Is there a difference between protective and supportive ankle braces?

Some ankle braces say
“Great for supporting weak ankles”
some say
“Protects your ankles from sprains etc”
some say
“Protects weakened ankles”

Is there really much difference between ankle braces, or do they really all do the same thing?

I’ve got one ankle that’s in great shape, and one that’s mostly recovered from a torn tendon…I want to get a pair to wear so that I don’t tear another tendon or break an ankle.

I don’t really understand how ankle braces work…when I uni now, I wear a neoprene brace on my weak ankle at the advice of my doctor. It’s like a little rupper slice of a sock that just fits over the ankle…I can still move like normal, it doesn’t stop anything, and I have no idea why it would stop my ankle from breaking or stop a tendon from ripping. It’s just like wearing a thick tight sock. Yet, my doctor said it was good…but not as good as one with plastic sides.

I’ve seen some other ones, made of heavey fabric that laces up with “steel supportive springs” in the sides that is supposed to offer “Maximum protection for weak ankles” and I was going to get a pair to wear on both feet so that I next time I twist an ankle falling down stairs on the uni, I don’t end up in the hospital and unable to ride for a month. I feel like these will offer more protection, because they look like they might actually stop my feet from snapping off. But they’re quite a bit cheaper than the expensive ones which “allow full range of motion” which seems to imply that it lets your ankle bend 90 degrees in the wrong direction.

So, any advice would be appreciated.

Protective are more for protecting you from cracking your ankle knob on you crank arm or whatever. And supportive is for ankle support from twisting or rolling your ankle over sideways. Some do both like active ankles. I dislocated my left ankle which broke my tibia and fibula while riding my muni so I wear ankle supports when I ride. The kind that I like are called ASO and cost about $40 each, you can order then online I think the web sit was called something like but you can find them by google. They offer some protection from wacking your ankle bone and give great support. I hope this is helpfull, Dan.

Yeah, that’s helpful.
I looked at the ASOs before, and they seem interesting. I almost bought some, but didn’t.

The “supportive” ones I’m looking at now are $11 each…these are the ones with the steel spring support. I’m suprised at the huge range of price, and I’m wondering if it really is worth paying 4 times as much for something…is the gain in actual protection, or in comfort and range of motion, or is it just in brand name?

I have a pair of active ankles and I didn’t like them they made my ankle realy wide and they rubed on my crank arms, and were uncomfortable. The ASOs were prescribed by my doctor so I got my insurance to pay half, but I think they are worth the money they are very comfortable and give realy good ankle support. They are comfortable to walk in and don’t let your ankle roll at all. So I guess it depends on how much ankle support you need or want, but I don’t think I would have broken my ankle in the first place if I had been wearing them so i think it’s worth the extra money.

the ones that lace up and go inside the shoe are the best.

EDIT: for me and my glass right ankle.

That’s like the ones at which I was looking…so that’s one vote for each right now…

Thanks for the replies, keep advice coming…

Ankle braces like the Active Ankles offer freedom of movement while still offering protection from twists and sprains. But it doesn’t offer protection against hyperextension of the ankle. The hinges also stick out from your ankle and can catch on the crank which knock your foot off the pedal and cause you to UPD. The advantage is that the Active Ankles offer very good freedom of movement of the ankle for pedaling while still offering protection for ankle injuries.

Ankle guards like the Ankle Biters only offer protection against bashing your ankle bone on the cranks. They offer no protection against twists and sprains or other ankle injuries.

The lace up style like the 661 Race Brace offer protection twists, sprains, and hyperextension. But they also restrict your ankle movement that is needed for effective pedaling and climbing. To pedal efficiently you need to be able to flex your ankle freely so you can point your toes down at the bottom of the stroke and flatten your ankle out at the top of the stroke.

I’m not sure I know what hyperextension is…is that just pointing your toes down a lot further than they’re supposed to go?

The active ankles look like a better version of the brace I got from the hospital…I find it difficult to uni with it because it tends to slip around and gets very uncomfortable.

active ankles are bulky and restrictive. go with the lace ups.


i agree.


I’ve had good experiences with the Active Ankles, except for freestyle, where they proved too bulky.

Those laceups look pretty good, Jagur, what brand are they?

John is talking about when your toes point too far up towards your knee, stretching your Achilles tendon too far. This usually occurs on drops, but can occur during UPDs too.

The ASO are similar to the one in the photo but also have a strap on each side that goes over the top of your foot and around under and back up the same side and then a stretchy band with velcro to hold them. This works like a figure eight tape job and realy suports your ankle from twisting side to side. It’s hard to describe without a picture, but they realy work.

I dont find that they restrict your ankle movement for pedaling or walking and they do offer some protection from hyperextension.

I just got a pair of ankle supports from that they gave me to try called airsport air cast but I haven’t had a chance to try them out. I have put them on and they seem comfortable and I think they will offer resonable support and they have metal plates that contour to the sides of your ankle and will offer protection from cracking your ankle bones against your crank arms but I can tell they don’t give as much support as my ASOs, but they are much less bulky than the active ankles.