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8 Best Braces for Sprained Ankles

by Amanda Ghosh May 13, 2017

Wearing ankle braceA whopping 25,000 people sprain their ankle every day. In fact, the ankle is the most commonly sprained part of the body. Wearing a brace for sprained ankles is the perfect way to prevent against rolling, twisting or turning the ankle excessively in an improper or awkward way that may produce a sprain. Chances are, you or someone you know is struggling with an old sprain that just seems to linger. We know you're not looking to slow down so that's why we recommend wearing a brace for sprained ankles to protect stabilize your ankle. A brace combined with a rehabilitation program (recommended by your physician) will get you back to normal in no time! We’ve looked at several braces to produce this list of eight fabulous options. Take a look because there is something for everyone.

1. Ankle & Foot Therapy Wrap by Active Wrap

Ankle & Foot Therapy Wrap with Hot/Cold Features

Amazon

This is our first pick. We really like the fact that it offers both a hot and cold gel pack because icing the ankle is a huge part of the recovery process. This brace is also useful for those trying to gain support and stabilization and/or pain relief for tendonitis, arthritis and swollen feet. This company’s wraps are designed and tested by physical therapists which is a big plus since they really are the experts when it comes to knowing how to heal and prevent ankle injuries such as ankle sprains. There’s a lot to love with this brace.

Pros:
  • 1 year guarantee
  • Velcro straps for adjustable compression and fit
  • Stable enough to use for sports
Cons:
  • Runs small

Tip:
Buy a size up, especially if you have a size 8 woman’s foot.

2. Compression Ankle Sleeve by CopperJoint

CopperJoint Compression Ankle Sleeve

Amazon

Our second pick is the CopperJoint Compression sleeve because who doesn’t like copper technology and compression? It’s reliable and effective. This brace will promote faster recovery for the muscles surrounding the ankle, enhance circulation and relieve stiffness and soreness. This brace is best for those with swelling. It’s not going to offer a lot of support but the compression is ideal for recovery. This is a great option to wear to bed or use when sitting on the couch at home elevating and icing the ankle.

Pros:
  • Copper technology and compression promotes healing and reduces swelling
  • Anti-odor and moisture-wicking technology keeps sleeves dry and funky odors at bay
  • Comfy enough to wear all night long
Cons:
  • May not offer enough compression for some

Tip:
Buy a size smaller as they might stretch. As long as you aren’t cutting off your circulation or feeling pain or discomfort, a smaller size will account for stretching with wear, and maintain firm compression.

3. Performance POD Ankle Support by DonJoy

DonJoy Performance POD Ankle Support Brace

Amazon

This brace is another solid choice for more support. Plus its bionic futuristic look is pretty cool. It has an on-demand technology feature which means it only fully engages when you need it to prevent a sprain, roll or twist. We think this is a solid option for those looking to slowly wean off of a brace in sports as it only engages when you need it to.

Pros:
  • Offers full range of motion with support
  • Comfort without bulkiness
  • Matches the shape of your foot when you put it on
Cons:
  • Can be uncomfortable without longer socks

Tip:
Wear socks that fit to make this brace feel like your version of comfortable.

4. Ankle Stabilizer Brace by Vive

Ankle Stabilizer Brace by Vive

Vivehealth

This is our choice for a brace to be used during sports such as running, soccer, football, volleyball and basketball. It fits in your shoe and offers a splint-level support (strong support) with gel material for comfort. Bracing on both sides enhances ankle stability during activity. Plus, it features compression therapy, which will enhance circulation and promote recovery.

Pros:
  • Universal fit
  • Wearable on either ankle
  • Strong adhesive latches mean minimal readjusting
Cons:
  • May be bulky if worn with sneakers

5. Air-Stirrup Ankle Support by Aircast

Aircast Air-Stirrup Ankle Support Brace

Amazon

This is a great pick for when you need a brace right after you sprain your ankle. It is also designed to be worn throughout your recovery process. It reduces swelling using shells lined with air cells that pulsate and compress when you walk. Plus it offers support and stability for acute and chronic ankle conditions. Where it out of the emergency room and around your house post-injury and enjoy all that this brace offers.

Pros:
  • Air cell technology pulsates and compresses while walking to reduce swelling
  • Stabilizes and supports ankle (chronic and acute injuries)
  • Allows for flexion of the foot while offering support
Cons:
  • Hard to wear barefoot

Tip:
Wear with thin socks.

