Injuries occur frequently in basketball, and the ankle is exposed to all kinds of knocks and sprains. Therefore, the use of ankle braces is always recommended because; performance and physical and healthy well-being on the court will depend on it.
In this article, we will provide you with information so that you can educate yourself before acquiring your compression garment, as we will develop topics in relation to the best compression ankle sleeves for basketball practice together with their characteristics and more, we will also expose the most frequent traumatisms in this discipline, due to the high risk that they have on the ankles.
What are the most common ankle injuries when playing basketball?
Basketball is characterised by being a sport of intensity, precision and physical strength, which requires very frequent movements accompanied by bending and jumping that all rest on the ankle because this joint supports many types of forces, plus its own weight.
Here are the most common ankle injuries in basketball:
Usually known as plantar flexion injury, which manifests itself in the player by the loss of the base of the joint, making it impossible to move the ankle and foot in general. It in turn generates painful sensations throughout the musculoskeletal part of the joint, further developing the trauma, which will be accompanied by swelling and loss of strength.
In basketball, it is one of the most commonly treated injuries, as it occurs frequently due to multiple high altitude jumps. For it to be generated in this way, it has to have been from an incline of 8 to 30 degrees which will define the severity of the ankle injury, requiring prompt attention.
Most basketball players have suffered from this type of injury at some time, as it is the most commonly treated by sports physiotherapists. It occurs after multiple intense jumps, poor foot support, falls, or twisting of the ankle. In basketball it is common because the discipline as such requires all kinds of jumps and runs without any premeditation, which immediately causes this type of accident.
An ankle sprain is an injury to a ligament that causes structural damage as a result of the forced movements required by the sport. Ligaments are stretched more than usual and can cause sprains of varying degrees of severity, although the most common in basketball is that of the external lateral ligament.
As explained above, basketball requires a high level of physical development both in training and in play. This injury is defined by the frequency of force, the exaggerated demands of exercises, jumps and sudden movements with repetition or efforts that the ankle is not used to, which causes inflammation, muscle strain, joint problems or bone wear and tear.
Basketball movements and passes are repeated frequently in the game, therefore this overuse trauma will appear at any time, especially if the joint has already been exposed to other types of injuries, or high intensity training. The ankle is the body’s weight-bearer, and although it provides a lot of strength, simultaneous stresses can wear it out, along with its balance.
Tendonitis of the ankle
Tendons are responsible for providing strength to our ankles. Therefore, ankle tendonitis occurs when the tendons become inflamed due to poor stretching, sudden movements and blows, or overloaded activity. In basketball, it is caused by jumping, or stretching from large-scale training, causing elongation of the tendons, which mostly rupture.
In the ankle, tendons are found in the posterior and anterior part, but the most frequent injury in basketball is located in the Achilles tendon, which is the most exposed to receive most of the blows. Its symptoms require specialist attention to assess the degree of intensity of the problem, which presents with pain, difficulty moving the joint, swelling and bulging of the tendons.
These occur when the athlete does not have good blood circulation, accompanied by poor ankle movements, which produces this ailment in a very intense form, immediately making it impossible for mobility and anchoring. At a physiotherapeutic level, it is stated that the changes of direction and jumps required by basketball affect the whole functioning of the ankle, and although cramp may be common, they are signs of fatigue and possible rupture of the ligaments, which is why it is advisable to suspend the practice of this sport.
What kind of sports ankle braces are best for basketball injuries?
In basketball, injuries are frequently seen, especially in the ankle. Therefore, it is important to wear ankle braces to avoid injuries that can affect physical activity, ligaments and even circulation. On the other hand, they also serve as protection so that the functioning of the ankle is perfect, and you can make all the movements and jumps without any problem.
Here are some recommendations:
Ankle compression sleeves
It was specially created to give pressure and strength to the ankle. Its elastic compression fabric helps bones and tendons to stay in place. As well as being adjustable, it is a very common ankle brace in basketball due to its protective capacity, which meets the objectives of preventing any injury, or malfunction of the tendons due to so much physical effort. Thanks to its elasticity, it can help in the recovery of sprain injuries as it requires pressure on the tendons and joints to return to their natural state.
Neoprene ankle brace
It is designed for athletes who come from some kind of injury or simply to stabilize the ankle area, thus helping to avoid any trauma when making changes of direction in basketball such as jumps and flexions, which usually brings with it many possibilities of accidents. This type of ankle brace guarantees an anatomical model that can be moulded to your ankle, to always give you the best results. At the same time, the neoprene and the stabilisation make the perfect contrast due to the high quality it offers, with increased protection to the affected area giving a feeling of pressure and warmth.
Bilateral ankle support
Two side plates provide maximum immobilisation of the ankle. At the same time, the joint is held together by the work of these plates. Its operation will make the basketball player obtain a balance in his ankle, accompanied by pressure and strength.
