• Ankle Braces for Volleyball Players

    by Dr. LaMour
    on Oct 15th, 2015

Volleyball players, like many athletes, put a lot of stress on their feet and ankles during practices and matches. Many volleyballers adopt the use of ankle braces to help stabilize their ankles during play. While ankle braces can provide several benefits for volleyball players, there are potential drawbacks that should be considered before adopting them for regular use!

How Playing Volleyball Affects Your Feet & Ankles

Repeated jumping, landing on hard surfaces and quick lateral movements executed during a volleyball match increase players’ risk of injuries to the foot and ankle. Ankle sprains are very common in this sport, and if not properly treated or recovered fully, they can lead to chronic ankle instability and repeated sprains.

Volleyballers are also at risk for other foot problems, like heel pain (aka, plantar fasciitis), Achilles tendonitis and stress fractures which typically develop from overuse or excessive training.

Ankle Braces – Pros and Cons for Volleyball Players

It’s common to see competitive volleyball players sporting ankle braces during a match, and for good reason. The longer and more often an athlete plays volleyball, the more likely they are to be exposed to potential injury. Wearing ankle braces is a sort of insurance policy against ankle injuries. Ankle braces offer the following benefits for avid volleyball players:

·         Ankle injury prevention – Braces increase ankle stability by tightly restraining the ankle so that it’s more difficult for the ankle to roll inward or outward. The brace limits the ankle’s range of motion and helps keep it centered in the event of an off-balance landing.

·         Faster recovery from ankle injuries – For volleyball players who have suffered an ankle injury, braces or ankle supports are often used to speed healing time and get them back in the game more quickly. The brace gives added stability to the ankle, taking some of the pressure off of muscles, joints and ligaments that need time to heal! Braces also limit the movements that may have originally caused the ankle injury. 

However, some volleyball players experience a downside to the regular use of ankle braces. Underlying weakness in the muscles that support the ankles can be masked by the extra stability that ankle braces provide. Some volleyball players have even reported that their ankles feel weaker after they remove their ankle brace.

For this reason, it’s important that volleyball players don’t rely too heavily on ankle braces, and alternate training and practicing for their sport both with and without ankle supports. Incorporating exercises into training routines that focus on the lower leg muscles which control the ankle is essential! When these muscles are strong, they keep the player’s ankle from rolling outward or inward when jumping and landing off-balance.

Whether you’re a casual or avid volleyball player, regular foot & ankle checkups are essential to keep you in top shape for your sport! Schedule an appointment with us today – we can examine your foot mechanics, provide orthotics or braces to improve your ankle alignment, and even recommend strengthening exercises to help you prevent or recover from an ankle injury.

Author Dr. LaMour

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