Nov 29, 2016The Right Brace for Every Basketball Player
Active Ankle Braces go on defense to protect each athlete’s game.
A lateral ankle sprain is the most common ankle injury in basketball – it happens when the foot rolls inward, stretching the lateral ligaments. Think about when a basketball player lands on another player’s shoe after a jump-shot, or when body momentum takes a crossover way off course. Tears from overstretching the ligaments lead to the swelling, stiffness and pain we associate with ankle sprains.
But it’s the degree of tear (which ranges from tiny nicks to fully torn) that marks the time it will take for a player to get back in the game. A minor ankle sprain may take 7-10 days to recover, while a grade 3 full-tear could require an entire year to rehab.
On the court, shooting guards, point guards and centers carry the greatest risk for ankle injuries, due to the nature of each position. Shooting guards tend to play more minutes, jump, land, get checked and roll ankles more than their teammates. The jukes and agility it takes point guards to create scoring opportunities predispose them to ankle injuries, too. Centers often suffer brute force ankle injuries from other bodies playing offense and defense under the hoop.
Prevention is key to staying on the court
One hard reality of ankle sprains is that you’re up to 60% more likely to injure your ankle again after your first sprain;especially in basketball. Prevention is key to avoiding a lifetime of ankle issues, whether you’ve already suffered injuries or not.
Braces are intended to protect an athlete’s ankles from rolling movements that can lead to tears. Rigid ankle braces in particular combine preventive support for players’ ankles, while allowing for greater mobility on the court. Lace-up braces deliver protection similar to ankle taping with greater security and sustained support. Ankle sleeves are optimal for low-profile support to ligaments and a high degree of mobility.
It’s important for athletes – when possible, before an injury – to take the time to assess their ankle protection needs and mobility requirements. Consider these factors when finding your best fit for ankle support.
Guards on the move
Agility is the name of the game when it comes to shooting guards and point guards. They run, stop, pivot, juke, jump. Moving unencumbered is essential to playing your best game. But so is protecting your ankles from the stress of those unencumbered moves.
Guards who want to maximize both mobility and ankle support should consider the Eclipse I Brace. It’s a rigid brace with an open, single upright design and multi-point strapping system that allows for higher level ligament support without sacrificing mobility. In fact, rigid braces like the Eclipse I are favored by volleyball players because they do not hinder jumping. This brace can be worn as proactive support or to protect ankles with some history of injury.
Another preventive option for guards is the 329 High-Compression Ankle Sleeve. Compression provides a moderate level of support for the ankle, while its therapeutic warmth and heel-lock design maintain the player’s comfort and movement.
Center of attention
The key can be a brutal place. Centers often sustain ankle injuries via brute force and general physical contact under the hoop. While centers need uninhibited movement on offense and defense, the position requires fewer lateral moves than guards, yet greater ankle protection.
The Eclipse II Brace makes for maximum ankle protection in the key. Recommended for weak ankles and athletes recovering from injury, the Eclipse II is a rigid ankle brace that uses a solid U-shaped design to deliver the highest degree of ligament support while minimally impacting mobility.
Centers should also consider the AS1 Pro Brace for great ankle support comparable to a taping job, but with greater security and sustained compression.
Coming off the bench
The only thing worse than suffering a painful ankle injury is missing game time to recover. And there’s nothing more important than getting serious about your ankle’s rehabilitation and protection.
When you’re coming off of an injury, consider using maximum ankle support, like the T2 Ankle Brace or Eclipse II, two rigid ankle braces that promise the high levels of protection for your healing ligaments.
Adjust your ankle support as your ankles get stronger. The Eclipse I is an ideal brace for athletes ready for greater mobility, but still require ankle support. It’s also a great option for long-term use to protect ankles from re-injury.
If the brace fits…
Finding the right ankle brace for an athlete’s current ankle care needs, playing style and activity level is not only essential for protecting his or her ankle, but for increasing likelihood the athlete will actually wear it. Take the time to assess where the ankle stands and use the right Active Ankle support to keep players in the game.