6 Best ankle supports for running in 2023
Six of the best running ankle supports and further guidance on ankle-related injuries and general pain and discomfort.
Many runners may experience ankle pain when running or after running, regardless of whether you’re a beginner or veteran runner. Each step taken while running adds additional weight and pressure on the ankles and other joints, perhaps resulting in discomfort, pain, or later down the line, an ankle-related injury.
Often, many runners ignore early signs of pain, whether this is a dull pain, sharp pain, or even light or moderate swelling. Although frustrating and potentially disruptive to your training, taking the necessary precautions early is essential, saving you from a possible injury, or worse, sprain or broken ankle.
Nonetheless, there are numerous reasons as to why you may be experiencing ankle pain after running. This could be a result of a general sprain, tendinitis, or a stress fracture, amongst other indicators. It may also be a consequence of poorly fitted running shoes.
This article will discuss the common causes of ankle pain in runners, solutions to these, and will finish with six of the best running ankle supports for runners.
What is the cause of ankle pain after running?
Firstly, it’s important to note that many runners experience ankle pain from time to time. However, very few runners take the necessary precautions early, mainly as this results in time off – a big no, no in the running world (even though we all know deep down that it’s the right thing to do…).
Ankle pain after running could be a result of the following:
- Muscular imbalances (a common offender is the gluteus medius)
- Wearing the wrong running shoes
- Muscle tightness experienced in the glutes, calves, and other lower limb muscles)
- An ankle sprain
Each of these will now be explained in more detail below:
1. Muscular imbalances
Muscular imbalances, both lower limb and upper may result in ankle pain, injury or general discomfort. To relieve this pain, it’s advised to stretch and foam roll regularly. Furthermore, you should consider strength training two to three times a week to even out these imbalances, reducing your risk of injury and promoting overall ankle health.
2. Wearing the wrong running shoes
Second, wearing the wrong running shoes is a key reason why many runners experience ankle pain. For example, if wearing shoes with improper support or stability, this may cause the ankle to move in an unnatural way, therefore causing pain and discomfort. To reduce pain and your overall risk of injury, we recommend undergoing gait analysis available at a plethora of running and sports stores.
3. General muscle tightness
As previously mentioned, muscle tightness is a common reason for runners experiencing ankle pain. For instance, if the calf or gluteus maximus or medius muscles are tight, this may result in additional ankle pain or strain, made worse if coming back from an existing injury.
Regular stretching is a must, whether that’s 5-minutes a day or 30-minutes following a set routine – just make sure you stretch – you won’t regret it!
4. An ankle sprain
Finally, if you have a current ankle sprain, this may be causing you discomfort. Likewise, if you have suffered a previous ankle sprain (or several), you may experience ankle instability and weakness, not to mention a sore ankle after running or during. This too, can cause additional pain if not treated and managed correctly.
What to look for in a running ankle support?
Choosing an ankle support for running is not as easy as it looks. Therefore, we’ve compiled a short set of requirements you should consider below:
If you’re currently recovering from an injury, you should consider purchasing a running ankle support that contains compression. A compression design provides increased blood flow to the ankle area, speeding up recovery for your injury as a whole, and in general, between runs and other workouts.
Ideally, your choice of ankle support should be lightweight, especially if you’re going to be running while wearing it (or doing other sports, including hitting the gym). Often, compression supports are lightweight anyways, but you should take this into account when choosing an ankle support.
When purchasing an ankle support for running, it’s important to consider it’s versatility: what are you going to use it for? For example, if you’re looking to use this for everyday use only, you could go the route of a more medical design. However, if you’re going to be running or participating in other sports, then you want an ankle support designed for sports and increased movement.
Forth and finally, the fit of the running ankle support is super important. You should choose a support or brace that has adjustable sizes, allowing you to adjust this based on your personal preference. In general, this should be tight and secure but not so tight that it hurts – you’ll know when you’ve got the right fit.
