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"Should I wear an ankle brace?"

ZocdocAnswersShould I wear an ankle brace?

Question

I strained my ankle and its starting to feel back to normal (finally!). I want to play basketball and tennis with my friends, but I'm a little wary. Would a brace help? Would I injure it again if I don't wear a brace?

Answer

Glad to hear that your ankle is feeling back to normal. Sprains do take a very long time to heal, sometimes weeks to months, so make sure you take it easy and don't stress the ankle too much! I think the most important thing when deciding whether or not to go back to sports after an injury is to determine whether you still have any residual pain or weakness. If so, it is worth going to see your primary care doctor for a quick examination to make sure that the ankle is stable and sports-worthy. Once you do have clearance from your doctor, you should not need to wear a brace. Braces are primarily used in the healing phase of a sprain to immobilize the damaged ligaments and help them heal up. The exception to this would be if your doctor finds that you still have significant ankle instability; however, if the joint is unstable that would argue against starting back into sports altogether at this time. Once you do start exercising again, make sure you go slow. Exercise less intensely than you normally would and for shorter periods of time. Slow down or rest if you feel discomfort of any sort.

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