6. Ankle Stabilizer by ASO

ASO Ankle Stabilizer

Amazon

Fashioned like a boot, this brace is quite sturdy. Lace it up and then wrap the Velcro around the top of the brace to achieve the desired tightness. It will work really well on either foot. Plus, the straps form a figure-eight with this brace which is a good way to gain a lot of support. This brace is ideal for protecting your ankle from injury and assisting with the recovery process.

Pros:
  • Similar to what your orthopedist probably has in their office (may also mimic the way a trainer might wrap an ankle)
  • Super easy to put on (it's a very intuitive design)
  • Can even help with ankle rolling problems if you have flat feet and are prone to this
Cons:
  • Can run small

Tip:
Order a size up

7. Ankle Support by Bracoo

Bracoo Ankle Support

Amazon

This ankle support is great for athletes or the active individual. It features an open-heel design which allows for more range of motion without loss of support for the ankle. The fabric also helps to increase blood flow to the area which accelerates the healing process. Perfect for wearing underneath socks, although a thin sock could also be worn under this brace. It depends on your preference.

Pros:
  • Fits great in shoes, especially sneakers
  • It's adjustable so it can accommodate a swollen ankle
  • Works well with wide feet (just order a 1/2 size up if your ankle is swollen as well)
Cons:
  • On the lighter end when it comes to support

8. Compression Ankle Brace by SENTEQ

SENTEQ Compression Ankle Brace

Amazon

FDA-approved and ready to rock and roll. We love compression! Plus, this brace is breathable and has a comfy feel. It's slimmer and fashioned in the style of a sleeve-brace. You just pull it on as you would a sock. (Works great when worn with socks too!) This is ideal for the more active individual who also could use some relief from plantar fasciitis.

Pros:
  • Wonderful for jogging
  • Not restrictive (perfect for activity and sports)
  • Reduces pain associated with everyday walking
Cons:
  • The stitching is mildly irritating as it is placed under the foot on this brace

Tip:
Measure your foot's circumference because that is what the sizing is based off of for this brace. Also, go a size up if your ankle is swollen. You want this to be tight but not too tight.

Quick Tips to Maximize the Benefits of Your Brace

Here are some tips to get the most out of using an ankle brace:

  • Wear sneakers and boots that offer a lot of support. Hiking boots can be ideal because they tend to come up higher on the ankle and provide stability over rough terrain.
  • Ice your injury and use cold therapy to help reducing pain and inflammation. Check out the best ice packs for injuries here.
  • Avoid activities that require a lot of side-to-side movements until your ankle is strong enough to support you in those movements. Repetitive strains can cause chronic injury.
  • Attend physical therapy to strengthen the ankle to reduce sprains
  • Use crutches until you can walk without pain
  • Use rest, compression, and elevation to help heal the ankle and reduce pain
  • Take medicines to help with pain and inflammation. Ibuprofen is a good option.

Selecting the Best Brace for Sprained Ankles

Don't let injuries get you down. A brace is a great way to support, stabilize and protect a sprained ankle. Some braces are a bit more supportive while others are designed to promote healing by minimizing swelling. Either way, there’s no best brace. There is only the brace that will work for you by addressing your unique needs. Consider compression sleeves at night and while lounging around to reduce swelling and apply pressure to my sprained ankle and the use of a strong, firm, and ultra-supportive brace when walking around or participating in more rigorous activities. However, your body is unique to you, and only you and your physician or therapist know what’s best. Take your time, do some research, and find the brace that will work for you. We’ve selected a variety of options that offer a lot in terms of addressing different needs.

Sources:

http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00150

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sprained-ankle/basics/definition/con-20032428

Amanda Ghosh
Amanda Ghosh

Amanda has a Masters of Science in Nutrition from Syracuse University which equipped her with courses applied to licensure as a dietitian. She also worked as a Program Director for the Wellness and Fitness Department for the YMCA. She is well versed in physical fitness, with a certificate from the National Academy of Sports Medicine in physical fitness training. She has taught numerous fitness classes, including college courses in the Athletic Department, as an adjunct instructor, at the SUNY University at Buffalo. She currently resides with her husband in the NYC area, and loves to put her knowledge of anatomy and physiology to use by being active. Both her and her husband are self-declared "foodies."


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