I'm on the defensive team of my high school football squad. The coach wants us to wear a lace-up ankle brace during practice. I'm embarrassed to say I don't really know how to put it on or wear it. Does it go over or under the sock? How do I know if it is tight enough? I don't know exactly what type of brace it is to tell you. It's black with the letters DONJOY printed sideways on the front.
It sounds like you have the DonJoy Ankle Stabilizing Brace. It is designed so it can be worn on either foot (there is no right or left). As you can see, it laces up the front like a shoe. There should be two velcro straps that wrap around the ankle and one wide strap around the top of the ankle.
Most ankle supports (including the DonJoy brace) are meant to be worn over a single layer of sock or fabric (e.g., legging or stockinette). The material will absorb perspiration and protect the skin from any pressure or rubbing.
You will want to fasten the straps with equal tension throughout. The straps are meant to be pulled firmly but not tightly. If your toes turn white or blue or feel cold, you may have the brace on too tight. When you take the brace off, check the skin immediately for any red areas. This may be an indication that the brace does not fit properly or that the straps can be loosened a bit. Any red marks that do not go away in five to 15 minutes should get your attention.
There is really nothing wrong with asking your coach (or an athletic trainer if your team has one) to make sure you have the right size and fit. If the intent is to prevent injuries, it makes sense to ensure a proper brace fit.
Timothy A. McGuine, PhD, ATC, et al. The Effect of Lace-up Ankle Braces on Injury Rates in High School Football Players. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. January 2012. Vol. 40. No. 1. Pp. 49-57.
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