Ankle Taping or Ankle Bracing: Which One Is Right For Your Athlete?
Ankle sprains are perhaps one of the most common injuries in sports. Unfortunately, a previously sprained ankle can become a source of long-term problems for many athletes as they have a high re-injury rate. When it comes to ankle sprains, injury prevention is equally as important as acute injury treatment.
Preventative ankle bracing and taping are two commonly used methods. Studies have shown that both practices provide the physical support needed to decrease the severity and risk of ankle sprains while also increasing biofeedback and improving muscular control.
It seems that both taping and bracing have similar benefits, so which one should you choose for your athlete? Let’s break them down.
What is ankle bracing?
An ankle brace is a pre-made ankle sleeve with adjustable straps made to mimic the effects of taping. Bracing is usually preferred if an athlete is prone to re-injury and requires high levels of ankle stability.
Pros of bracing:
- Only a one-time purchase is needed
- Athletes can adjust the tightness of the brace as they see fit
- Restricts movement to prevent further injury
- Could be cheaper in the long-term if the athlete suffers from chronic ankle instability
Cons of bracing:
Braces can be bulky and cause discomfort when trying to fit into shoes (most don’t fit in cleats!)
It May be uncomfortable for the athlete due to blood flow restriction
More challenging to customize and fit each athlete perfectly due to limited brace sizes
What is ankle taping?
When applied correctly, specialized kinesiology tape can provide excellent support, stability and pain relief for athletes recovering from an ankle injury. There are several application techniques available depending on the athlete’s type and extent of the injury, so qualified personnel should be consulted for an approach suitable to the athlete.
Pros of taping:
- Customizable to an athlete’s foot to comfortably fit into shoes and cleats
- Provides support without restricting blood flow or limiting the range of motion
- Stretchy nature makes it more comfortable to wear for more extended periods (up to five days!)
Cons of taping:
- Requires an athletic trainer or qualified personnel to apply tape with good technique
- Can be less cost-effective in the long run, for example, if an athlete requires taping for the entire season
So which one is better?
If an athlete requires ankle support over a long period and can find a comfortable brace that fits into their shoes, bracing could be a great option.
However, an athlete may prefer ankle taping if they are back to physical activity and would like extra support without losing range of motion. Our SpiderTech Ankle Spiders could be the perfect solution to help your athletes stay active and supported this season!