By Drew Zachary, PT
Ankle Braces Overview
The ankle joint is formed by 3 bones: the tibia and fibula of the lower leg and the foot’s talus. Functionally, the ankle joint is a hinge type joint that mainly moves in plantar flexion (pointing toes down) and dorsiflexion (pulling toes upward.) To restrict excessive inversion (toes inward) and eversion (toes outward) of the ankle, many tendons, muscles, and ligaments are present to stabilize the ankle joint.
Ankle Braces: Most Commonly Sprained Ligament
Without ankle stability, we put ourselves at risk of injuries such as sprains and strains of these tissues. The most commonly sprained ligament in the body is known as the anterior talofibular ligament of the ankle. It is usually injured during a motion that we refer to as “rolling the ankle.” This injury can cause many symptoms, including pain, swelling, and difficulty walking or putting weight through the foot. If you have experienced rolling your ankle and are having any of these symptoms, ankle braces may increase stability.
Your ankle muscles, tendons, and ligaments make up an internal support system, and if this is compromised, an ankle brace can serve as an external support system to limit the ankle’s motions that cause pain. These braces can be worn after an injury has occurred or to prevent an injury from occurring in the first place. Keep in mind, though, that a brace is not the end-all cure for ankle pains and sprains. You may want to consider a course of physical therapy to help guide your rehabilitation process, focusing on restoring balance, range of motion, strength, and full function. Along with using an ankle brace initially and following up with physical therapy if needed, you can expect a safer return to activity and prevention of injuries in the future.
**Refer to the information below regarding some common ankle injuries that may benefit from an ankle brace. JOI uses the ASO ankle brace at all of our centers.
Ankle Braces: What is the ATFL?
The anterior talofibular ligament is located outside the foot and is responsible for preventing excessive inversion. This ligament is commonly injured when the ankle is rolled outwards. An ankle brace can help stabilize the ankle joint following an ATFL sprain while the tissue heals.
What are the Peroneals?
The peroneals are a pair of muscles that run along the leg’s side and have tendons that cross the ankle. These tendons are also susceptible to injury after the ankle is rolled outwards. Your physical therapist may also recommend a brace following a peroneal strain.
What is the Deltoid Ligament?
The deltoid ligament is located towards the inside of the foot and is responsible for preventing the foot’s excessive eversion. This ligament is commonly injured when you roll your ankle inwards. This injury is less common than the ATFL and peroneals, but ankle braces may benefit external support following injury.
What does JOI have to offer?
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above and would like to see a physician regarding this, JOI offers 5 different MD locations, and they are located throughout the northeast Florida area. You can obtain an ASO Ankle Brace at any of the JOI and JOI Rehab Centers.
Please call JOI-2000, schedule online, or click if you would like to schedule an orthopedic consultation with one of our world-class orthopaedic physicians.
By: Drew Zachary