Dr. Kay Talks Industrial Athlete Injuries
Tips for the "Industrial Athlete"
"Hey doc, should I wear an ankle brace?" This is a common question after an ankle or foot injury. If you are an "Industrial Athlete," your care must be tailored to your work requirements. Industrial athletes can be construction workers, letter carriers, first responders, sanitation workers, or anyone that uses physical strength for their daily work. The need to return to work quickly and safely is critical for the industrial athlete.
The initial treatment after a sprain is to place the ankle at rest to decrease inflammation and swelling. Once the initial injury phase has passed, the ankle may still be swollen and sore. To recover quickly, mobilization or controlled motion is needed. Prolonged immobilization can lead to weakness, not just in the leg, but the whole body will tire quickly. Traditional braces are made from canvas and can be bulky. The ankle stirrups with air bladders or gel pads are also very cumbersome. This bulk causes the shoes to be very tight and often unwearable. The side supports and stirrups are made from hard plastics or metal and can be uncomfortable. Taping is not practical for acute injury rehab. So, what do we recommend?
The first feature is comfort. The brace must be comfortable. If you must return to work where you are standing all day, the foot fitting in a work shoe is essential. In addition, the foot will still be somewhat swollen, so an adjustable brace is necessary. The rigid brace can be like walking on a stilt that causes compensation in gait that can interfere with work return.
The next feature is stability. Past thought was to eliminate ankle motion; current practice is to provide controlled motion with "guardrails." This means allowing some ankle movement but limiting the extremes of motion. The Vero AnkleTM brace has removable stirrups, which can be retained for stability or removed if more motion is desired. The straps fit the instep and can be adjusted if there are foot deformities like a flatfoot. If the brace needs to be changed, the straps can easily be loosened or tightened in the shoe, unlike the shoelaces and straps used in many braces.
Our Brace Comfortably Fits In Your Work Shoes or Boots
while Providing Necessary Stabilization
Returning to work is not an option for someone supporting their family. Ankle sprains, improperly treated, can delay the return to work for the "industrial athlete." The Vero Ankle brace changes the game for ankle injury recovery and prevention.