Do you have ankle problems? Do want to prevent potential injury? Or have you suffered an ankle injury and want to recover properly?
There are many types of ankle braces but today you’re going to discover what the best ankle brace is for your specific ankle problem.
We’re going to deep-dive into the following:
- Ankle injuries;
The best ankle brace for;
- Injury prevention;
- Stress fracture;
- Anterior ankle impingement;
- Posterior ankle impingement;
- Flat feet;
- Range of motion;
- Top 10 ankle braces in 2020;
- The best ankle brace for your specific sport.
Let’s get straight to it!
The Best Ankle Brace to Buy in 2020 (for your specific ankle problem)
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What Are the Main Causes of Ankle Injuries?
I want to kick the article off by talking about ankle injuries because you need to know which type of ankle support brace is best suited to your type of ankle problem.
It would be a waste of money buying compression braces, for example, if you’re recovering from an ankle fracture.
Let’s take a look at the different types of ankle problems before we talk in detail about ankle braces and supports.
An ankle sprain occurs when supporting ankle ligaments are stretched beyond their limits and torn.
The best ankle brace for sprains is:
- Compression brace for a mild sprain;
- Lace up brace for a severe strain.
Tendonitis / Tendinitis
Tendonitis is a common problem caused by over-training, abnormal foot structure, trauma, or inflammatory conditions like arthritis and gout.
It can take a long time to cure tendonitis naturally so it’s in your best interest to buy an ankle support brace to speed up the recovery process.
The best ankle support brace for tendonitis is a compression brace but you can also use a lace up ankle brace.
A stress fracture is a small crack or severe bruising within your ankle bone.
The best ankle brace for you would be a rigid brace because you’d need strong and rigid support for recovery. Compression braces, for example, would not be strong enough to support this type of injury.
Arthritis occurs when your joint(s) become inflamed. It’s a very common problem and while there isn’t a cure, ankle brace’s can help ease the pain and slow the disease’s progress.
The best ankle brace for arthritis is a compression brace or a lace up brace. I’d personally go with a lace up brace because it provides more support than a compression brace.
Anterior Ankle Impingement
Anterior ankle impingement is caused by compression of bony or soft tissue structures when your foot raises (as your heel stays on the ground).
The pain occurs at the front of your ankle.
The best ankle brace for anterior ankle impingement is lace up.
Posterior Ankle Impingement
Posterior ankle impingement is caused by compression of bone or soft tissues when your heel raises (as your toes stay on the ground).
The pain occurs at the back of your ankle.
The best ankle brace for posterior ankle impingement is lace up.
Flat feet are (surprisingly) when your feet press flat on the ground. You should have an arch in your feet but flat feet are a common problem for many of you.
A Compression brace is the best type of ankle support brace for you if you have flat feet.
Ankle Brace Benefits
Before we move on to the best ankle braces, I think we should talk about the four major benefits to them.
Because it’s important to set your expectations.
Ankle braces can support your ankle but not necessarily cure it. You should always speak to your GP if you experience pain or have suffered a traumatic injury.
Having said that, ankle braces can be very beneficial! Let’s examine why.
Reduction in Swelling
Swelling can take anywhere between 2 days – 3 weeks to go down after an injury. Compressing your ankle with an ankle brace can shorten the time frame for your swelling to go down.
Regain Range of Motion
Your GP might set you on an exercise program to increase flexibility and strength in your ankle if you have ongoing problems or are recovering from an injury.
A compression brace can support your weak ligaments and joints to enable you to build flexibility and strength quicker.
After injuring your ankle on more than one occasion you may become susceptible to recurring ankle injuries.
An ankle brace can support your susceptible ankle during high-intensity sports and enable you to build strength for long-term recovery.
You need to progressively increase activity using your ankle after an injury to enable a full recovery. This can be problematic and many of you experience an injury re-occurrence or find exercising on your ankle again to be painful.
An ankle brace can alleviate pain and provide support for your ankle during your recovery process.
How to Choose an Ankle Brace
I think we’ve covered the basics of ankle injuries and the benefits of buying an ankle brace, so now let’s get to the reason why you’re here and talk about the best ankle brace for your specific ankle problem.
