Airform Stirrup Ankle Brace
Adult Universal (Left & Right)
Inflatable air bladders provide adjustable pneumatic compression.
Adjustable heel strap allows for desired width adjustment.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Do Ankle Supports and Braces Do?
Ankle supports and stirrup ankle braces both protect ankle health, but they do this in different ways. Generally, ankle supports prevent injuries while ankle braces are designed to treat them. There can be some overlap, with some ankle braces offering more versatile use. Because of this distinction, it is recommended you always consult a doctor before selecting a stirrup ankle brace or if you suspect you have an ankle injury.
What are stirrup style ankle braces?
Stirrup ankle braces were the first popular ankle braces in the 1990s. Companies have revised the design to allow for customization of the stirrup ankle brace. Patients can adjust air bladders with a pump and put gel-filled bladders into the freezer or even heat them in a microwave. One can adjust the stirrups by adding metal or plastic strips to increase rigidity for greater control. One can increase the height of the stirrup ankle brace to accommodate for syndesmosis or tibia-fibula fracture support. Regardless, stirrup-style braces are not in use for sports. They are really alternatives for splints and controlled ankle motion (CAM) walkers.
What is the difference between ankle taping and bracing?
The concept of ankle bracing evolved from ankle taping.
Braces are presently being used instead of traditional taping by many athletes at all levels of competition. Stirrup ankle braces are self-applied, reusable, and re-adjustable. In the long run, stirrup ankle braces are likely more cost-effective than taping. Disadvantages of bracing include the fact that many athletes feel less comfortable or stable when wearing braces than they do when the ankle is taped. Braces also may tear and require replacement.
Another disadvantage to ankle taping is you can’t self-apply it, hence you can’t remove and reapply when it causes discomfort. Taping may also cause skin inflammation and sores.
Some athletes find ankle tape more comfortable and stable than ankle braces, however.
What are the types of ankle bracing?
Braces generally come in two types, though small variations exist between various manufacturers. A healthcare professional would advise the ideal brace. One type of ankle braces is nonrigid and resembles a thick canvas or nylon lace-up sock. Some nonrigid braces are also made of neoprene. The nonrigid style provides compression to the ankle, may help in injury prevention, and provides stability. The other type of ankle brace is the semirigid type. Its construction is similar to the nonrigid type but with the added feature of molded plastic struts or air cushions. These braces provide more stability and are often used during the rehabilitation following ankle injury.
Most nonrigid and semirigid braces also use fabric straps to simulate heel locks. These are usually on the outside of the brace and fastened with Velcro.
A common concern is that prolonged taping or bracing of the ankle may result in weak ankles that are more prone to injury, hence it is important to follow the instructions of usage from a healthcare professional.
When are ankle splints used?
An ankle splint is primarily used for:
- Ligament sprain of the ankle.
- Ankle joint fractures.
- Fracture of the lower end of the bones of the lower legs.
When should an ankle splint not be used?
There are no absolute contraindications for ankle splinting. The following conditions demand immediate evaluation or intervention by a doctor before splinting is done:
- Complicated fracture
- Open fractures
- Injuries with associated neurovascular compromise