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To Ankle Brace Or Not To Ankle Brace?

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I attended the USAV sponsored Strength and Conditioning 101 Webinar last night, and it was well worth the time and money. At the end of

the presentation, there as a brief Q&A session, and the question was raised about whether players (no age or gender specified, but the talk had been mostly about National team women) should wear ankle braces if they had not been previously injured. Jill Wosmet, MA, ATC, and trainer for the USA Women's National Volleyball team, answered the question with a definite No! She felt that wearing the braces without previous injury, as simple a preventative measure was not a good idea as it weakened the ankle... and might cause more harm in the form of a fracture above the brace. As a middle school and club coach, over the last few years I've gotten more and more convinced that they were a good idea if taken only from the view of injury prevention. I believe in them strongly enough to see that even my 11 year old grand daughter is wearing them in games and practices, and she's 700 miles away!

So, what do you think? Do you wait until your player has rolled an ankle and is out for weeks before you consider an Active Ankle or similar device? Or, do you work on strengthing the ankle joint and work on movement mechanics to prevent injury? Or maybe combine the two somehow?

I do intend to get back with Jill and see if she will expand on her explanation. If so, I'll let you know.

Hope to hear from you.


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Coaching Youth Fooball - Football Plays

I agree with the trainer. I recall my days of playing sports and getting the occasional ankle injury. At some point I was wearing high top sneakers and they definitely protected my ankles but at the same I remember them also making them weaker. Almost like creating a dependence on them. With my son and whoever I advise or coach at this age (12) I highly recommend low tops for every sport. You see kids his age wearing high tops for basketball and football but unless they have previous ankle problems I think it is a mistake. Not only does it create a dependence, but it also slows them down since high tops are restrictive. I watch my boy and his buddies play basketball and at 12 I don't think the game is very much up and down at this point which is where you would most likely turn an ankle (coming down on someones foot). I will likely change my mind as they get older and the game becomes much more vertical. But I would think your 11 year old girl volleyball players would be in the same category of my son with regards to their limited up and down at this point.

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I guess I would say it comes down to the individual person. I have never wore them when I played in high school and even now at the age of 46 don't wear them, although there have been times when I have come down on someone else's foot when play basketball recently that I had wished I had them on.

On the other hand i know people who have worn them religiously since they were young and would make the arguement like you John, that all players should always wear them.

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Orange and Holland,

Thanks for the input. It seems that this subject has gotten more scientific thought and research than I would have thought. In the last month I have reviewed about 2 dozen research articles on the subject and have found the information very interesting. I used only two search questions (at first) to see what I could find on the subject: "to brace or not to brace?", and "ankle taping vs ankle bracing". I'm sure that there are many other ways of asking the question, but these two provided a seemingly adequate starting point. I will agree that the second one sounds like it is bias in favor of doing one or the other, and excludes doing neither, but the articles themselves I think that care of removing that. If this discussion is of real interest to you, I'd like to ask that you do a search of your own then come back with your conclusions. Like the discussion on stretching before warming up, I think those of us who are passing the game on to others need to be familiar with the current literature on our sport. For my part, I have also gotten a pair of Active Ankle T2's and have worn them at practice and in games over the past month just so I could evaluate them in the most objective way I can. (so time ago I bought some compression pants, but that's as close to Spandex as I'll ever get! At 67 that's a little more foolish than even I'm willing to look:)

Anyway, thanks again for the replies and any future thoughts on the subject.


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