Types of Ankle Brace
Compression socks are made from lightweight stretchable materials and are best suited for those of you who have a mild ankle sprain, tendonitis, or arthritis.
They’re also suitable for those of you who want to keep your ankles warm and decrease muscle tension.
Best Compression Socks
This is quite a hard decision because there are 2 or 3 really great brands.
Thirty 48 Compression Socks edged it for me though because they’re breathable, elastic for mobility, and provide the support you need. They’ve also received more positive reviews than any other compression sock brand.
Thirty 48 Compression Socks Benefits
Graduated 20-30 mmHg Pressure Compression
20-30 mmHg provides a tight fit around your ankle nerves and muscles to increase circulation and reduce inflammation.
This can help strengthen your foot to prevent potential injuries.
Stabilizing Foot Position to Prevent Misalignment
Thirty 48 Compression Socks also provide strong support at your ankle to force balance and help prevent potential twists and sprains.
This is great if you partake in sports like soccer, running, or basketball.
- Pain relief for injuries;
- Lightweight and breathable material;
- Helps with post-workout recovery;
Here’s what some people have said about Thirty 48 Compression Socks:
“I ordered one pair some months ago and decided to order another set because I have found that I can’t walk long distances without them!”
“I cannot possibly love these compression socks any more than I do! Recently I broke my ankle and had to have surgery. My recovery has been great except for swelling in my ankle and foot which was causing me pain. I put these on, well just one, and in the morning and it has almost eliminated my swelling and pain.”
The Bottom Line(s)
There are many solid compression sock brands out there but Thirty 48 Compression Socks is at the top of the heap. They tick every box and don’t lack in any area. You’ll be hard pressed to find a bad review.
Lace Up Ankle Brace
Lace up ankle braces provide more support than compression socks and are best suited for those of you who’ve had a severe ankle sprain or want more support than a compression sock can provide.
Best Lace Up Ankle Brace
This was another close one but I love Venom as a brand and their ankle support has rave reviews.
Venom Lace Up Ankle Brace Benefits
The Venom Ankle Brace features side stabilizers to reinforce your ankle while maintaining flexibility and protecting you against injury.
This is great if you partake in tennis, soccer, basketball, cycling, and running.
The side stabilizers also help to reduce pain and take the pressure off your ankle.
This is great if you’re recovering from injury or have arthritis.
It features double strap support and laces for dual reinforcement and a comfortable fit.
The Venom Ankle Brace is also sweat resistant and breathable and fit inside your shoes without adding bulk.
Here’s what some people have said about the Venom Ankle Brace:
“I never write reviews but I figured maybe writing this could help someone save money. If you’re like I was while researching various ankle braces, you are wondering if it’s any good based on the low price. I debated whether to try the Venom ankle brace or go with the more expensive, major brand braces. Take a chance on this and you won’t be disappointed.”
“Great product!!! I’m still suffering from a severe high ankle sprain I sustained the day after Xmas and this brace is providing much-needed support. I noticed a difference as soon as I put it on.”
The Bottom Line(s)
Venom is a fantastic brand not only due to quality but because they offer great value for money.
Venom Ankle Braces are up there with the best in terms of quality but they’ve made it to the top because they offer the best price compared to the other “top” brands.
Hinged Ankle Brace
Hinged ankle braces allow your ankle to move up and down but stop it from rolling side to side.
Similar to lace up braces, they’re beneficial for those of you recovering from a several ankle sprain.
Best Hinged Ankle Brace
It’s easier to pick a winner for this one because rigid ankle braces are more of a niche and not many companies do them. The best I found is the Mueller Ankle Brace.
Mueller Ankle Brace Benefits
It’s lightweight for comfort, mobility, and flexibility while offering strong protection for weak or injured ankles.
The Meuller Ankle Brace allows for full vertical mobility while preventing rollover injuries.
Fits in Most Shoes and Trainers
It will fit into most shoes and trainers without causing awkward bulk. This makes it ideal for sports like volleyball, basketball, and tennis.
