The ankle joint carries high stress and is exposed to frequent injuries (sprains, dislocations, strains of tendons and muscles). With time degenerative changes appear and results of old injuries cumulate often causing the problems with walking.
There are many different types of ankle joint supports available on the market. They are used directly after the injury (often instead of the traditional cast) or in case of severe degenerative changes. There is a group of braces which improve efficiency of walk. They are used in case of patients with foot paresis.
Simple ankle joint supports are available in medical shops, sport shops and chemists. Specialized supports, used in case of more complex injuries (e.g. as temporary immobilization), in advanced degenerative changes and paresis of the foot, are selected by the doctor. Period and conditions of use are strictly set up by the doctor.
During selection of the specific support it is necessary to perform a performance test in natural conditions. In case of the ankle joint supports the tests are following:
1. Walking down the stairs without holding on to the handrail
2. Walking on uneven ground ( grass)
3. Going up and down slope
4. In case of people using the support only in situations of excessive stress for the joint, evaluation of the support should be done during running (with fast change of the direction)
Improvement of the effectiveness and quality of walk with the support depends on the type of shoes- usually the best results are with sport-type shoes, e.g. trainers.
Only properly applied and fitted support fulfills its function. Incorrect use may lead to increase of the problems with the ankle joint, worsening of the walk efficiency, swelling of the foot, skin changes, varicose veins and vein inflammation. Instruction of use should be given by the leading doctor or qualified physiotherapist.
It is important to follow the instruction of use provided by the manufacturer.