As a sport, basketball is full of action. Players are constantly running around, dribbling the ball and jumping to block a shot. All these moves require constant and quick feet movement, applying a great amount of pressure on the players knees and ankles. This is the reason why ankle and knee injuries are most common in among basketball players.
When a player falls off and accidentally twists his ankle, it results in a sprain. Symptoms include bruising, swelling, stiffness and pain in the region. Sometimes, in severe cases, the injured player is unable to walk or even endure the weight. In such extreme cases, ankle braces are of no use as the player has to rest or go through surgery and recuperation before he can take up the sport again.
Players either use ankle braces or tapes to prevent ankle injuries. While the braces are comparatively better and specifically designed for use, tapes can be a little uncomfortable,especially for players who do not know how to use them. However, it is the players' decision ultimately to choose either of the two options.
Ankles are probably the most underrated part of a person's feet even though they support the whole body weight. Post injury, ankles are unable to support weight and ironically require support themselves. Ankle braces are designed to support a persons upper body weight so that ankles have less burden on them. This additional support on the ankles helps a player to recover quickly from an injury. Some players, though, have complained about the extra weight and friction which comes along with the brace, but sadly there is no other option to recover quickly from an ankle injury.
Range for Each Brace
Specialized braces meant for basketball players are available in three different types depending on the extent of the injury. A mild support brace is made for mild sprain or pain in the ankles. When ligaments holding the ankle joints are overstretched, is causes the pain. Signs of this include swelling and restricted movement of the ankle. The person is able recover in about 1 to 2 weeks.
Second degree sprains require moderate support. This is perhaps the most common type players face, and is caused by a torn ligament resulting in swelling or stiffness around the ankle joint. The ankle loses its weight bearing ability, and the person would find it tough to walk. Symptoms of this type of sprain could be severe swelling, loss of motion to a certain extent, and some amount of pain. Recovery can take about 2 to 4 weeks.
The worst and the most rare of all sprains is of the third degree type. It is caused due to a damaged ligament, and the symptoms include heavy swelling, total or extreme loss of motion, and severe pain. It is advised that anyone suffering from these symptoms should seek medical assistance right away. The recovery period can last for 3 months to a year.
Selecting the Right Brace
Other than recovering from injuries, braces also serve the purpose of preventing the injury. This is the reason players having weak ankles or a slight doubt about the reliability of their ankles, wear braces as a precaution.
The brace should fit the player under his shoe. For this purpose, it is important that the person wears basketball sneakers when he goes shopping for braces and try them on with the shoes. Fitting is generally not a major problem as the braces come with adjustable Velcro straps.
Braces available in the market are of various brands, and are priced accordingly. There may be cheaper options available but the important aspect here is the quality of the product. Do some research and ask people around about the different brands, before deciding on one.
There is no standard size chart when it comes to the size of the braces. Different brands will have slight variations in sizes and hence becomes invariable to try the braces on before buying. They should not be loose as it won't be effective at all, and tight ones tend to block blood circulation in the particular region. The right ankle brace should be able to protect and provide support to the upper ankle as well.
Ankle braces are available either with lace or Velcro. Braces with lace are supposed to be long-lasting but call for frequent adjustments. Braces with Velcro are the more preferred choice as they are more effective in protecting the ankle and are easy to use as well.
Considering the number of serious ankle injuries happening every year, ankle braces are rated highly among all players when it comes to safety of their ankles. Using them while playing does reduces chances of a major injury by a long way.