Here’s what some people have said about the Meuller Ankle Brace:
“This is lightweight and sturdy at the same time. Allows movement while giving great support. An excellent brace at a really great price. I’ve used it for 6 months for a really bad grade 3 ankle sprain and it still looks and functions like brand new. Highly recommended.”
“This is the perfect brace for my son’s severely sprained ankle. He is 22 years old and needed a brace that was secure and really gives support. His physical therapist also gives it a strong thumbs up.”
The Bottom Line(s)
Mueller is a very reputable brand and they’ve created a very reputable product with their ankle brace.
Hinged ankle braces aren’t everyone’s preferred choice but for those of that you do prefer them, you won’t find any better than the Mueller Ankle Brace.
Rigid Ankle Brace
Rigid ankle braces are more beneficial for those of you recovering from a stress fracture. They can also be used for ankle support after very severe ankle sprains.
Best Rigid Ankle Brace
Aircast Ankle Brace is a clear winner for me.
Aircast Ankle Brace Benefits
Specifically Designed for Injury Recovery
The Aircast Ankle Brace is the perfect choice for those of you recovering from an ankle fracture or severe sprain.
We talked earlier about rigid ankle braces being the best choice for more severe injuries and that’s what the Aircast Ankle Brace has been designed for.
Support for Day-to-Day Activities
It’s also been designed to provide mobility, protection, and pneumatic support for day-to-day activities.
Low Rocker Sole
The low rocker sole promotes a natural gait for improved mobility during injury recovery.
Includes Hand Bulb Air Pump
The pump allows you to customize the level of support needed.
Features a Wider Foot Base
A wide foot base makes it really convenient to change dressings if you need to.
The universal fit allows you to wear the brace on your left or right foot.
Here’s what some people have said about the Aircast Ankle Brace:
“Much better than the one I got from the doctor. The air pump customized the fit. And instead of hard plastic on the sole, it has dense rubberized material that’s softer to walk on and much quieter.”
“Wow. Quality at a tenth of the price I was quoted by a foot doctor. I wear a women size 10, and the medium was perfect. The adjustable air was a godsend.”
“I fractured both ankles and my heel and I had boots the hospital gave me, but they were too long and impossible to walk in. These boots are amazing and very comfortable.”
The Bottom Line(s)
The Aircast Ankle brace provides the support and comfort you need after a severe ankle sprain or fracture.
It also costs less than the ankle braces doctors prescribe and receives far better reviews.
The 10 Best Ankle Supports to Buy in 2020
You should already have a good idea about which type of ankle support you need by now!
In this section, I’m going to rank the best ankle supports to help with your buying choice.
I’ve ranked the top 10 by a combination of:
- Additional benefits;
Bear in mind that the rankings include different types of ankle supports.
Stick to what we talked about earlier and make sure don’t buy compression braces just because a particular brand ranks ahead of rigid braces. Compression braces won’t help you if you’re recovering from a fracture!
Okay, let’s get to it!
Prices are updated for 2020 but can change at any time
#1 – Thirty 48 Ankle Compression Socks – $22.95 + Shipping
We’ve already discussed Thirty 48 Compression Socks so I’m not going to repeat what I’ve already said!
They make the top of the list because they tick all the beneficial boxes and are the best-reviewed compression socks by a significant margin!
They’re great for those of you who’ve suffered a mild ankle sprain, have weak ankles, or struggle with tendonitis.
#2 – Crucial Compression Socks – $9.95-$13.95 + Shipping
Crucial Compression Socks come in at a close second.
Even though they’re more expensive, I do think Thirty 48 edges Crucial Compression Socks on quality and deserves the top spot.
- Provide instant support and pain relief;
- Great for flat feet, arthritis, and plantar fasciitis;
- Come in 5 stylish designs;
- Doesn’t add bulk to your shoes or trainers;
- Breathable and absorbs very little sweat for comfort.
Crucial Compression Socks are very diverse as they offer support for flat feet, arthritis, and plantar fasciitis. Check out some of the great reviews they’ve had below:
“I found that these were the best compression socks and purchased a pair for my Daughter as well! You forget that they’re compression socks until you take them off and notice that they were really working because your feet have no pain or swelling and perfect circulation!”
