The sport of basketball is demanding and fast-paced, and those who play the game need to be prepared for the challenges and demands that the sport puts on their body. Whether an individual is playing in a beginner league or at an elite level, all basketball players can be prone to injury if they’re not careful.
Basketball requires a lot of speed, jumping, and directional changes, and all of these can be cause for injury. Some players opt to wear ankle braces while they play in order to help cushion and support their ankles during physical activity.
According to a study by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, basketball players at the high school level who wore ankle braces had 68% fewer injuries than athletes who opted not to wear a brace.
If you’re not sure if ankle braces are your solution, consider the following ways that braces help in basketball:
- Minimizes Inflammation
There are a wide variety of ankle brace designs. Some are made with a lace-up design, while others have metal supports or none at all. Ankle braces that do not have any type of reinforcements are basic pull-on braces, which are generally used for compression.
These braces are more helpful once an ankle injury has already occurred, as they help to compress the area and keep swollen ankles at bay. This can be helpful for basketball players who have experienced recent injuries and who need to wear a more basic ankle brace until their injury can be further inspected.
- Provides Support
Basketball requires a lot of different changes in speed as well as direction. This can become very hard on the ankles, especially for those who are playing at more elite levels. Ankle braces that have reinforcements, such as lace ups or metal supports, help to minimize the chances of getting a rolled ankle when a player is bursting forward or changing direction.
- Prevents Inversion Sprains
One of the most common injuries is a rolled ankle; an inversion sprain, to be more precise. An inversion sprain is when the ankle rolls toward the sole of the foot, and the foot rolls inward. Basketball players with this injury can use ankle braces with metal or plastic supports on the outside of the foot.
This will stop the foot from becoming familiar with rolling in that direction and, ultimately, becoming weak over time. An ankle brace with support on the outside of the foot will help to avoid those common ankle rolls that can be career ending for many players.
- Prevents Eversion Sprains
Although not quite as popular, eversion sprains occur when the foot rolls outward, and the inside of the ankle feels pain. This kind of an injury can be helped by wearing an ankle brace with supports on the inside of the foot. This will discourage the ankle from rolling in that direction again.
For those who are worried about both types of sprains, many ankle braces with support on both sides of the brace can be very helpful in preventing more serious injuries in basketball players.
- Improves Stability
Some basketball players require help with their balance and stability while they’re out on the court. For very tall basketball players with a very high center of gravity, this is even more so. Ankle braces not only help prevent injury, but they can help with and improve the stability of a player as well.
Players may find that braces help them to play with more confidence and in a more natural manner, thereby avoiding injury from improper posture. It is important that basketball players try on a variety of braces in order to figure out what style will offer the best stability for their stature and needs.
For those who are very active on the basketball court, you might consider investing in ankle braces not only to heal injuries, but to prevent them as well. With all of the action and movement that is required in a sport like basketball, prevention is one of the best ways to ensure that you get to continue playing the sport you love for a very long time.
If you’ve purchased an ankle brace, but you need some help understanding the mechanics, make sure to check out this article about the proper way to fit on an ankle brace. The last thing you want is to wear your brace incorrectly and cause an injury to yourself! If you’re still not sure, consider heading into a sports medicine doctor to help you understand how to put on and remove your ankle brace safely.