This garment facilitates flexion-extension and helps the basketball player to make these movements safely, avoiding the possibility of injury or joint breakage. Although it is recommended for post-operative or recovery processes, many basketball players use it when training, which requires less physical performance than regular games.
What features should you consider before choosing the best sports ankle brace for basketball?
To obtain a quality ankle brace that contributes to your performance, you must take into account a number of characteristics that will define the performance of the brace. At the same time, you must evaluate beyond the superficial, that is to say, its materials and the effects they can produce on the product and its objectives, the importance of the size and the difference between each one of them, among others.
Below, we present and detail a series of characteristics that you should take into account before making your purchase:
According to their function
Pain is the main symptom that appears after an injury, and in all cases of the ankle it usually makes movement impossible. Therefore, compression ankle braces are the most effective to reduce these discomforts due to the pressure they give, giving sensations of relief.
- Ankle braces with lateral plates: These are used to immobilise the ankle, accompanied by plates that are placed on the lateral sides of the ankle. In this way, they create a perfect harmony of the joints, relieving the pain caused by the blow or injury.
- Ankle supports with pads: Padded ankle supports are used for extra comfort. They also serve to cushion the falls and blows that may occur in the game, this will help to create a kind of protection for the ankles.
- Ankle stabilisation pads: Stability in the affected area of the ankle will help absolute recovery, as well as blocking those sudden movements that can affect you. Stabilising ankle stabilisers include:
- Hinged ankle braces: These are designed exclusively to help basketball athletes make a full recovery in post-operative cases. The hinges provide strength and stability to the ankles in a way that facilitates movement.
- Ankle supports for protection: It is important for basketball players because this type of protection will help them to perform safely in the sport, avoiding any type of injury. Either by: blows, falls or sudden movements.
The materials with which the ankle protectors are made define 80% of their performance, as well as the quality of which they are made. Therefore, it is important to evaluate all the characteristics that compose them before making the final decision and making your purchase. In a decade of so many advances, ankle braces have not been left behind. So you can get them in a variety of presentations, colours and with functional elements that adapt to your demands and needs.
Based on this, we explain two of the best ones:
- Neoprene: This is the most popular material for the manufacture of ankle braces, as it stands out for its resistance, comfort, flexibility and stability, but it does not provide breathability, which is its biggest and greatest disadvantage.
- Elastic fabric: This type of fabric is the perfect complement for compression ankle braces, joining in different percentages with neoprene. Its most outstanding characteristic is the great flexibility it possesses, being able to stretch completely without affecting its natural state, it also has breathable properties.
Type of support
The fastening is one of the most important components of the ankle braces, as this is the one that guarantees the security to hold the garment. Therefore, it is important to check the type of ankle support offered by the ankle braces. If you don’t pay attention, slipping may not have the expected effects.
Among the most commonly used types of fastening are:
- Velcro: It is a very common material in basketball ankle braces, due to its ease of adjustment, which is to close and open with the precision you want. This is a sport that needs a simple fastening so that they can be removed and put on in a short time.
- Hinges or valves: This type is recommended for orthopaedic recovery, and is intended to give a supportive hold. They are generally located on the sides of the ankles to give greater precision in the area.
The size of the ankle brace is as important as its function, therefore, you must have an exact measurement so that you do not have any kind of inconvenience because, if you choose a smaller or larger size, it will not perform the proper compression, preventing the achievement of your goals.
These compressive garments have become a sports fashion, so much so that their design could be a representative factor of your style and tastes on the court. Therefore, having a good and correct choice of design, together with the benefits they provide for the ankle, are of great importance to continue with your public image. There are many options, especially compression ankle braces or elastic ankle braces, with a range of colours, variety of models, shapes, materials and more.
The manufacture and execution of the ankle braces, are of high quality thought in every movement that you can develop when practicing basketball, with great comfort and flexibility so you do not feel that you have it in your body, while they do their job of protection, pain relief, among others. Therefore, its design provides greater security and confidence that are so necessary for the proper performance of this discipline.
Prices will vary depending on the type of ankle brace, its function and material, so you should make cost comparisons to choose the one that best suits your budget. It is worth noting that these vary for different types of ankle braces. Choosing excessively cheap prices does not ensure that the product is of the best quality or that it meets the minimum requirements and standards.
Do compression ankle sleeves really work in basketball?
Compression therapy is the essence for basketball, because as mentioned throughout the article, this sport demands a very frequent and hard physical performance, which will directly affect all joints and muscles, but specifically the ankles.
Compression ankle braces do work effectively, because they give a sense of security to prevent and recover from injuries, they also maintain balance, provide warmth, offer better blood circulation, reducing pain and swelling.
Many athletes, especially basketball players, choose this garment for their daily training sessions as well as for professional games. On the other hand, physiotherapists guarantee this technique as an element of recovery, because they are able to protect and maintain safe movement of joints, bones and normal blood circulation.