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Why do NBA players like Trae Young and Steph Curry wear Ankle Braces?
Ankle sprain!! Two words every basketball player has probably experienced at some point in their career. On average, ankle sprains affect approximately 26% of NBA players each season and account for a large amount of missed NBA games (1) . Ankle sprains plagued Stephen Curry early in his career and resulted in two different surgeries. Stephen Curry was able to turn around his career when he started wearing Zamst ankle braces and implementing a program focused on strengthening his core and hips. This allowed him to put his ankle woes behind and move forward with his future.
On the other hand, Trae Young is four years into his career and has dealt with minor injuries so far. However, he wears the same Zamst ankle brace as Stephen Curry. Why? For Trae it’s all about preventing a severe injury and his ankle braces are doing just that. Trae has had a few ankle sprains that should have been more severe but because of the braces he only missed a limited amount of time. Trae knows that he wants to be around a long time in the NBA and one way to do that is reducing his injury risk.
The 5 biggest takeaways from wearing ankle braces
- Reduces ankle sprains
- Lessen the severity of an ankle sprain
- It can increase your availability to your team
- Does not limit your agility
- Allows players protection after an ankle sprain
What does this mean for you?
In a 2019 study, looking at ankle braces they found that three different types of braces reduced ankle and foot inversion compared to the unbraced group (2). Reducing the chance of an ankle sprain can be a true game changer in basketball. How many times have you gone up for a shot and came down on someone’s foot? Or trying to gather a rebound and start the break but you roll your ankle. These are all situations that can be greatly reduce with some ankle protection. Zamst ankle braces not only provide protection but they allow you to feel confident in every move you make on the court.
Lessening the severity of an ankle sprain can be the difference between a player missing a couple of days/games or being out multiple weeks or even a couple of months. This is a huge advantage one can have with an ankle brace especially when it comes to the frequency of ankle sprains in basketball. In March 2022, Trae Young sprained his ankle against the Boston Celtics in the first quarter. He was able to finish the game with a strong effort because he was wearing a Zamst ankle brace. With what looked like a severe ankle sprain Trae Young was able to miss minimal time and return to game action.
“The best ability is availability”
When it comes being available for your team ankle braces have been proven to reduce ankle sprains compared to unbraced basketball players. So why don’t more basketball players wear ankle braces? This is a great question! Often times young athletes don’t know about the benefits of ankle braces. It’s because they have never been educated on them at a young age. There is a big notion that ankle braces will limit your skill level but that couldn’t be further from the truth with Stephen Curry winning multiple MVP’s and Championships.
“I won’t be as quick on the court with an ankle brace”
Basketball players often feel the less restriction the more agile they will be on the court. Most players have this notion of feeling restricted when wearing an ankle brace and they believe they wouldn’t be as quick wearing one. Stephen Curry and Trae Young are two of the most agile guards in the NBA and they both wear the Zamst ankle brace. It’s important for young athletes to be aware of the options they have for reducing injuries and severity of an ankle sprain.
“I’ve sprained my ankle how do I get back on the court?”
Coming back from an injury can be very difficult for an athlete especially when it comes to feeling ready to play. When you sprain your ankle, you will have instability of the ligaments because they have been stretched out. This can increase your likelihood of another ankle sprain. This can be a great reason to wear an ankle brace when you return to reduce the chance of another ankle sprain. This can help players gain more confidence in returning and feel ready to play at their level.
Playing basketball at a high level requires the body to withstand certain movements that could put your ankle at risk for a sprain. Adding a layer of protection can reduce ankle sprains, limit severity of injury, and increase your availability to your team. Players like Stephen Curry and Trae Young have adopted the Zamst ankle brace and have not been limited in agility. They are some of the fastest point guards in the NBA.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
EVAN JEFFRIES is a physical therapist with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT) from the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences. He is also the owner of Evolving Motion and has vast knowledge of the musculoskeletal system and has treated many orthopedic conditions by bringing a proactive approach to healthcare and lifestyle. Recently he has also been active on social media as an injury analyst mainly in related to injuries NBA players have sustained. Evan can be followed on his social media accounts.
1. Herzog MH, Mack CD, Dryer NA, Wikstrom EA, Padua DA, Kocher MS, DiFiori JP, Marshall SW. Ankle Sprains in the National Basketball Association, 2013- 2014 Through 2016-2017. Am J Sports Med. 2019 Sep;47 (11): 2651-2658.
2. Dewar RA, Arnold GP, Wang W, Drew TS, Abboud RJ. Comparison of 3 ankle braces in reducing ankle inversion in a basketball rebounding task. The Foot. 2019 June; Vol 39: 129-135