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An ankle brace is often used to treat a twisted or sprained ankle. When an ankle is sprained it may swell, become stiff or tender, and may be painful to walk on. An ankle brace wraps around the ankle and uses compression to reduce swelling. It also provides stability by supporting the surrounding ligaments and muscles. An ankle brace is usually worn for a few weeks after a sprain, to help the foot function effectively while the ankle heals.
What to look for in ankle support
There are a few things to look for when choosing an ankle brace. For a mild sprain, an elastic bandage that wraps around the ankle may be all that is needed. Such a brace will compress the ankle to reduce swelling; however, it will not provide much support. For more severe sprains, additional support is necessary. In this case, look for a brace that completely surrounds the ankle and has a strap or laces that allow you to adjust the tightness of the brace.
Issues created by improper fit
It is important to find an ankle brace that fits properly and provides the right amount of support and compression. If an ankle sprain is mild, avoid using an ankle brace that is too restrictive. If the ankle is not able to move enough after a mild sprain, it may become weak and recovery will take longer.
Similarly, if an ankle sprain is severe, it is important to choose a brace that compresses the ankle and limits movement. If the ankle is able to move too much after a severe sprain, it may cause more damage and take longer to heal. Therefore, a brace used to treat a severe sprain should completely surround the ankle and have straps so the tightness of the brace can be adjusted. This will ensure that it provides enough stability.
If you're not sure what type of ankle brace will be most beneficial for you, consult your doctor.