Shoes, Braces or Tape: What's the Best Way to Support Your Ankles During Exercise

Shoes, Braces or Tape: What's the Best Way to Support Your Ankles During Exercise

Ankle sprains are extremely common, affecting some 2 million people every year. Ankle sprains or other ankle injuries often leave lingering effects, including chronic ankle instability. 

At Intermountain Foot & Ankle Associates in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Kerry Berg, DPM, specializes in ankle sprains and other ankle injuries. She suggests you support your ankles when you exercise, especially if you are prone to ankle instability. Here’s her thoughts on when to use shoes, braces, or tape for ankle support. 

Shoe choice is important

You should always wear the right type of shoe for your activity. Each sport has a specific shoe design that supports and allows for the relevant movements. For example, a basketball shoe allows for quick pivots and turns, while a road running shoe has heel cushioning for impact, but isn’t made for side-to-side actions or quick turns. 

You may think a high-top shoe design makes sense when it comes to supporting your ankle. But these shoes aren’t always your best option. Your ankle may feel more stable, but research is still inconclusive as to whether a high-top design actually prevents sprains. 

Ultimately, get a shoe that fits well and matches your chosen exercise. If you do play basketball, a high-top may indeed make the most sense. But, in other sports, like running, you want a more supportive cushioned heel and would do better with braces or taping for ankle support. 

Whatever your shoe choice, make sure they fit snugly and are tied tightly. 

The case for taping

Taping is particularly helpful if you’re healing from a sprain or have a weak or unstable ankle.  We may tape your ankle to help reduce any swelling that lingers after your injury. Taping also provides external stabilization to the ligaments that stretched during injury and gives them support while they heal. 

Once you return to full activity levels, wrapping or taping your ankle provides increased support, enhances circulation, and helps remind you that your ankle is an area of which to be mindful.

Bracing is convenient

Bracing is an easy way to support a weak ankle. Look for braces that are snug, but not so tight that they interfere with blood flow. 

We can recommend the best sports braces for your ankle; many are available in pharmacies and drug stores. Braces provide great support for your ankle and can help prevent ankle sprains, but won’t guarantee you’ll never suffer injury. 

Recovery matters

If you’re looking for a way to support your ankle following an injury, make sure you’re cleared before even considering exercise. If you reinjure your ankle or are feeling pain while you train, it’s possible your ankle wasn’t fully rehabilitated. 

When Dr. Berg treats ankle injuries, she prescribes progressive physical therapy exercises that build balance, restore your range of motion, and improve your ankle’s strength before you head back to all your activities. If you don’t rehabilitate and heal properly, you’re at far greater risk of reinjury.

If you have an ankle injury, or any foot concern, contact Intermountain Foot & Ankle Associates to get superior podiatric care. Call today to set up a consultation. Alternatively, use this website to set up your appointment. 

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