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The Right Way to Wear an Ankle Brace for Running

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If you want to increase your strength and prevent injuries, it is necessary to know how to wear an ankle brace for running.

These mobility aids can help prevent sprains, ankle instability, and chronic pain; but, often, wearing one the wrong way is just as bad as not wearing one at all.

To help protect yourself from potential damage and to heal from past injuries, I’ll share everything you need to know about the RIGHT way to use one.

Let’s get started!

How to Wear an Ankle Brace for Running

Like I said above, just wearing an ankle brace isn’t enough to protect against injuries. You have to wear one the proper way.

So, let’s start at the beginning and learn exactly how to do just that. Remember, though, this isn’t medical advice, so talk to your doctor if you have concerns.

Step 1: Buy the Right Brace

Wearing an ankle brace is not just about gaining more ankle stability. It’s about protecting your foot and comfort.

This means purchasing the right kind of ankle brace is equally important. Different people require different ankle braces.

For example, An ankle sleeve is sufficient for acute ankle injuries. Whereas chronic ankle pain, weak ankles, injured ligaments, and healing fractures need rigid or hinged ankle braces.

Choose wisely.

Step 2: Socks Are Optional

Wearing a sock on the brace generates more compression and warmth. But, wearing an athletic sock under the brace is also acceptable.

Ankle braces are designed to be comfortable and usually made of breathable material. Yet, if you are uncomfortable feel free to wear a sock along with your brace.

Step 3: The Best Way to Put Your Foot in

Your ankle brace is made up of laces and velcro and is similar to a shoe. Therefore, it’s best to loosen up the laces and open the Velcro belts beforehand.

Sit down on a flat surface and lay your leg parallel to your seat. Such that your foot is at an angle of 90 degrees from your sear.

Now insert your foot and make sure the tongue of the brace is flat between your skin and the laces. Adjust your foot and tighten the laces.

Then secure the inner and outer Velcro strap as tightly as you want, followed by the middle strap.

Move your foot a little and check whether you need to readjust.

Tip: If you’re a 1st time user, a senior citizen, or healing from an injured ankle, get help while wearing an ankle brace.

Step 4: The Shoes

Once your ankle support is in place, wear your shoe normally. See to it, that you do not loosen the brace while wearing your shoes.

Avoid heals of all kinds. If you do not owe proper running shoes, consider investing in good shoes to wear with an ankle brace, and don’t forget to buy the correct size!

When Isn’t it OK to Run With Ankle Support?

Now that we know when, why and how to run with ankle support, let’s talk about when it’s best to avoid using one entirely. Again, this is not medical advice. If your doctor tells you otherwise, listen.

If You Are a Normal Runner.

Typically, an ankle support brace is used by sportsmen, marathon runners, patients recovering from past ankle injuries, or if suggested by a doctor.

If you do not fit in any of the above categories, it isn’t ok for you to run with ankle support. It will simply restrict the blood flow and limit the range of motion of your foot.

If You Have a Wounded Ankle.

If you have an ankle sprain, swollen ankle, or any type of ankle injury, refrain from running with an ankle brace.

Your ankle muscles need time to heal before returning to physical activity. Using an ankle brace immediately after an injury will strain the ankle joint, resulting in more damage than help.

Ankle sleeves and heavy-duty ankle braces are designed to help patients recover, but use them only after consulting an orthopedic doctor.

If You Are Uncomfortable in Your Brace.

Selecting the best ankle brace for running is important. If you feel discomfort while running in your current brace, do not use it as it may lead to an injured ankle.

Rather, visit your doctor or get your brace replaced. First-time users often complain of having blisters, redness, or swelling from their brace. In such circumstances, either wear a sock inside your brace to keep your ankle safe, or let your foot heal before you reuse the brace.

It may take some time to get used to.  

FAQs

How should I support my ankles when running?

nurse fitting an AFO brace to a man's legs

Naturally, your ankles don’t need any support while running. But if you have injured your ankle previously, it’s safe to wear an ankle brace while running to reduce ankle strain. Ankle braces provide the necessary support during a run. But make sure to choose a proper ankle brace.

When should you wear an ankle brace?

It is recommended to wear an ankle brace only while exercising, or playing sports. It not only provides extra support to the ankle joint but also prevents potential injuries. However, it is not necessary to wear an ankle brace all the time let alone during sleep, unless suggested by the physician.   

How do you fix ankle pain when running?

If you experience ankle pain while running it is best to visit a doctor. You can also use an ankle brace to get added support. However, getting your foot inspected is a must, as it may reduce the risk of severe injuries.

Should an ankle brace be worn only after an injury?

lady lying on the grass while wearing an ankle brace

Yes and No! It is a must, to wear an ankle brace after an injury. But, if you are a regular runner who enjoys running on uneven terrains or a sportsman, it’s better to wear the best ankle brace for overpronation.

What is better, an ankle tape or an ankle brace?

An ankle brace is the better alternative. Unlike ankle tape, you can wear an ankle brace by yourself, in less than a minute. Removing an ankle brace is easy as well. It offers more support than ankle tape, as it has a hinge that moves with the movement of your foot. Also, it is made up of breathable materials which are better than taping straps.

Conclusion

An ankle brace is an excellent choice to recover from ankle injuries, reduce ankle pain and balance your foot better.

Injuries can be recovered and prevented with the help of a physical therapist and a good ankle brace. It will considerably increase the range of motion of your foot.

However, every brace is unique and so is the user. Therefore, we recommend you read the product description before you start using your ankle brace.

References

  • ACE Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine Institute. 2018. “ACE Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine Institute.” ACE Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine Institute. February 2, 2018. https://ace-pt.org/should-i-wear-ankle-braces/.
  • Blakely, Brian. 2018. “5 Ways to Support & Strengthen Your Ankle.” Lasso. Lasso. February 13, 2018. https://www.lassogear.com/blogs/health/5-ways-to-support-strengthen-your-ankle.
  • “Brace for It: When to Use an Ankle Brace.” 2017. Https://Newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/. 2017. https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/brace-for-it-when-to-use-an-ankle-brace/.
  • Geraets, Anna. 2016. “To Brace or Not to Brace – Pros and Cons of Bracing – Peak Physio.” Peak-Physio.com.au. September 3, 2016. https://www.peak-physio.com.au/brace-not-brace-pros-cons-bracing/.
  • Pelletier-Galarneau, Matthieu, Patrick Martineau, Maxime Gaudreault, and Xuan Pham. 2015. “Review of Running Injuries of the Foot and Ankle: Clinical Presentation and SPECT-CT Imaging Patterns.” American Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging 5 (4): 305–16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4529586/.
lady holding her aching ankle after running

Do you have more tips on how to wear an ankle brace for running? Please share with us below!

About Dayna C

Dayna has an incredible passion for helping others and a background as an in-home caregiver for the elderly. She left the field temporarily three years ago to stay at home with her twins, but found that she really missed working with senior citizens. She launched LoAids as a way to help not just her own loved ones and former clients, but ALL seniors live life to the fullest in their golden years.  Follow her on LINKEDIN and TWITTER

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