The most common type of injury at the ankle is an inversion injury. This occurs when the foot is ‘twisted’ underneath the leg, and often results in ligament sprains (tearing of ligament fibres) and fractures of the foot and ankle.
Severe inversion injuries sometimes require immobilisation with a cam walker. However, most can be treated with an ankle brace that holds the foot in a neutral alignment but still allows restricted plantarflexion and dorsiflexion (i.e. up-and–down ankle movement).
Ankle braces are designed to be worn inside standard footwear. However, some shoes do not have sufficient room or support to accommodate a brace (runners are ideal).
Sometimes it is necessary to wear an ankle brace as a preventative measure. This is often the case when people engage in sports where they change direction quickly, thus putting a lot of stress on their ankles (e.g. tennis, netball, basketball).
People with ankle osteo-arthritis may also benefit from an ankle brace, as limiting movement of an arthritic joint(s) can result in pain reduction.