Do NBA Players Wear Ankle Braces? Pros And Cons Of Ankle Braces

Do NBA Players Wear Ankle Braces? Pros And Cons Of Ankle Braces

You may have heard about many players getting injured rolling their feet and wondered why these players don’t use braces. 

A great number of NBA players go for ankle taping over ankle braces because they believe ankle braces limit their movement.

Though ankle braces are a great support option, it has drawbacks.

In this article, you will learn about the following:

  • Do NBA players wear ankle braces?
  • Pros and cons of wearing ankle braces.
  • How to find suitable ankle braces that fit well.

Do NBA players wear ankle braces?

Ankle braces are the popular choice for support among NBA players. But ankle braces can be bulky and uncomfortable despite offering excellent support. 

These braces can also reduce some players’ range of motion, impacting their performance on the court. For this reason, some players might not use it to avoid discomfort.

Check out: How to Tie Basketball Shoes for Ankle Support

Should Basketball Players Wear Ankle Braces

Do NBA Players Wear Ankle Braces? Pros And Cons Of Ankle Braces

Preventive bracing for ankle sprains is approved, and the highest level of evidence-based medicine supports it. 

Preventive ankle bracing has repeatedly shown a protective benefit for the athlete, with no long-term side effects when used regularly.

Should athletes, however, wear ankle braces?

Many consider Timothy McGuine’s 2011 study the essential one demonstrating that ankle bracing reduces the risk of ankle sprains. 

McGuine of the University of Wisconsin published the findings of his study on the use of lace-up ankle braces in high school basketball, The Effect of Lace-up Ankle Braces on Injury Rates in High School Basketball Players. He studied approximately 1,400 student-athletes to see if ankle braces could help them stay in shape on the court.

Here’s what he found:

  • Three times as many athletes sprained their ankles while playing without ankle braces as while wearing them. This was true for girls and boys, varsity and JV, first-year students, and seniors. 
  • Athletes who wore ankle braces had 68% fewer first-time ankle injuries. 

Ankle sprains are the most common injury in sports, accounting for roughly 25% of all injuries reported for any part of the body. Basketball has the highest incidence of ankle sprains among sports, followed by volleyball and soccer. These three sports have received the greatest attention in preventive ankle bracing studies.

According to the studies, individuals in an external ankle support group had a significantly lower number of ankle sprains. 

This reduction was greater in those who had previously experienced ankle sprains. Braces were more effective than tape in terms of preventing ankle sprains.

This is extremely convincing! Based on these results, it would be best to speak with your athletic trainer or coach to find the best lace-up ankle brace type for you and ensure it fits appropriately.

Check our recommendation of: 10 Best Basketball Shoes for Ankle Support 2023

How to Choose the Best Ankle Brace for Your Injury

Do NBA Players Wear Ankle Braces? Pros And Cons Of Ankle Braces

An ankle brace is an essential protection whether you want to prevent an ankle injury, have chronic ankle pain, or are recovering from an ankle injury. 

Ankle braces can help with various ailments and injuries, such as arthritis, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, sprains, ankle pain, and inflammation. 

Here are some suggestions for selecting the best ankle brace:


Ankle braces are very supportive, but if the brace is not fitted properly or is made of the wrong material, it may be uncomfortable. 

Consider the following to ensure that your ankle brace is as comfortable as possible:

  • Proper fit: Ankle braces usually come in sizes based on your shoe size or ankle circumference, so consult the sizing chart to ensure the best fit and support. 
  • Neoprene vs. Fabric: Neoprene is a flexible material that allows for a close fit to the body while providing support and heat insulation for pain relief. 

Conversely, Neoprene does not breathe well and may be too hot to wear all day. Fabric and knit materials typically breathe better, keeping your feet cool without providing the therapeutic heat of Neoprene.

Your needs will determine the best ankle brace, but numerous options are available for all use cases.

  • Comfort: Make sure you get the right size and material for your ankle brace, and consider how breathable you want it to be.
  • Frequency: You can wear your ankle brace briefly or all day, depending on your needs. 
  • Type of Ankle Brace: Sleeves, strap braces, and lace-up ankle braces all provide varying support, protection, and compression levels.
  • Tightness: Take the time to adjust your ankle brace so it is not too loose or tight; this may require several adjustments, but getting a perfect fit is critical.

As you want the brace to work correctly with your footwear, we advise putting on braces along with the athletic shoes you’ll be wearing while using the brace.

Even though many won’t have a wide selection of braces, some physical therapists and doctors might, so it’s still worth asking for their recommendations. 

Also, check with your health insurance: braces can be expensive, but some policies will cover them.

Returning to that sporting goods store aisle, thousands of braces are on the market today, and they are not all created equal. Try before you buy because picking one randomly won’t help you and might do more harm than good.

Pros  And Cons of Ankle Braces in Sport


  • Simple to get your hands on, with a variety of brace options commonly available at local stores
  • Reduce stress on injured structures to alleviate pain        
  •  Limit joint movement to allow for healing.
  • It can provide additional support for a return to sport, which has higher physical demands on the body.


  • Braces cannot take the place of a rehabilitation plan.
  • Aesthetically unappealing
  • Braces are not a substitute for muscle strength.

Wearing a brace for an extended period can lead to over-reliance on external support.

Incorrect muscle activation patterns, potential muscle atrophy, and a reduction in proprioception are other consequences that may result.

There are times when braces can be beneficial to athletes and times when they can cause additional issues. 

Putting a brace on a sore or injured joint without the consultation of an athletic trainer or a healthcare professional is not a good idea.

Moreover, braces do not replace other services, such as a medical evaluation or physical therapy recommendations. 

If you only get a brace and don’t deal with the underlying issue, the brace will give a false sense of security and might even result in more injury. 

Also, you’re not getting to the heart of the matter because you’re not allowing an athlete to rehabilitate and recover fully from injury.


Ankle braces can help prevent injury and relieve pain in young athletes. Still, they should be used cautiously and only under the supervision of an expert who can properly assess the injury and make the best recommendation for the specific issue. 

We hope this article helped you with Do NBA players wear ankle braces.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *