The most common ankle injury seen in sports medicine clinics are inversion ankle injuries. Inversion ankle sprains can injure and tear the anterior talofibular ligament, the calcaneofibular ligament, and the posterior talofibular ligament. Ankle braces are typically used to help prevent excess motion and prevent inversion and eversion of the ankle joint. Ankle support braces that cover more of the forefoot will decrease plantarflexion of the ankle and can lead to decreases in athletic performance. As a result, there has been a gain in popularity of the lace up ankle brace.
A lace up ankle brace has been found to decrease the incidence of ankle sprains from 1.41 to 0.47 injuries per 1000 events. A study on ankle sprains found that there was a 61% reduction in ankle sprain incidence in high school football players who wore a lace up ankle brace. There have also been hypotheses that a lace up ankle brace can affect knee dynamics. A study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, found that a lace up ankle brace can increase knee internal rotation by 1.9 degrees. However, the significance of this is not clear currently. Further studies have shown that there is an increase in knee flexion at initial contact with the ground when a lace up ankle brace is worn.
The lace up ankle brace can also be used in the treatment of acute ankle sprains. Multiple studies have assessed changes in knee dynamics and sport performance with use of an ankle support brace. With changes in knee dynamics and sports performance, more studies are needed.
For more information about lace up ankle braces and other treatment options for ankle sprains, contact Insight Orthopedics & Sports Medicine to schedule an appointment.
McGuine, Timothy A., et al. “The Effect of Lace-up Ankle Braces on Injury Rates in High School Football Players.” The American Journal of Sports Medicine, vol. 40, no. 1, Jan. 2012, pp. 49–57. PubMed Central, https://doi.org/10.1177/0363546511422332.