriction and tighter support while maintaining a good level of comfort.
- Neoprene: Neoprene is used in many types of braces due to its flexibility and ability to maintain shape over long periods of time. This synthetic rubber can be used to add compression and support most braces.
- Plastic: The rigid ankle braces have a hard plastic shell that will usually have an inner gel padding to provide comfort and give a close fit. These offer a great deal of horizontal restriction and are typically worn for a limited time.
- Memory foam: Soft shell ankle braces are made from elastic polymers with form-fitting foam on the inside for excellent fit and comfort.
Multiple different brands make basketball ankle braces, some of the most popular are McDavid, MedSpec, BodyProx, and Ultra Ankle.
- McDavid: McDavid is a leader in the sports medicine space. They provide a wide range of ankle braces, from simple elastic ankle sleeves to the Elite Bio-Logix soft shell brace.
- MedSpec: MedSpec, or Medical Specialties, produces a selection of lace-up ankle stabilizers that offer various levels of support. They also make a rigid brace, the Air Gel Ankle Stirrup, for injured ankles.
- Bodyprox: Bodyprox is a sports medicine brand that offers neoprene ankle straps and wraps used mainly for pain relief and support.
- Ultra Ankle: Ultra Ankle is a company that has specialized solely in high end ankle brace innovation since 1999.
Before you buy a basketball ankle brace, there are some factors that you should consider to ensure you are happy with your purchase such as durability, color, cost, and size.
The durability of ankle braces depends on the material they are made of and how frequently they are used. Lace-up braces made of cloth or neoprene are more likely to deteriorate over time, but soft shell and rigid braces tend to last much longer, even with an extended period of use. Generally, the more expensive a brace, the more durable it will be.
Ankle braces can cost anywhere from $10 dollars to over $130. This variation in price has to do with the type of brace and the amount of support and restriction the brace provides. Simple basic lace-up ankle braces will be considerably less expensive than the intricate braces that provide more support and stabilization.
Comfort is extremely important when it comes to ankle braces in basketball. You do not want to play through a game or practice with an ill-fitting or uncomfortable brace, as it may throw off your entire game and continuously distract you. Everyone's preference is different so try out a few different braces to know what is right for you.
Ankle braces come in different sizes, usually running from extra small to extra large. The size of the brace is not only dependent on foot size but also the circumference of the ankle. This is very important in determining what size to order because a brace that doesn't fit properly will not be as effective as one that does.
What are the best basketball ankle braces?
What are the benefits of ankle braces?
Ankle braces are extremely beneficial to basketball players, particularly those recovering from injury or prone to ankle injuries. Braces stabilize and protect the ankle by offering support to the basketball player. They allow players to return from injuries sooner and can prevent ankle injuries from ever occurring.
What are the different types of ankle braces?
There are three different types of basketball ankle braces: soft shell, lace-up, and rigid. They all have different advantages and disadvantages, but soft shell braces are generally considered the most modern and advanced of the three due to their comfort level and durability. Lace-up and soft shell braces can be worn by both recovering athletes and athletes looking to prevent an injury, but rigid braces are typically only worn by players returning from an injury.
What materials are ankle braces made from?
Ankle braces come in many different materials, but the main materials are nylon, neoprene, plastic, and memory foam. The materials can determine the price of the brace, the type of brace it is, a brace's durability, and how comfortable it will feel on the ankle.