When it comes to ankle support gear, braces and sleeves are the two most common. While both provide support to ankle ligaments and muscles, there are quite a few differences between them. An ankle support that contains copper is often referred to as a copper ankle brace, but it’s usually a sleeve.
Ankle braces are normally worn when there’s an existing injury. They help prevent further damage to ankle ligaments and muscles and also help with recovery.
Ankle Braces are made for people who suffer or have suffered a serious injury such as: ankle sprain (an injury to the ligaments), ankle strain (a stretching or tearing of muscle or tendon), and ankle fracture (a break in a bone), or other similar injuries to tendons (join muscles to bone) and cartilage (cushions your joints). The braces are usually made of neoprene with additional support such as metallic hinges to support the ankle during movement.
While ankle braces basically act like a “substitute ankle,” ankle support sleeves on the other hand do not limit or replace the function of a normal ankle. Instead, they’re mainly used for regular ankle support to prevent injuries. Ankle sleeves are usually used by people with weaker ankles.
The most highlighted feature in an ankle sleeve is the compression it provides. Compression restricts muscle oscillation and narrows blood vessels, which translates to less stress on the muscles and faster, more efficient blood flow to and from the foot area. Muscles, ligaments and tendons endure a lot of stress during walking, running, or jumping.
Efficient blood flow is needed to eliminate the waste produced by the muscles (e.g. lactic acid) and to bring oxygen and necessary nutrients to the muscles, which facilitates faster recovery. As a result, you’ll experience reduced discomfort, pain and swelling in just a matter of days.
The compression also reduces muscle vibration and ankle instability, providing you with a more stable foundation, which is very valuable during jumps, twists, and lifts.
Great for Warm-Ups
Ankle sleeves serve as a very helpful aid during warm-ups since they warm and lubricate the joints.