Best Ankle Braces for Sprain and Injury
The ankle braces market is wide and varied. Within that range are some very good products that provide relief for sprains and injury, some that help you be better at sports, and others that are less than ideal. Sorting the good from the bad is vital if you’re going to get the protection your ankles deserve, and if you wish to help them heal as soon as possible. In this article, we zoom in on the best ankle braces for sprains and injuries on the 2019 market.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 10 hours of research:
Nonslip silicone footbed
Easy pull-on finger tabs
- Shock Doctor 849 Ultra Gel
- Active Ankles T2
- Shock Doctor 851
- Bioskin Trilok
- ASO Stabilizer
- ACE Deluxe
- Mueller HG80 Rigid
- Aircast A60
- ASO Speed Lacer
- SS SLEEVE STARS
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Expert Interviews & Opinions
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best 10 Ankle Braces for Sprain or Injury
1. Shock Doctor 849 Ultra Gel
Nonslip silicone footbed
Easy pull-on finger tabs
Laces Lose Tension
The Shock Doctor 849 Ultra Gel provides an extremely secure footing base by way of a nonslip silicone sole. This gives you the confidence to move on the sports field without impedance. You get Maximum Level 3 stability with this brace so that it is ideal for ligament sprains and joint instability.Read more
The Shock Doctor 849 Ultra Gel is a lace-up brace which provides a high level of compression to allow for faster nutrient and oxygen supply to the affected area. It also features gel packs which have been strategically located around the brace to deliver unprecedented protection for your injured area. You are in control of the tension and compression by way of a compression wrap looping system.
2. Active Ankles T2
Performance hinge design
Built-in EVA Padding
Complete range of motion
The Active Ankles T2 features EVA padding which provides a very comfortable fit. The lightweight, durable material has anti-moisture properties, as well as the ability to alleviate odor and sweat build-up problems. It will not slip down or bunch up during exercise.Read more
The Active Ankles T2 brace has a single strap system that provides a high level of tension and support while also providing freedom of movement through the heel and ankle. The bi-lateral hinge design of this brace provides for medial/lateral motion so you can continue to play sport without impairment. At the same time, it provides rigid, secure protection and support. The single strap design allows for fast on and off application.
3. Shock Doctor 851
Level 3 Protection
Poorly done seams
The 851, one more gem from Shock Doctor, is a super sturdy brace that has a unique silicone pattern which acts as a grippy surface that keeps the brace where it's meant to be, no bunching up! This brace has a great combination of both a lace-up system and velcro straps, for extra ways to support your ankle.Read more
The wrap-up straps are adjustable, so you can change the level of compression you get from them any time you wish. There are an anatomical footbed present and an open heel as well, giving your feet all the comfort in the world, and the breathability that keeps sweat and bacteria at bay. The tongue is pre-curved and the design is ergonomic, so don't worry about feeling discomfort when wearing these braces. The brace is very easy to put on and off, thanks to the low profile lacing loops. This brace is ideal for you if you've got a moderate to severe injury, as it will promote healing like a champ!
4. Bioskin Trilok
Ultima 2 fabric
Breathable and thin
A little bulky
The Bioskin Trilok brace is made from high grade patented Ultima 2 fabric. This is a lace-free brace, meaning that you are able to get it on and off far more quickly. The velcro strapping system is high quality, giving you confidence that it will not lose its grip after a few months.Read more
The Bioksin Trilok Ankle brace provides superior support for people who have injured the plantar fascia. A patented Footlok strap design provides a maximum level of protection and support without restricting natural motion. A pair of straps enhance stability around the mid and rearfoot. The combination of the foot locking mechanism and stability straps prevents foot inversion and eversion issues when walking or running.
5. ASO Stabilizer
Figure 8 design
Elastic cuff closure
The ASO Ankle Stabilizer has a low profile design and is lightweight and breathable. It is a bilateral brace, so you can wear it on the right or left foot. This support has anti-moisture and anti-odor properties. The ballistic nylon construction is both durable and strong.Read more
The ASO Ankle Stabilizer is a Figure 8 strap based brace that gives you a high level of tension and compression. This provides you with enhanced blood flow to the area for faster nutrient and oxygen supply to the injured area of the ankle. The brace features an elastic cuff closure that boosts the support it provides. A lacing system adds a very secure closure that allows you to control the tension level provided.
