How to Choose an Ankle Brace for Tendonitis

The Achilles tendon, which is the largest tendon in the human body, can get inflamed and swollen due to a variety of reasons. These can include arthritis, high blood pressure, age-related issues, and bone-related problems. Wearing unsuitable footwear, over-exercising, and undergoing too much pressure from sports and other activities can also aggravate the Achilles tendon. The condition, which can be very painful, affects the heel region of the foot and is known as Achilles Tendonitis.

When the inflammation is in the lower part of the tendon, affecting the lower heel, it is Insertional Achilles Tendonitis. Non-insertional Achilles Tendonitis occurs when the tendon’s middle section gets inflamed and affects the area above the heel. If you have either type of Tendonitis, your orthopedic doctor will probably recommend that you wear an ankle brace.

Wearing an ankle brace will provide much-needed stability and support to the weakened or injured Achilles tendon. By compressing it well, it will help to ease the pain and reduce the swelling. Additionally, as the brace limits unwanted ankle movements, it will prevent further injury.

To get the best results from an ankle brace, however, it is essential to find the right one. Here’s what you need to know about choosing the right ankle braces for tendonitis:

The ankle brace must provide adequate support

Depending on how much support and compression you require, you can get a sleeve, strap sleeve, or lace-up ankle brace. A sleeve brace is usually made of knit fabric or neoprene and can offer a moderate level of compression to your ankle.

If you need more than that, consider getting a strap sleeve brace. These come in two types—Figure 6 and Figure 8 wrap configurations. If you get a Figure 6 wrap, it will help limit your lateral movement and prevent ankle sprains. The figure 8 wrap is excellent for offering maximum compression around your ankle.

A lace-up ankle brace is more like a lace-up boot. It is more rigid than the other types of ankle braces and is excellent when you need maximum joint protection. You can tighten or loosen the laces to get the degree of compression and support you require.

The ankle brace must fit well

Some ankle braces come in pairs, with an individual one for each foot, while others can be interchangeable. They also come in different sizes, depending on ankle circumference or shoe size. There can be separate designs for men and women too. It is essential to get an ankle brace that fits snugly about the Achilles tendon, and it is even better if it is an adjustable one to get the exact result you want. It should also fit inside your shoe without shifting position.

The ankle brace must be comfortable 

Most ankle braces are of knitting, fabric or neoprene materials to allow for compression as well as better comfort. You should make sure that it doesn’t chafe your foot and cause skin irritation when you walk around. The ankle brace should be tight enough to limit unwanted foot movements, but not so snug-fitting that it restricts your blood flow or feels painful.

It must also be well-stitched and sturdily built to withstand a lot of wear and ought to last for as long as you need to have it on.

Additionally, you should consider getting an ankle brace that is soft and breathable, allowing for air to circulate through it to prevent your ankle from getting hot and sweaty. If you only want heat insulation, a neoprene ankle brace might be the best choice.

Since icing the affected ankle is as crucial for healing as is keeping it compressed and well-supported, many ankle braces for tendonitis come with pockets for inserting a cold or hot gel pack. You will usually need to purchase the gel pack separately, and, in most cases, it will be reusable. Do make sure that it is also leak-proof and does not contain any latex material. Additionally, it will help to check if the ankle brace has FDA approval and registration, and has at least a one-year product warranty.

With the right ankle braces for tendonitis, you may be able to heal or manage the condition better and stay active.