ANKLE BRACES, PLANTAR FASCIITIS AND FOOT SUPPORTS
Ankle support is arguably the most common area for bracing in the field of sports medicine and ankle sprains are the most frequent examples of sports injury on the sports field.
Rolling the ankle, or "going over" on the ankle occurs when the ankle becomes twisted underneath the leg, creating a tear in the ligament known as an ankle sprain. This is known as an inversion, and commonly results in pain and swelling.
Individuals may be particularly prone to repeated ankle sprains, and the ankle muscles become weakened resulting in a generalised instability of the ankle joint. Repeated turning of the ankle can also cause cartilage damage so it is important that stability of the ankle is achieved.
An ankle support can be very useful in helping vulnerable patients and athletes, and as an alternative to the use of sports tape where taping techniques are not specifically known.
Different levels of support are available in ankle braces depending on the severity of the pain and nature of the ankle injury.
A level one sprain might require a neoprene wrap which is a step up from a tubular bandage, or the addition of supporting straps around a compression wrap as in the case of the PSB Sports Ankle Brace 8 or an introductory level Mueller Ankle Brace.
The addition of a splint to the ankle brace offers a greater degree of stability to the ankle and therefore is useful in athletes with chronic ankle instability.
These may be seen in marathon runners where ankle support for running may also require the use of orthotics along with a brace, or in Professional sport where tennis player Andy Murray can regular be seen wearing the Aircast A60 braces on each ankle.
One of the most common injuries to the foot and ankle is Plantar fasciitis. The Plantar Fascia, is a tough fibrous tissue which stretches from the heel to the lower part of the toes. Inflammation of this tissue is generally caused by damage to the underlying ligaments and is the most common cause of heel pain.
Plantar fasciitis treatment may include the use of braces and supports such as the Night splint or Strasburg sock, or the Aircast Airheel Support, but more commonly a podiatrist may treat these foot problems by suggesting the use of plantar fasciitis insoles, heel raisers or heel cups.
Although acupuncture, and anti-inflammatory pain killers are often used for foot pain, the most common treatment for Plantar Fasciitis is to perform stretching exercises to stretch the achilles tendon and plantar fascia. These should help resolve the condition in about 2 months. In some cases, surgery may be required.