Bracing Options for Runners

Bracing can be used on its own or in conjunction with physical therapy programs to achieve goals including support, compression and pain reduction. A runner who is seeking bracing can find options readily available at medical supply and sporting goods stores.

The following are some commonly found items and tips for selection:

Tendon strap

What is it?

These straps have dense pads to rest over a tendon to reduce pressure and discomfort.

What is it used for?

Runners who experience pain in the front of the knee, specifically in the patellar tendon, may find relief with this item. An alternate use would be wearing the strap above the knee with the pad on the outside to reduce pain in the IT band.

Tips

For either application, the band should not be overly tight as to cause restriction in movement, a feeling of cramping, or pinching on the tendons in the back of the knee.

Sleeve

What is it?

Sleeves are non-rigid devices found in a variety of materials including, but not limited to, cotton and neoprene.

What is it used for?

Calf and thigh sleeves will provide support for recovering muscle strains or soreness. Knee sleeves can be used to provide warmth and compression for a range of knee ailments.

Tips

The trick is to find a sleeve that fits snugly without limiting motion, sliding down or cutting into the skin. Material choice will depend on what feels best. Neoprene is thick and generally does not breathe well but the advantage is increased warmth and comfort.

Ankle Brace

What is it?

The most effective ankle braces will have straps that wrap around the ankle to provide support to the sides of the ankle to prevent excessive inward and outward movement.

What is it used for?

Following recovery from ankle injuries such as sprains or tendonitis, a runner may benefit from wearing an ankle brace for increased support.

Tips

When applying the brace, keep the foot at a 90゚ position to prevent excessive tightness at the front of the ankle.