7 Benefits of a Sports Ankle Brace for Runners

Lateral ankle sprains are common injuries that affect the performance of a runner. In some instances, the impact can even dislocate or damage the joint. Read further to know about the benefits of using a sports ankle brace for runners with an ankle injury.

Related: Best Ankle Brace for Running

Benefits of sports ankle brace for runners and athletes

Legs absorb the most amount of shock between the ground and the feet when a person runs. As a result, there is a lot of strain on the ankles while running resulting in knee pain and injuries. Ankle sprains are quite common when a person is running on uneven surfaces. Similarly, soccer players also suffer from ankle injuries due to frequent kicking, change of direction, and running. Injuries also occur due to collisions with other players. 

  1. Some runners suffer from chronic ankle instability, making them feel unsteady while running. In such circumstances, ankle braces offer additional stability. Runners also get more support and compression when they use ankle braces, keeping their joints healthy. The use of a sports ankle brace also alleviates pain in the ankle joint and knee.
  2. A supportive sports ankle brace is beneficial for curing chronic ankle inflammations and injuries. In addition, continuous use of an ankle brace can help treat conditions like plantar fasciitis, tendon tears, ankle sprains, and posterior tibial tendon dysfunction. 
  3. Ankle braces that feature additional structural support and foot straps offer better stability to the athletes. Some runners also prefer to use ankle wraps or sleeves that fit perfectly inside running shoes and help distribute an impact evenly. All runners receive continuous shock on the ankles while running, resulting in stress factors if they do not use any structural support.
  1. Using supportive ankle braces can help treat injuries on the ground. It restricts the movement of the ankle and keeps it in proper positions to help avoid ankle injuries. Ankle Brace that features rigid and bilateral hinges help treat lateral and medial ankle sprains. 
  2. The function of a lace-up ankle brace is also similar. These support and stabilize the ankle and keep the movement within set limits. The support is not that rigid and offers more medial and lateral support. These are specially designed braces that are typically worn inside footwear. The use of ankle braces even allows runners to return to their practice even after an injury. 
  3. Some runners prefer to use socks for compression sleeves to treat chronic conditions like tendonitis and plantar fasciitis. Such types of ankle braces are highly effective for the treatment of severe sprains and alleviating pain. 
  4. Ankle injuries are common in runners. Repetitive stress exerts a significant amount of force on the ankle. Therefore, the periodic use of ankle braces is a must for running enthusiasts. Ankle braces with additional support and padded interiors offer maximum protection against ankle injuries. Ankle braces with offset bilateral hinges and strapping systems are most suitable for runners recovering from injuries.. 

Why is your ankle important?

The ankle is a type of hinge joint that comprises three different bones, nerves, blood vessels, ligaments, cartilage, and tendons. It also serves as a shock absorber for painless movement. All the structures are held together with the ligament that keeps the foot bones attached. This entire structure must work together with blood vessels and nerves to ensure the proper functioning of the lower leg, feet, and ankles.

Ankle sprains

Ankle sprains are pretty common among runners during a practice session or a competition. Sport ankle braces prevent ankle sprains and also restrict inversion and eversion. Ankle braces also reduce the operating range of the ankle joint, which sometimes directly affects an athlete’s performance. 

Statistical data indicates that around 24% of injuries suffered by runners damage the ankle.  Other ankle injuries are also common among runners as they need to transfer their body weight from one leg to another in quick motions. Sharp lateral movement can be dangerous and may hurt you badly. However, different activities require high mobility that is often restricted by rigid braces. Therefore, it is good to use ankle braces with straps that offer additional protection without affecting the mobility of runners.

How do sports ankle braces work?

Primary functions of an ankle brace

Following are some of the functions of using a sports ankle brace:

  • Prevents the ankle from rolling sidewise during any activity
  • Provides necessary support to the ankle by stabilization compression and warmth
  • Performance enhancement
  • Cures chronic ankle inflammations
  • It helps cure existing injury and prevents further damage
  • Increases awareness of the injured and previous injury

For a runner, it is always better to take the necessary precautions as a significant injury can keep them out of the trails for several months. Runners can wear ankle braces and support straps to prevent any damage. However, there is a belief that braces affect a runner’s performance. In reality, using a sports ankle brace does not restrict plantar flexion and dorsiflexion. Whether runners are recovering from post-injury or starting the use of supportive ankle braces can offer the necessary support and avoid injuries.


Sports ankle braces must have a snug fit and should not be uncomfortably tight. Their purpose is to provide necessary compression on the injured area while providing essential airflow. Runners with existing ankle injuries are recommended to use a support for their ankles. It reduces the risk of further injuries. According to medical practitioners, it is a preventive measure as sport ankle braces protect lateral structures of the ankle. Braces serve as external support to prevent inversion, keep the ankle joint in the proper position, and make your runs safer. Sport ankle braces for runners are not a cure-all for ankle injuries. They also don’t protect against future injury 100% of the time. You should always consult your doctor before making a decision about whether or not you need one.

An experienced runner and an active mom, Kelly is the research expert behind runninggearlab.com When you don't find Kelly training for her next 10k or 5k race you'll find her reading reviews and testing the latest running watch.

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