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 in this particular area are stretched and used beyond there limitations. This is even more so in sports that require a lot of kicking, jumping, hopping, and other various movements to the lower limbs. No wonder a Muay Thai ankle support comes in handy. Aside from protection and support, each pair also helps increase stability, and enhance the performance of a fighter when worn.
Supporting one’s ankles when training, sparring, or fighting in the ring is essential in Muay Thai. Shoes aren’t worn in the ring. Instead, a pair of support, often called “braces”, have been worn by experienced athletes. 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 supports to give you the support and protection you need while performing the various Muay Thai kicks…
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 and in fights, elastic wraps are often worn 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 materials, antimicrobial features, and are often moisture-wicking as well. 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 them as a standalone ankle support, 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 exclusive to Muay Thai, they are also used in other combat sports to provide layered protection and support to an athletes lower limbs. In general terms, the ankle plays a huge part in your stability, strength, and stance. Protection is of utmost importance.
4. Ankle Guards. Favored by a majority of combat sports athletes across the globe, these can also be seen in various Muay Thai fights, training centers, and gyms. These guards basically function like any other ankle wrap– to provide protection and support, and to enhance the 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 in the joints for more optimized performance.
Without a doubt, the wearing of Muay Thai ankle support serves its purpose whether in training, or in competition. The right choice is a matter of preference, and what you intend to use it for. When picking the best one though, always consider the size of the heel opening for ready-to-wear sleeves. Sleeves which are 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.