Ankle supports come in a variety of styles and support levels. But what is the best ankle support for walking? Here we explain all you need to know to help you choose the best walking ankle support.
A good walking ankle support should give a moderate to high level of support, especially if you are walking off road. It should also be comfortable to wear for long periods.
When should I wear an ankle support for walking?
There are a number of circumstances or situations when you may need to consider wearing an ankle brace or support. For example, if you have weak or unstable ankles, are recovering from an ankle injury, or have a long term chronic weakness or ligament laxity.
Also, if you are expecting to walk long distances over very rough terrain then wearing a support may help prevent injury, especially when you get tired.
What about ankle taping?
Ankle taping or strapping provides the highest level of support for playing sport or walking. However it taping has the following disadvantages:
- It is difficult to apply, often needing skill or practice.
- Taping needs to be reapplied regularly as the tape itself stretches, reducing support.
- Tape does not last long if you get wet feet.
- Long term it is expensive
Best ankle supports for walking
A more convenient and cost effective solution is to wear a specially designed ankle brace or support. However, there are a few important things to consider:
- No walking ankle brace will 100% prevent you from turning your ankle over.
- You should not use a support as a substitute for proper ankle rehabilitation. It should be part of your rehab program.
- The more support you have, the less movement you are likely to have. You need to decide which is more important as there is often a trade off.
I just need a little extra support
If you are looking for a little extra support or confidence when walking, then a simple Elastic Ankle Support is a good option. It provides low to moderate support through compression. Is breathable and not as bulky for walking as a neoprene ankle support.
Your ankle is not going to be as sweaty and uncomfortable when walking for long periods. However it doesn't provide a huge level of support when walking.
Higher support level
If you have suffered an ankle sprain, broken ankle or similar then you need to prevent lateral (sideways) movement. Once you suffer a sprained ankle you are more prone to it happening again because your proprioception is damaged.
The Advance Compression Ankle Support is a great choice for walking. It has elastic straps which cross over to provide additional adjustable support.
For maximum support the Advanced Ankle Brace With Straps is the daddy of walking ankle supports. Vertical heel straps lock the heel in place whilst the crossover straps wrap around the ankle to give additional support. However, whilst this gives outstanding support, it is more bulky when wearing walking boots.
But remember, even with the highest level of support possible you are unlikely to completely eliminate the risk of injury. It is especially important you work on proprioception/balance exercises as well as ankle strengthening.