I guess we all started looking for ankle support for running at some point. Running, without a doubt, can be your escape from a stressful day or your savior.
However, your runs can be interrupted by unexpected ankle pain, and you’re not alone. According to Yale School of Medicine research, 50% of frequent runners get injured each year.
So, keep reading to learn more about ankle protection!
Should I Wear Ankle Support for Running?
Ankle support is most commonly used by those more prone to injury. If you’re at a high risk of developing injuries, you should wear supports during your runs to limit the risk of ankle injuries.
People who are recovering from an injury also use ankle braces. They can wear ankle support for two to six weeks, depending on their injury. It helps significantly in the healing process.
Though, if you’ve never experienced ankle injuries while running, you don’t need to wear ankle support.
Why Should I Wear Ankle Support While Running?
If your runs are frequently cut short due to ankle pain, let me explain why wearing ankle support is a good idea.
You have a few natural factors that support your ankle. Your muscles, tendons, and ligaments are all forms of natural support that work together to keep your ankle stable.
Despite all the natural support, strains and sprains are two of the most common causes of pain associated with running. Usually, they’re both the result of a single traumatic injury.
- Strain: Occurs when a tendon or muscle is overstretched or torn.
- Sprain: It’s the same injury as a strain, except it affects your ligament.
While running, your body can lose stability since you rapidly shift your weight from one foot to the other.
Also, during trail running, you’ll notice that you’re running on uneven ground and different surfaces such as grass, mud, gravel, and so on.
Whether running on a smooth surface or up a hill, all it takes is a slip for your ankle to roll.
In addition to selecting a suitable pair of shoes, you’ll need extra support for your ankle. Yes, choosing the right pair of shoes is equally important.
Tip: First, you must ensure that this pair of shoes fit you well. Then consider whether it’s appropriate for the run you’re planning.
For example, if you’re going on a daily run, a regular running shoe will do it. But if you’re going trail running, you better grab a trail running shoe.
How Does Ankle Support Help in Running?
Now, here are a few examples of how wearing ankle braces gives you the needed extra support:
The ankle support limits the eversion (ankle moving outward) and inversion (ankle moving inward). Thus, it controls the range of motion of your feet.
In other words, it restricts foot movement and so protects your body from leaning its weight in the wrong direction.
With the right compression level, the ankle support will provide the necessary rest for your ligaments, bones, and muscles.
Therefore, it plays an essential role in easing pain and reducing swelling associated with ankle injuries. It also relieves plantar fasciitis while you are running or walking.
The tibial and fibular bones can separate as a result of injured tissues. This is a common yet severe ankle injury.
Ankle braces limit the likelihood of this occurring by reducing the ankle’s excessive and severe anatomical motion.
What Are the Different Types of Ankle Support?
Ankle supports are designed to provide you with the necessary support and flexibility. As a result, most ankle braces are made of mesh fabric for stretchiness.
In some cases, you’ll find metal or plastic inserted in the support ankle. I’ll discuss how to choose between ankle supports later. But for now, I’ll explain the two types of ankle braces that are available on the market:
Strap-on Ankle Support
This form of ankle support usually has an opening at the heel. That allows for better flexibility and a wider range of ankle movement.
Additionally, these supports come with straps. The amount of straps varies according to each brand. These straps are adjustable and provide compression for your feet to limit the ankle’s movement.
Ankle Compression Sleeve
As evident from the name, these are tight sleeves made of very elastic fabric. It’s worn over your feet, just like a sock.
By squeezing your muscles, this type of compression therapy stimulates blood circulation around the ankle. This, in turn, helps in reducing swelling and ankle pain.
How to Choose the Right Ankle Support?
I’ve narrowed down the list of reasons why you might need ankle support to the most common ones. I’ll also explain the types of support ankles that’ll go well with each one.
If you’re recovering from an ankle injury, you should search for adjustable ankle support. It has to be flexible so that you can apply pressure in accordance with your current healing stage.
You should also look for a model that allows minimal ankle movements to avoid further injury. That’s why ankle support with straps and metal/plastic is preferable in such cases.
If you have inflammation or swelling, you should search for a more stretchy model. In this scenario, a soft ankle compression sleeve will work just fine. As explained earlier, this type of support enhances blood circulation around your ankle.
Long runs bring a certain adrenaline rush that we all love. However, it’s necessary to use caution so that you don’t wind up weighing your body incorrectly on your ankle.
So, you’d better be prepared for such distance and pace. I’m sure you don’t want to be registered as one of the two million Americans who sprain their ankles each year!
Look for compression sleeves that are designed to massage your feet instead of causing friction when running. It has to be designed to comfortably fit your foot while maintaining the right level of compression.
We’ve gathered three of the most frequently asked questions about ankle pain and ankle supports. Here they are:
Q1: Can Ankle Support Weaken My Ankle?
If you overuse ankle support, it’ll negatively affect your ankle’s natural balance and strength. That’s why it’s not recommended to wear it when you’re not running or recovering from an injury.
Because if you do, your body will get used to a certain level of balance and support and will eventually rely on it.
Q2: How Tight Should Ankle Support Be?
The ankle brace should have a firm but not painful grip on your ankle. If the ankle support starts to hurt or make your foot tingly, try a bigger size or loosen the straps if it has them. Both the pain and the tingling are caused by a lack of blood circulation in your foot.
Q3: Can I Run on A Sore Ankle?
“In young athletes, in particular, pain is a sign that something’s wrong.” Dr. Mininder Kocher. Dr. Kocher goes on to explain how minor injuries can turn into more catastrophic ones just by ignoring the pain.
So, please stop running until the pain has gone. If the pain persists or worsens, you should seek medical help.
To Wrap Up
Getting ankle support for running is something worth thinking about. It’s like we’ve been given a free pass for safer and less painful runs.
There’s ankle support for every condition, so choose wisely and do your research before purchasing one. Remember, only wear it when necessary; otherwise, it’ll just make matters worse.
Now go enjoy your run and break a leg … figuratively speaking!