“These have made a huge difference for my husband. He could hardly walk before he put them on and was very skeptical when I told him what they were. He noticed the difference right away.”
#3 – Sleeve Stars Ankle Support (Socks) – $13.95 + Shipping
There’s very little difference separating Sleeve Star and Crucial Compression Socks. They’re both great products and offer support for various ankle problems.
The only way I could separate them was by the volume of positive reviews.
Sleeve Star Pros:
- Improves blood circulation and eases the pain for achilles support, plantar fasciitis, flat feet, and tendonitis;
- Adjustable strap included;
- Breathable and absorbs very little sweat for comfort;
- Doesn’t add bulk to your shoes or trainers.
Check out what some people have said about Sleeve Stars Ankle Support below:
“Broke my ankle 2 years ago and just began training for a half marathon. My ankle immediately felt better when I put this on.”
“I severely sprained my ankle a few years ago, and ever since, I can’t stand or walk for long periods of time without it swelling and being in pain. This has helped me so much! I can go hiking in mountains without any pain!”
“This was perfect support for my sprained ankle that was still weak after a month. Comfortable and easy to use. I can wear it all day with no problems. Doesn’t move or slip!”
#4 – Doc Miller Premium Ankle Compression Socks – $12.97 – $19.97 + Shipping
I’m sure you’ve noticed that compression Socks are stealing the limelight so far! It’s mainly because they’re less expensive than ankle braces and popular with the masses for mild ankle problems and general support.
But remember… stronger ankle supports are needed for more severe ankle problems!
Doc Miller Premium Ankle Compression Socks are another popular sock ideally suited for mild and common ankle issues like tendonitis.
- Great for achilles support, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, mild ankle sprains, and swelling;
- A wide variety of styles and sizes available;
- Breathable and absorbs very little sweat for comfort;
- Doesn’t add bulk to your shoes or trainers.
Check out what some people have said about Doc Miller Premium Ankle Compression Socks:
“My wife has arthritic ankle pain. These socks provided a lot of relief while walking around and doing chores.”
“I’ve had a torn Achilles tendon for about two years and the pain has just started becoming more than tolerable. I do not have health insurance and it will require surgery at some point, but for now, I’ve found some major relief with these.”
“Really, really good. My wife put these on 10 minutes after they showed up and had almost immediate relief. She has been wearing them for almost a week now and she cannot believe the difference in her feet.”
#5 – Venom Ankle Brace (Lace Up) – $19.99 + Shipping
We’ve already talked about the Venom Ankle brace and I had to put it in the top 5. It’s the best lace up ankle brace on the market and has received rave reviews!
I’ve got to give them a shoutout for the price as well. They offer stronger ankle support than compression socks but they match most of them on price.
I was tempted to put them in the top 3 but they got edged out on volume of reviews.
#6 – McDavid Ankle Brace (Lace Up) – $32.47 + Shipping
We’re going to continue the trend and include another lace up ankle brace in our top 10!
McDavid is a trusted brand and their ankle brace has received very positive reviews. Despite their quality, Venom beat them significantly on price.
- Ultralight nylon shell;
- Fully-adjustable straps;
- Padded lining;
- Provides strong support for severe sprains and other serious ankle problems.
Check out what some people have said about the McDavid Ankle Brace below:
“An excellent product. So very glad to have found this particular brace. I have a chronic weak ankle after years of sporting accidents. As soon as I put this product on and laced it up, I felt safe and secure with it and knew that as long as I was wearing it, I would never have to worry about landing in a sprawl because my ankle gave out.”
“As a parkour athlete with weaker ankles than most, these braces have been the best for me out of all the braces I have tried, and they are reasonably priced.”
#7 – Med Spec ASO Ankle Brace (Lace Up) – $20.22 – $26.54 + Shipping
The Med Spec ASO Ankle Brace has been around for a long time and is very popular and affordable.
- Stabilizing straps for ankle support;
- Nylon boot for durability and strength;
- Elastic cuff closure for additional support;
- Great for severe sprains and other serious ankle problems;
- Fits into any type of shoe.
