Ankle Roll Prevention different to Ankle Braces

Ankle Roll Prevention different to Ankle Braces

A new, patented cushioning technology now prevents ankle sprains by cushioning the ankle from an inversion or “roll”. Unlike a brace, it allows the user to retain ankle mobility while nevertheless offering protection against sprains. Recent research at the University of Wisconsin shows some assistance of an ankle brace, however, as Dr. Timothy A. McGuine states, they don’t offer complete protection: “Ankle braces could be a cost-effective way to prevent ankle injuries… ,” McGuine said. “But they’re not a panacea.” They also do not seem to reduce the severity of ankle injuries when they do occur. Once the ankle “goes,” McGuine said, “a brace may not do anything to limit the severity of the injury.”(1). There is also some inconclusive research that constricting the ankle with a brace could cause stress-related injuries to the knee. As the ankle begins an inversion and is constricted, the force and energy transfers to the knee.

One of the benefits of the new, cushioning technology is that it sits on the outside of the shoe (high or low top) and is completely adjustable by the user. As the ankle starts to invert at approximately 20-30 degrees, the cushion contacts the ground and prevents the ankle from completely inverting or rolling to the floor. This inversion past 30 degrees as been proven to cause ligament strain and or tearing. This technology also addresses the above reference to possible knee injuries as constriction by an ankle brace is not present, energy is transferred to the cushion upon inversion.

The other rare aspect of the cushioning technology is that it could be used in conjunction with a brace or tape during post-injury rehabilitation. Some athletes like the feel of a wrap around their ankles, especially after injury. The cushion would be additional protection from inversion or further injury. However, to continue or build strength in the ankle, especially after an injury, mobility may be required. Unlike a brace, cushioning from the outside of the shoe allows the ankle complete mobility. During rehabilitation of an ankle injury, mobility can be achieved while nevertheless maintaining protection for an unstable ankle inclined to inversion.

Cushioning technology is comparatively new compared to ankle braces; however, research studies are underway and the applications could be numerous in the area of high impact sports like basketball, volleyball, tennis, and trail running or post-ankle injury protection. Persons with ineffective or injured ankles or already the elderly could also assistance from this technology.

(1) American Journal of Sports Medicine, online July 27, 2011; Timothy A. McGuine, PhD, ATC, UW Health Sports Medicine Center, 621 Science excursion, Madison, WI 53711

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