Is It Good to Wear Ankle Braces While Playing Basketball?

Maybe you have seen a basketball player wearing something that resembled an ankle brace and wondered what was going on? Is it good to wear ankle braces while playing basketball? Should you wear them?

Before we dive into whether or not ankle braces and basketball go hand in hand, we need to look at what an ankle brace is, what it does, and who should wear them.

What Is an Ankle Brace?

An ankle brace is a support aid worn around your ankle for extra stability and joint support. Braces are constructed of fabric and can have a flexible or rigid frame.

Ankle braces can lace up, have velcro attachments, or you can wear one like a tight-fitting sock. They are designed to fit inside of your shoe.

What Does an Ankle Brace Do? 

The more structured ankle braces are common after injury. Even if you have the best basketball shoes for ankle support, an ankle brace adds extra stability and prevents any further harm. Doctors may recommend an ankle brace as part of a healing and rehabilitation period. Ankle braces result in bone compression and heat. These characteristics are often beneficial side effects that can help speed healing.

Soft ankle braces stabilize the ankle joint but usually prevent issues instead of healing existing injuries. Wearing a soft ankle brace is akin to taping your ankle with athletic tape. In the early 1990s, ankle supports and braces began gaining popularity with athletes, especially those whose sports involved lateral movements, like basketball. 

Inside your ankle, you have muscles and ligaments, as well as tendons helping to support the joint. In most cases, they do a fine job. However, they might need additional external support. Such as when playing intense sports or doing activities that require quick movements that could lead to ankle sprains or injuries.

Ankle braces work by limiting specific movements. Many prevent a certain amount of both flexion and inversion. Ankle braces help the wearer to feel the position of their ankle joint more concretely. They help keep the wearer mindful of the joint, whether they’re shooting hoops or running bases.

Who Should Wear an Ankle Brace?

As mentioned, a person recovering from an ankle injury should wear a brace if advised by their doctor.

No brace is a guaranteed fail-safe when it comes to ankle injury prevention. Nevertheless, people do like the advantages of wearing one. Studies and research suggest that lateral ankle sprains are a common injury. Athletes who don’t wear an ankle brace are two to three times more likely to experience a sprain. Braces are only worn for a short time while engaged in the activity, meaning they generally don’t lead to joint or muscle weakness.

It is easy to see why someone would want to wear an ankle brace. Generally speaking, if you have any of the following, you could benefit from wearing an ankle brace. 

  • •  A history of ankle injuries
  • •  Suffer from chronic ankle instability
  • •  Play a high-risk sport

That begs the question, is basketball a high-risk sport when it comes to ankles?

 

Is It Good To Wear Ankle Braces While Playing Basketball?

Yes, basketball players often wear ankle braces. Even the great Stephen Curry can be spotted wearing an ankle brace.

Ankle braces are popular with basketball players because basketball is an ankle injury-prone sport. This is due to the lateral movements commonly performed during games or practice. Unless they have an ongoing injury, they choose braces that support without hindering performance.

This perfect balance of stability and mobility has many advantages.

Advantages of Ankle Braces for Basketball Players

  • •  Helps prevent injury. Ankle braces are ideal for individuals who have previously sprained or hurt their ankles. They help offer support and stabilization to a joint that is likely a bit weak. Consider them a reasonable preventative measure that will save your ankle so you can play future games.
  • •  Assists with rehabilitation. Ankle braces are great for recovery too. They’ll limit what motions you can perform and how much pressure you put on your ankle, decreasing the chances you’ll further harm the joint.
  • •  Decreases swelling. Speaking of recovery, they also help to reduce swelling thanks to their compression. The heat created from wearing the wrap may also benefit your rehabilitation.

All of these qualities work together to keep your ankles feeling tremendous and might even improve your performance!

Disadvantages of Ankle Braces for Basketball Players

There hasn’t been any research that proved wearing an ankle brace during basketball weakened the joints or muscles. As long as you’re not wearing it for extended periods, you won’t create an over-reliance issue.

The only real disadvantage of wearing an ankle brace is that some aren’t aesthetically appealing. Although, if it saves your ankles and keeps you playing basketball, who cares?

 

The next article takes a look at how basketball players support their ankles. We’ve picked four great options for you to consider, to ensure your ankle and foot gets the right amount of support whilst out on the court.

 

Written by Mark

Having researched and advised on hundreds of footwear products, I'm confident you'll find my articles insightful to the most common questions that's currently being asked online.

February 19, 2022

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