Check out what some people have said about the Med Spec ASO Ankle Brace below:
“This is a great ankle brace. I sprained my ankle in late June and the doctor provided a compression brace that was not doing the trick. I spoke with my physical therapist and he recommended this ASO Ankle Stabilizer. What a difference.”
“Without a doubt the best ankle brace I have found. And after 61 years of sprained ankles, I have tried a lot of different types.”
“This thing is magic!! My left ankle has been a wreck for almost 20 years. I’ve tried SO MANY braces over the years, wraps, etc. This stabilizer succeeded where none others have.”
#8 – Aircast Ankle Brace (Rigid) – $53.00 – $84.90 + Shipping
We’ve already talked about the Aircast Ankle Brace and while it might be #8 on this list, it’s definitely the #1 rigid ankle brace on the market.
It’s also a lot less expensive compared to the standard rigid ankle braces that doctors prescribe.
#9 – BioSkin Trilok Ankle Brace (Velcro but Similar to Lace Up) – $69.95 + Shipping
Some people think their brand of ankle brace is the best but it just doesn’t work for other people, and they prefer another brand.
It’s not always about what’s the “best”, it’s about what’s best for you.
I ranked it at #9 because it’s more expensive than other brands but BioSkin is a great alternative to try if you don’t get along with the other brands in the top 10.
- Increases blood flow and reduces swelling;
- Provides strong support for ankle sprains and other serious ankle problems;
- Relieves PTTD pain and supports arch to prevent flat foot;
- Alleviates plantar fasciitis pain;
- Fits comfortably in most trainers and shoes.
Check out what some people have said about the BioSkin Trilok Ankle Brace:
“I have posterior tibial tendonitis and this is the best of three ankle braces I’ve tried over the years.”
“I am very happy with this brace. It works really well and gives wonderful support.”
“I had been diagnosed with a tear in my ankle and had a great deal of pain. This brace has really helped me relieve the pain and walk.”
#10 – Mueller Ankle Brace (Hinged) – $14.49 + Shipping
The Mueller Ankle Brace is another one we’ve already talked about in detail.
Similar to the Aircast Ankle Brace, it doesn’t make it to the top of this list but it is the #1 hinged ankle brace on the market.
Okay, so there we have the top 10!
I’d be shocked if you haven’t made up your mind by now but I want to cover all bases before we’re finished!
Best Ankle Brace for Sports
Let’s finish off today by briefly talking about which type of brace is best suited to your specific sport.
Best Ankle Brace for Running
I’d say this somewhat depends on the following, whether:
- You’re recovering from an injury;
- Your injury was mild or severe;
- You have weak ankles and want to prevent an injury;
- You have a recurring issue like tendonitis.
Are you recovering from a serious ankle injury? You should go for a lace up brace like the Venom Ankle Brace.
Do you have weak ankles and want to prevent injury or you’re recovering from a mild injury? You should go for a compression sock like Thirty 48 Ankle Compression Sock.
Do you struggle with tendonitis? I’d again go with Thirty 48 Ankle Compression Socks.
Best Ankle Brace for Basketball (and Sports Like Tennis and Volleyball)
You should go for compression socks for support if you have weak ankles or struggle with issues like tendonitis.
You should go for Lace Up’s like Venom Ankle Brace though if you have a history of rolling over your ankle(s) or severe sprains.
Basketball requires a lot of mobility in your ankles because of the angles of dynamic movement. This is why I recommend using compression socks if you can because they allow for more mobility than lace ups.
Best Soccer Ankle Brace (Football)
Soccer is another sport that requires dynamic movements at angles so I’d again recommend compression socks for mobility.
You might have suffered a fracture from playing soccer though so you should probably rest up and use a rigid or hinged ankle brace to build your ankle back up before you start playing again.
I would, of course, advise you to speak to your Doctor first!
Okay, I think we’ll finish there for today! I hope you’re now 100% which type of ankle brace you should buy!
Thanks for reading! Please get in touch with me HERE if you have any questions.