6. ACE Deluxe
Open heel design
Breathable And Lightweight
Sizing Is Off
The ACE Ankle Deluxe puts the user in control of the tension level with adjustable closures. This is a form-fitting, lightweight support that easily works in with your normal footwear. It wicks away sweat and prevents odor build-up.Read more
The ACE Ankle Deluxe stabilizer brace is a minimalistic sleeve that is easy to take on and off. It has an open heel design, making it very motion friendly while also being breathable and airy. Side stays are provided to keep the ankle properly aligned as it moves, helping to overcome such common causes of injury as rollover, inversion, and eversion. This makes it ideal for playing sport while you are recovering from an injury.
7. Mueller HG80 Rigid
Interior cushioning aircast air cells
Figure 8 strapping design
The Mueller HG80 features unique interior cushioning aircast cells that provide your injured ankle with superior protection and comfort. This is coupled with the moisture-wicking comfort of the fabric, which ensures that the area doesn’t overheat and become sweat-soaked. You also get a convenient carry bag when you buy this product.Read more
The Mueller HG80 ankle brace makes use of a dynamic criss-cross figure 8 strapping system to provide the highest level of compression and support to protect and stabilize the heel and ankle. This gives you the same level of tension that you get from applying wrapping tape. This product is made from a unique material known as HydraCinn high-performance fabric. This is an extremely flexible yet durable material that is also very comfortable.
8. Aircast A60
One strap closure system
60-degree side stabilizers
Lightweight and Breathable
Tricky to lace-up
The Aircast A60 brace has a low profile and is lightweight and breathable. It has an easy feel and allows for air circulation to prevent over-heating and moisture build-up. The Aircast A60 ankle brace features a single strap bracing system.Read more
This gives you an easy on/off system that provides you with a very secure level of protection. Side stabilizers have been placed at 60-degree angles to provide the best side support to ensure lateral/medial security. This brace provides Level 2 ankle protection, making it ideal for people with mild to medium ankle injury or those who are chronic over or under pronators.
9. ASO Speed Lacer
Fast On/Off Application
Plastic Cuff Enclosure
Sizing Chart Is Unreliable
The ASO speed lacer does the deserve the name it has, thanks to the quick and effortless on and off it provides. The support can be taken off in mere seconds, so there's no need to struggle and hurt your fingers trying to tighten and secure the brace to your feet.Read more
The stabilizing wraps follow figure 8, which has been proven to be the most helpful time after time. A plastic cuff along the top gives the brace more stability, making it rigid and super supportive. The cuff improves compression, increasing blood flow and promoting healing. The materials are breathable and lightweight, making the boot dry and fresh as long as you wear it. The brace is not chunky,m so you can wear it with almost every shoe model!
10. SS SLEEVE STARS
Extra Compression Strap
Before we get to the details of these braces, we should first mention that they are not made for moderate and serious injuries. Although they will provide you with some degree of support, it just won't be enough to help heal more serious injuries, so choose these sleeves if you have a minor injury or if you need prevention not healing!Read more
If you suffer from plantar fasciitis though, be sure that these braces will soothe the symptoms and provide you with pain-free days. It was specifically designed to help with this condition, and that can be seen from the specific design these braces have. The fingers and the ball of the foot are completely open, which fights away those nasty symptoms and also gives your feet the chance to breathe. You can wear these braces when you exercise as well, and it's all thanks to their stretchy construction!
Criteria Used for Evaluation
You're looking for braces that can help you with sprains and injuries, and you will definitely find what you're looking for because most braces out there were made to help with sprains and injuries. Ankle braces have been around since the 1990s, and this is when they started to gain popularity, thanks to the improved design and budget-friendliness, at least when compared with kinesiology tapes. These days you can find all sorts of ankle braces, even brands that make sport-specific braces. No matter what they look like and who made them, the main purpose of braces is to prevent injuries and help them heal faster.
