8/9/17

The Ankle Epidemic and Your Kid

Dear Parents,

I am penning this post in the hopes that you will read through it and thus educate yourself in a way that can help your son or daughter avoid a physical and mental strife that is rampant in athletics.

It goes by many names:

THE ROLLED ANKLE

THE SPRAIN

THE BOOT FOR SIX TO EIGHT WEEKS

With volleyball starting and soccer and basketball on its heels we need to dispel a myth that I have heard a lot lately.

"Ankle braces make your ankles weak."



I don't know who began this myth. I imagine it was the same guy who adamantly claimed that using someone else's crutches will give you bad luck and make you need your own pair soon". Regardless, I am taking this burden upon my own shoulders to set everyone right.

Ankle braces do not make your ankles weak.



"But so-n-so told me that her ankles got weak when she started wearing ankle braces." I'm sure that so-n-so is a nice lady, but don't listen to her. Listen to science.

A giant meta-analysis called "Biomechanical and Neuromuscular Effects of Ankle Taping and Bracing" gathered many studies into the same paper and laid down the law. (1)

For example, multiple studies showed that when an ankle is braced or taped control and spatial awareness of that ankle increases. This improvement could be due to better feedback from the "push" of the brace. Other studies showed that with a taped ankle there is an increase in EMG activation at each degree of motion - or in other words your muscles work better with the tape.

"But so-n-so said that wearing an ankle brace decreases your performance." What did I say about listening to so-n-so? Back to science we go.

Of the many studies done on performance and ankle braces NO CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE HAS BEEN FOUND TO SHOW THAT IT DECREASES PERFORMANCE. At most there is a learning curve in adjusting to the feel of ankle braces.

In many of these studies, ankle braces actually maintain performance based ranges of motion while limiting extreme ranges of motion (which are more likely to result in an injury).

"But so-n-so said that you only need ankle braces after you roll your ankle" Well maybe you should share this post on facebook, twitter, instagram, snapchat, and even linkdin to make sure that so-n-so can read it and actually learn about ankle braces from an Exercise Scientist.

Here's a personal tid-bit. I have life insurance. I'm young, but I own a business which - in the tragic event that I die - will need to be paid for in my absence. Life insurance is a good idea and makes a lot of sense. I have life insurance, but I have never died.

An ankle brace, for those lucky souls who have never rolled their ankle, is life insurance. It ensures that an ankle will be protected when you do something that an ankle cannot be trained to do - step on someone else's foot.

I have tried very hard to make ankles bulletproof but the sad reality is that a foot, a hole, or a ball take a strong ankle and turn it sideways. There is no way to prepare for that - except for wearing a brace.

So parents, please let your child know that an ankle brace is not the bad guy it has been made out to be. If they don't believe you then you can send them to me and I will let them know. I'm pretty motivated when it comes to helping kids be better athletes.


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About Me

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BS, MS - exercise Physiology
EPC - Board Certified Exercise Physiologist

Published Thesis
The impact of three different forms of warm up on performance


The Effects of Glucose Supplementation on Barbell Velocity and Fatiguability in Weightlifting - A pilot study"

Graduate from Midwestern State University, founder of Endunamoo Barbell Club, and Endunamoo Strength and Conditioning. Working to help athletes physically reach their goals and achieve scholarships while spiritually pouring into as many people as possible on all platforms.