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Braces for Lower Musculoskeletal Injuries

To help heal certain ankle injuries, the ankle can be stabilized with a brace. There are 2 types of braces commonly used to treat musculoskeletal injures: rigid braces and functional braces. They are often used for ankle injuries.

  • Rigid braces. These keep the injured area still, or immobilized.

  • Functional braces. These braces let the injured area move a little. They let you move your ankle up or down. But they stop your ankle from moving from side to side.

The type of brace you will have will depend on how severe your injury is and the type of injury.

Braces, especially the rigid type, hold the injured area in place. This can help repair lower musculoskeletal injuries or conditions by:

  • Increasing blood supply to the damaged area

  • Limiting movement to help decrease pain

  • Offering greater stability to help prevent further injury

  • Decreasing swelling or muscle spasm

Home care

  • Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions when using the brace. Always ask when the brace needs to be worn. Always ask when the brace can be removed.

  • Check the brace daily, and as needed, for loose objects.

  • Check the brace for defects such as nicks or tears.

  • Follow the manufacturer's or provider’s instructions on how to clean the brace. The brace may have fabric areas that can be washed.

  • If the brace has straps, tighten them if they become loose. The brace should feel comfortable. The straps should feel firm and secure, but not too tight. Your toes should be able to wiggle easily.

  • Your provider may also use an elastic bandage. Follow the provider’s instructions on how to use the elastic bandage. Always ask how to put it on and remove it from your injured foot. Always ask when to use the elastic bandage with, or without, the brace. Always ask when the elastic bandage needs to be worn. Always ask when the elastic bandage can be removed.

  • Check how your ankle is healing. Always inspect the nearby skin for any irritation or damage caused by the brace. Call your healthcare provider if you see any problems or have any concerns.

  • If you have any questions on how to use the brace, contact your provider.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider as advised. Depending on the injury, you may need to see a bone doctor (orthopedist). Or you may need to see a foot and ankle specialist (podiatrist). You may also need physical therapy to further check or treat the injured area.

When to get medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Increase in pain, swelling, or instability occurs when wearing the brace.

  • The skin of the injured foot looks red, blue, or purple (discolored), or has sores, blisters, an infection, or irritation.

  • The injured foot feels cool to the touch. Or a numb and tingly feeling occurs when wearing the brace.

  • The brace doesn’t fit well.

  • You can’t put weight on the injured area when wearing the brace.

  • You have questions about using the brace.

  • The brace gets wet.

Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Turley Jr PA-C
Online Medical Reviewer: Thomas N Joseph MD
Date Last Reviewed: 2/1/2022
© 2000-2023 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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