Even though there is a lot of information about ankle injuries, specifically inversion ankle sprains, there is very little information regarding the usefulness of an ankle brace compared to strapping tape as a preventative measure to reduce ankle injuries.
Doing Nothing Is Not A Good Idea
As expected, players that took no preventive measures had a far greater rate of ankle injury throughout the season, when compared to players who did take preventative measures.
Therefore using an ankle brace or strapping tape was the smart thing to do if you wanted to prevent, or reduce your chance of an ankle sprain, there are positives and negatives for both.
So What Are The Positives & Negatives?
Purchasing a good quality ankle brace initially costs far more than strapping tape, however over time they were more economical, however not all ankle braces are created equal.
Cheaper ankle braces did not perform as well as their more expensive counterparts, and elastic ankle braces did very little to support the ankle.
Strapping tape applied directly to the skin will initially support the ankle better than an ankle brace, however as the athlete sweats this support is lost, and the longer the game continues the worse this becomes, and you cannot keep re-applying strapping tape during the game.
An ankle brace on the other hand can be re-tightened easily throughout the game.
Strapping tape also needs a clean surface to be most effective, so if you’re quite hairy (guys), the ankle needs to be shaved before applying the tape. Some athletes choose to use an underlay instead of shaving their ankles, but this very much reduces the effectiveness of the strapping tape.
Also, to be most effective strapping tape needs to be applied by someone that knows how to strap ankles properly. If you strap your own ankles it will never be as supportive, however a reusable ankle brace can be put on and re-tightened by anyone.
Ankle braces can be bulky and make footwear tighter, and for some athletes they find this really annoying, however strapping tape takes up little to no room and rarely annoys the athlete.
Another point with strapping tape is it must be rigid strapping tape, not elastic. Elastic, stretchy tape will not support your ankle as well as rigid tape, just like an elastic ankle brace mentioned previously.
Quality Makes A Difference
Quality also makes a huge difference when your deciding between an ankle brace or strapping tape. Cheaper ankle braces will not perform as well as their more expensive counterparts, and this also applies to strapping tape.
The effectiveness of strapping tape has a lot to do with how it adheres to the skin, which is why I previously mentioned a clean skin surface.
The better the adhesion, the greater the support and the longer it will last during a game, however cheaper tapes don’t have as much adhesion and will be less effective much earlier. You get what you pay for.
As I mentioned they both have positive and negative aspects, and it really comes down to the preference of the athlete, but regardless of which way you choose to go, either one is going to be better than doing nothing at all.
For further information on ankle sprains, strapping videos and other sporting injuries please visit our website or YouTube channel.
Better than relying on external support regardless of what you select, strapping, bracing, footwear or orthotics. Don’t ignore the things central to your control and often under done.
- Ankle and lower limb proprioception (Dynamic Balance)
- Peroneal (ankle stabilizing muscle) strength.
- Graduated and structured return to play
If you would like any further information, please get in contact with us.
Phone: 07 838 0003