Dec 6, 2016The Right Brace for Every Soccer Player
Active Ankle Braces go on defense to guard against risks of the game.
You don’t need to be surrounded by defenders, with the ball at your feet, to feel the ever-present risk of injury in soccer. Shin guards are required wear at every level of the game. Yet, shin guards don’t protect against the sometimes dangerous slide tackles, red-card-worthy hip checks, hard cuts, and unexpected divots on fields that are less than World Cup quality. These uncontrollable aspects of the game all help make ankle sprains the most common injury in soccer, a sport full of power, finesse, and speed.
A game of risk
A study of the 2006 FIFA World Cup found there were roughly 12 ankle sprains per 1000 hours of play – that’s one injury every 2.5 games. Ankle sprains happen when a player’s foot rolls, overstretching and causing damage to the ankle’s ligaments. Lost playing time from a minor ankle sprain could be 1-2 weeks, while a full ligament tear takes months of rehabilitation.
Many believe that ankle protection isn’t possible in soccer because protection limits control and ankle mobility. But these overwhelming statistics do more than suggest that if players want to avoid injury and return to both safe and skilled play, ankle protection may be a great idea. Maybe it’s time to rethink what’s possible. What can a soccer player do to play both brilliantly and safely?
You have more options than you think
Taping is a popular practice for protecting against ankle sprains, but its effectiveness is questionable. Maximum protection can only be realized when tape is applied properly by a certified athletic trainer. Even when applied to professional standards, taping loses 18-83% of its ability to restrict ankle movement. After 45 minutes, tape loses nearly all of its effective protection.
Moisture and movement can make even the best tape job loose and ineffective.
Ankle braces, on the other hand, can reduce ankle sprains by 50-80% via ligament protection and continued support that keeps players on the field. Active Ankle makes bracing options designed with soccer mobility in mind. It’s a common misconception that ankle braces hinder athletic performance. When properly fitted and applied, braces and athletic performance go hand-in-hand, because when players are confident, they are unstoppable.
The key is selecting an ankle brace that fits each player’s unique body, ligament health, and style of play. Whether they’re recovering from an injury or would like to be proactive about protecting their ligaments, each player can use the Active Ankle brace that matches their current support needs and adjust according to their injury prevention and/or treatment plan.
Ankle sleeves provide maximum mobility on the soccer field with a moderate amount of support. The Active Ankle 329 High-Compression Ankle Sleeve is a low-profile option that uses compression to support ligaments, prevent swelling and keep the joint warm. It’s best used as a preventive brace for players with stronger ankles who’d like to retain total ankle control.
Players who need or want athletic taping find familiar support and mobility in lace-up braces, which maintain protection and are easier to adjust in-game. In fact, the integrated vertical straps in the Active Ankle AS1 Pro Brace will remind players of a taping heel-lock that stays put. These definitely reduce risk, but they don’t allow for full mobility, so each player should weigh that trade-off.
Rigid ankle braces deliver the highest degree of ligament protection. For years, they weren’t popular options for soccer players because they restricted mobility. That is, until the Active Ankle Eclipse I Brace hit the market. Designed with a single rigid upright (vs. the traditional double upright), this ankle brace protects against rolling while opening the inner ankle for greater ankle mobility. The Eclipse I works as a proactive support and becomes a go-to for players who need to train and play while still recovering from an ankle injury.
After all, missing playing time because of an ankle injury isn’t what your players have been training for, and you can’t afford to lose a player every 2.5 games. Don’t let your team become a statistic. Let them play with confidence and control by choosing the right ankle protection.