1. Ultimate Performance running ankle support
- Advanced strap for adjustable tension
- Gel pad for added Achilles tendon support
- Can be worn during training
The Ultimate Performance ankle support for running contains a gel pad for added Achilles tendon support and additional comfort and support for the whole ankle joint. Utilising a lightweight design made with soft compression material, this reduces your potential for discomfort and injury.
With an adjustable design, the strap can be simply loosened or tightened to meet individual requirements, ideal when returning from injury, to reduce swelling, or to improve general comfort.
2. Cotill breathable compression ankle support
- High-quality breathable material
- Adjustable design and three sizes to choose from
- Open heel design for increased ventilation and comfort
- Can be worn when running or training
With three adjustable sizes to choose from and an open heel design, not only will you benefit from a secure fit, but with added ventilation, your ankles will remain cool and dry throughout the day or while running. Furthermore, the ergonomic and injury-friendly design helps protect against chronic ankle pain or injuries, general fatigue, swelling, and other discomfort.
3. Neo G ankle support for runners
- Comfortable & lightweight design
- Effective pain-relieving ankle support
- Can be used for sports and everyday use
- 4 sizes for best fit (S-XL)
The Neo G medical grade ankle support for runners provides effective pain relief against swelling or an existing ankle-related injury. With added stability, this reduces pain and allows you to return to training in a safe manner while simultaneously maximizing comfort. Finally, the compression design increases blood flow and contributes to reduced swelling, a key component in recovering from an injury.
4. Actesso ankle support sleeve for runners
- Choice of three sizes (small, medium, and large)
- Prevents further injury and provides additional support and protection
- Lightweight & breathable design
- Strengthened support & custom fit
The Actesso ankle support sleeve for runners is ideal for preventing further injury, thanks to its padded design and additional protection. The strap alleviates swelling, pain, a sprained ankle, or even tendonitis – helping you return to the sport you love so dearly. Finally, the lightweight design ensures your foot and ankle can easily slip in and out of shoes, even a pair of walking boots if you fancy conquering a local trail or two.
5. Modetro Sports brace compression sleeve
- Designed for optimal comfort & performance
- Fit for any activity, including running, walking, other sports, and everyday use
- Compression design for increased blood flow
Available in four different sizes (small, medium, large, and extra-large), the Modetro compression ankle sleeve helps prevent running injury by providing ankle and arch support. The graduated compression also increases blood flow, speeding up the injury recovery process or time between workouts. Oh, and you’ll benefit from the anti-slip grip, great for walking around the house or engaging in the most competitive of sports.
6. Bionix adjustable foot compression running ankle support
- Superior compression technology, created with breathable performance fabric
- Ideal for ankle sprains, swelling, and general pain and discomfort
- Can be used for training, including running and regular wear
Ease your ankle pain or discomfort with the Bionix foot compression ankle support, fully adjustable to increase comfort and effectiveness. The superior compression technology will increase healing while further reducing pain, not to mention increasing comfort thanks to the breathable fabric design. Finally, similarly to the other running ankle supports included in this article, the Bionix can be worn for everyday use or during training.
Frequently asked questions
Should you wear an ankle support while running?
Yes! If you suffer from ankle instability, discomfort, general pain, or swelling, then you should definitely wear an ankle support while running. In fact, you should wear this around the house and throughout the day, too.
How do I protect my ankles when running?
Ensure to warm up your ankles before running to reduce your risk of injury. Furthermore, you should be realistic with your training, easing into this and changing your running shoes regularly.
Why do my ankles feel weak when I run?
Your ankles may feel weak when you run if you have previously sprained your ankle. Similarly, if you have particularly tight muscles or inflexibility, this may contribute to added weakness.
Does barefoot running strengthen your ankles?
Yes! Barefoot running on soft surfaces helps strengthen the muscles of the feet and ankles. Start by running no more than five minutes barefoot, slowly building this up to further strengthen your ankles.
Matthew is an avid runner, freelance writer, Durham University graduate, and the founder of Running101.