Ankle braces are made to provide extra support for the ankles, which can improve balance, prevent injury, and help lessen joint and ligament strain. There are many different kinds of ankle braces on the market today, and it can be difficult to determine exactly which one would be best for you. You want to choose the one that can provide the support you need to prevent injury, as well as help promote healing in any old ankle injuries you may have already sustained.
For the most part, you need to pay attention to the grade listed on the ankle brace as you are shopping. The grade represents injury severity, helping you to choose the right ankle brace based on your own individual needs.
Most grade one ankle braces are designed to prevent injury, more than really treat it. If you have a mild sprain, producing some pain, maybe slight loss in range of motion, then this may be the brace for you. If you are also experiencing swelling, or are unable to bear weight on the affected ankle, then this brace probably won’t help you very much, so you should move up the grading scale. If you do decide that a grade one ankle brace is what you need, you should know that it will likely feel tight on your foot when you put it on, but should not interfere with movement. If you don’t like the snug feeling, you might want to look for a grade one elastic ankle brace, which isn’t quite so compressive.
Typically, if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may need a grade two ankle brace:
- Significant decrease in flexibility and movement
- Unable to walk or bear weight normally
You will need a brace that will offer joint compression and provide the utmost ankle support. When you use this brace, not only will you experience lessening symptoms, but you will find that you heal much faster, and are back on your feet again.
Odds are, if you have symptoms that are beyond those of a grade two ankle brace, then you are in a lot of pain, and may not even be able to walk on your own. If there hasn’t been any kind of break, then a grade three ankle brace may be just what you need. You may be experiencing extreme pain, little if any range of motion, swelling, and extensive bruising. A grade three ankle brace will basically stabilize and prevent any kind of ankle movement, which is what you will need for your ankle to heal properly. With this type of injury, you may need to wear your ankle brace for six weeks, or even more.