Do you know that thousands of individuals, non-athletic and athletes alike, hurt their ankles each day? Though sprains, cuts and bruises are quite common in contact sports, these injuries can usually happen when bones and joints on this particular area are stretched and used beyond its limitations. This is even more so to sports that require a lot of kicking, jumping, hopping, and various movement to the lower limbs. No wonder a Muay Thai ankle support comes handy. Aside from protection and support, each pair also helps increase stability and enhance performance of a fighter when worn.
Supporting one’s ankles when training, sparring or fighting on the ring is essential in Muay Thai. No wonder shoes aren’t worn on the ring and instead, a pair of support often called “braces” have been worn by experienced athletes. But while their benefits cannot be questioned, there are various types for a trainer or fighter to choose from. To give you an idea, here are the various types of Muay Thai ankle support to give the joints that puts force on each of your powerhouse kick.
1. Elastic Ankle Wraps. Designed to compress and stabilize joint areas, these elastic wraps are often made of lightweight, breathable material that sticks like second skin. It keeps ligaments flexible without overstraining the joints. Commonly used during training than in fights, elastic wraps often don by Muay Thai trainees and fighters to nurse an injury.
2. Neoprene Sleeves. Another type of ankle support being used in Muay Thai training are neoprene sleeves. Most brands today boast of less rigid construction, breathable material, moisture-wicking and antimicrobial features. Some even have non-slip sole and gel pad guards like the AQF Neoprene Ankle Brace Support Gel Pad Guard. Others have rubber foot grips for more increased traction. These somehow negate the usual issue of slipping and discomfort common in previous models making new neoprene sleeves for ankles a constant mainstay in many training centers, gyms and sparring clubs.
AQF Neoprene Ankle Brace Support Gel Pad Guard
3. Athletic Tape. Like elastic wraps, athletic tapes are commonly used in Muay Thai as ankle support. Instead of donning as standalone ankle support though, they are often seen beneath a wrap or a neoprene sleeve to add more bulk to the protective barrier or to hold an injury in place. Athletic tapes like the Ace Brand below are commonly used not just in Muay Thai but also in other combat sports to provide layered protection and support to an athletes lower limbs in general as the ankle holds a huge impact on stability, strength and stance.
4. Ankle Guards. Favored by majority of combat sports athletes across the globe, the same can also be seen in various Muay Thai fights and training centers or gyms. These guards basically function like any other ankle wrap– to provide protection and support, and to enhance stability of one’s stance. In Muay Thai, wearing ankle guards is deemed required for fights and also when training on heavy bags and kicking pads. This pair from Yokkao, for instance, are often worn for competitions and heavy trainings for their added protection and support while enhancing circulation on the joints for a more optimized performance.
Without a doubt, wearing of Muay Thai ankle support serves its purpose whether on training or in competition, and that the right choice is always a matter of preference. When picking the best one though, always consider the size of the heel opening for ready-to-wear sleeves since too small or too big will tend to negatively impact one’s performance. For elastic wraps and bands, see to it that you choose one with high traction as you will be moving around a lot. As always, wearing one will definitely minimize injuries.