Bracing and Strapping – What works?
The main idea of using and ankle brace is to prevent the ankle from spraining - which is one of the most common injuries we see.
Firstly some general rules:
- Don’t believe what is written. Many braces are useless and claim to do things that they don’t do.
- Buying an off the shelf brace is really not a good idea.Get it professionally fitted. If it doesn’t fit properly it may not even work or may be unwearable.
- Make sure you understand what your problem is. The brace must also match the injury. It is no good just wanting a knee brace for example. There are over 6 different bracing options for the knee each requiring a professional assessment.
- For every brace there is a strapping option. What is best for you needs to be discussed with an expert.
- Strapping requires skill, and is not effective if poorly applied
Some common braces are:
Ankle Braces. The main idea of using and ankle brace is to prevent the ankle from spraining which is one of the most common injuries we see. The lateral ligaments are the most commonly involved. Using a good quality brace or using correctly applied sports-tape is very effective at preventing injury from occurring. We recommend the ASO brace for its ease of application, comfort and effectiveness. If you have ever sprained your ankle or feel that your ankle rolls easily using a brace or learning to tape may well be the solution.
Knee Braces. The knee is a complex structure and whether or not bracing or strapping can be effective depends on several factors including
- What structure has been injured?
- How severe is the injury,
- What sport is the person playing?
Choosing a brace is not a decision you should make for yourself here. There are braces effective for a variety of conditions including ligament injuries (ACL, medial and lateral ligaments) and certain forms of pain at the front of the knee such as patella-femoral pain.
Back Braces. These can be fantastic for relieving back pain and can help prevent pain, especially with bending activities. However not every brace is good for every back, and again you risk wasting your money or even worsening your problem if the choice is wrong.