sprains are the most common sports-related injuries in the United
States, accounting for an estimated 2 million injuries per year.This
correlates to significant time away from games and practices. A
practical method of decreasing the number and severity of these injuries
would obviously be of great benefit. For this reason, the concept of
prophylactic sports ankle support wrapping was introduced more than 60
The concept of ankle bracing evolved from ankle taping. Braces
are being used instead of traditional taping by many athletes at all
levels of competition. They offer several advantages in that they are
self-applied, reusable, and re-adjustable.In the long run, they are likely more cost-effective than taping.
Braces generally come in 2 types, although small variations exist depending on the manufacturer.The first is non-rigid and resembles a thick canvas or nylon lace-up sock. Some non-rigid braces are also made of neoprene. The
non-rigid style imparts some compression to the ankle and may help in
injury prophylaxis but provides little medial or lateral stability to
The second type of spots ankle brace is the semi-rigid.
Its construction is similar to the non-rigid but with the added feature
of molded plastic struts or air cushions. These are incorporated into
the medial and lateral sides of the brace, similar in orientation to the
stirrups used in ankle taping. These
sports ankle support braces provide more stability and are often are
chosen during the rehabilitation and return-to-play phases of ankle
studies have met with difficulty in controlling all of the variables
associated with ankle injuries (eg, playing surface, shoe wear,
individual inherent stability, intensity of competition on both a team
and individual level). Most have shown that ankle braces are slightly more effective than taping but that both are better than no support.