More and more people are starting to use ankle braces to heal injuries, and doctors have started recommending them as well, so you can't go wrong in using braces to help you heal. If you're in high school or still have developing bones and tissues, an ankle brace can act as support to those stretchy structures and keep your ankles in check. Your ankles are made out of ligaments, tendons, bones, and muscles, which all work together to keep you moving. These structures then synchronize with your knees and hips and every piece of tissue that surrounds them, which is why a sprained ankle can sometimes cause your whole leg to hurt, and why it's important to take good care of them. Ankle braces limit the movement of your ankles, more or less, and keep them safe from inversion and eversions, while providing you with spatial awareness. If you want maximum performance out of them, wear them inside shoes while you go about your day to stay safe all day long. If you still feel pain after wearing a brace to heal, it's likely that you didn't use it long enough or that you might need rehab! Your ankles won't be the same after an injury, and you will need to help them feel better with therapeutical exercises and rest, so make sure you follow through and you won't have any issues with your ankles after that!
Ankle braces are very popular and recommended by physicians for a reason. If you ever had to wear a brace before, you probably already know just how good they are, but if you never saw them before, you might wonder just how a brace can fix your injury. Different brace styles give different results, and you will first need to select the right model, but more on that later. You will need to wear the brace for six weeks, more or less, in order to let your ankle heal up completely. This is a very important step, and if you fail to do this you might think that braces are not effective, which is not the reality. You have to have the brace on as long as there are symptoms of an injury present, so if you see swelling, pain, or redness, you will still have to wear the brace.
Braces work like compression socks do, with some added benefits of the extra support. Braces will promote more healing to your ankles, thus giving your injuries more fresh blood to draw oxygen and other nutrients from, which in turn speed up recovery. If you have a minor injury, you won't need to wear extra supportive braces. Depending on how you hurt your ankle, the brace will need to support your whole ankle or just one side at a time, or you might need braces that have rigid frames which do the job injured ligaments and tendons cannot, helping them heal faster.
What ankle braces are made out of says a lot about them. The material choice affects breathability, the fit, support, durability, compression, and many more factors that all play a role in your healing process. Ankle braces which have low to almost no air permeability will not be helpful, because they will promote sweating and bad odors, and you might want to stop wearing them which is a bad idea if you're injured. The brace will not fit you well, nor will it compress your injury at all. And lastly, the brace won't be able to withstand constant wear and tear damage and it might fail you before you're healthy, and that is the last thing you need!
Most of the times, ankle braces are made out of nylon, spandex, polyester or neoprene, although more material choices can be seen. These materials are usually mixed together in ways unique to every brand, and they all claim that their blend is the best. We can't certainly know which one truly is the best, but we can tell you what you need to look out for. First, remember that every material we mentioned here is synthetic, or man-made, and they are all derived from plastic, in one way or another. This does not make them inherently bad, and do not be afraid to wear it around your ankles! Plastic can be manipulated in many ways, and you can see that by noticing how different these materials act even though their source is the same. Nylon is light and stretchy, but not so durable, which is why it needs the help of polyester or spandex. Spandex is extremely stretchy and compressive, and it's the one which provides you with lightweight support. Neoprene is firm and supportive, and very durable, but it does not breathe all that well, so it can't work great alone. This is why you must always look for a good material blend. Some braces have plastic or even metal element. These hardcore braces are made to help you with moderate and severe injuries. These materials will make the braces heavier, but you won't exactly need to jump and run while having them on so don't worry about that!
One important thing that all braces share is the support they provide you with when you are injured. The level of support can vary, but you won't find an ankle brace out there that is not supportive in any way. You must remember to make the right brace choice when it comes to the support you may eventually need. Braces can allow you to move just as well as when you don't have them o, or they can completely stop your ankles from moving, which is exactly what you need when you're injured in order to let your ankles heal up nicely.
The material choice determines how supportive the brace is, before everything else. Spandex braces, the ones that look like compressive socks, are made for sports and are just what you need if you crave that little bit of extra support and love that keeps you safe from hurt. Hinged braces are also great for sports, but they do give you more support than ankle sleeves. If the brace has any extra closure systems, like lace-up braces, figure 8 wraps or frames, expect to feel moderate to extreme levels of support, nearing immobilization. These braces are just what you need to help your injured ankles heal faster and better. You can change the level of support and compression these braces provide you with because the laces and wraps can be easily adjusted to your liking. So the better your ankles feel, the less support you will need, and you will simply readjust the closure system to change it, no need to buy all new braces!
Ankle braces do come in a big variety of styles, although it may not seem that way. This is necessary because one brace style cannot give the same benefits to injured people and people looking for ways to prevent injuries. Every brace model has its own set of pros and cons, like the amount of support they can provide you with, the fit, the size, and much more. You will need braces made for injuries, and luckily the market is filled with braces made to speed healing up. These braces either have wrap-up straps, following the shape of the number 8, or they have laces and various cushions that keep your foot secure and in place. You won't help your ankles heal with braces that have no means of supporting you, so look for models that immobilize the ankles to some degree.
Braces that have plastic and metal frames are the best for serious injuries. The frame will replace your tendons and ligaments, allowing them to take a break. you will not need these braces if you're not really hurt though because these elements can dig into the hurt tissue and cause more pain than not. If you're hurt but want to play sports, go for hinged braces, after your ankle is healed up of course. Hinged braces keep the stretched out tissues in place while giving you all the freedom of movement you may need when playing sports. Your recovery will depend on the brace model, so make sure you've chosen the right one for your needs!
Expert Interviews & Opinions
If you're wearing the braces to promote healing, this isn't something you should worry about since you won't walk around that much. Their weight does matter though if you want to exercise while wearing them, or if you're in the final stages of recovery and can handle walking. A heavy brace can negatively affect your performance and healing process! The weight of the brace is determined by its construction. If the brace is simple and has no extra elements, do not worry about it being too heavy. If it has a metal or plastic frame, or any element that is not made out of lightweight materials like nylon or polyester, expect to feel its weight!
You will need to wear your brace every minute of the day for six weeks or so, so it's imperative that they can withstand that. The brace must be able to survive a lot of abuse, especially when you adjust the laces and wraps. If they give in you lose the precious support, and the brace is rendered useless. The brace will absorb all the impact when you walk while trying to resist the tightness of your footwear at the same time. If the brace was poorly constructed, it will give in and you will have nothing to help you heal. Make sure to find braces made out of great material blends and reinforced stitches, and you won't be left without help!
Other Factors to Consider
The top-performing ankle brace for sprained ankles is the Shock Doctor 849 Ultra Gel, delivering superior protection with its unique gel cushioning system and nonslip silicone footbed. Our favorite brace for a high ankle sprain is the Active Ankles A2, featuring a patented high-performance hinge design for maximum mobility and stability. The best compression sleeve is the Shock Doctor 851.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: How do I care for my ankle braces?
Remember to air them out as often as you can, most preferably every time you're done using them. This prevents smell and sweat build-up, and keeps you fresh and smelling good for a longer time. Do not forget to wash either! If you can't wash them yourself due to injuries, find someone to help you because it's very important that they remain clean. You either wash them by hand or in a machine, depending on what the manufacturer stated, Air dry them after you're done with washing them, and never leave them out in the Sun or in the dryer!
q: Can I exercise while wearing these braces?
Well, that all depends on the model. Some braces were made for exercising, some were made for helping injuries heal faster, while others are a combination of both. If you've got the right model on, you can probably work out while wearing them without any issues. Hinged braces and sleeves are ideal for exercising, while lace-up and wrap-around laces are better for healing. Just remember to wear the right type and you won't have any issues!
q: Should wearing ankle braces hurt?
Ankle braces should never cause additional pain! The only pain you should be feeling is the one caused by your injury, but that pain should be lessened as well. The most common culprit is the wrong size. Make sure you've found the right size for you and you shouldn't feel any pain or numbness. Remember to wear socks underneath the braces as well, because they could be digging into your pain and causing more trouble than help!
q: Shoul I wear braces on both of my feet?
There really is no need to do this if only one of your ankles has an injury. If you somehow hurt both of your feet, then go ahead! Or if you wanted to exercise while wearing braces, you will have more benefits while wearing braces on both of your feet. Remember that the braces made for injuries are almost never sold in pairs, so you will need to buy two if you want two of them!
q: Can I wear a brace if I have no injuries?
Sure, there are a lot of braces out there made for preventing injuries and improving performance, so there's no reason why you shouldn't wear them if you're perfectly healthy. Make sure that you have the right model for your needs and reap all the benefits braces can provide you with!