Ankle Braces vs. Taping: Rose Injuries Worsened by Ankle Taping

trilok ankle braceDerrick Rose has had a rash of recent lower body injuries. Now some speculate that taping his ankle may have led to more injuries instead of protecting against them.

Rose has sustained a number of injuries this season including a turf toe injury during a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves in January, groin and back injuries, and most recently an ankle sprain.

We’ve already mentioned how these injuries are all likely related, but new information sheds light on another possible cause of the injuries.

A source close to Rose reports that the Bulls’ trainers insisted on taping his feet and ankles after the initial injuries, despite Rose’s insistence otherwise. Rose has long been a supporter of ankle braces over taping. This taping could very well have led to Rose’s subsequent injuries.

Dr. Silverman Comments

Taping an ankle to prevent a sprain is worthless after 15 minutes. No tape sticks adequately to the skin beyond that time—it loosens and becomes a hindrance rather than a help. A well fit ankle stabilizing ankle brace is a much better option. A Trilok is my preferred brace as it allows unique control of the ankle through the midfoot, and thus helps prevent ankle instability.

Rose is right. Trainers love to tape but the benefits are hard to prove. Simple stabilization taping bottom line doesn’t help. The latest craze is the technique of Kinesio taping. Initial reports show promise but a recent meta-analysis doesn’t show a benefit from taping.

The bottom line for all people with ankle instability (including Derrick Rose) is this: either you brace the ankle and work to accommodate through physical therapy or you fix the ankle with surgery.

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Lance Silverman, MD

Orthopaedic Surgeon and founder of Silverman Ankle & Foot. Treating Minnesotans with Ankle & Foot problems since 2004.

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  1. says

    Hi Lance,

    If Derrick Rose were wearing Ektios, this would have prevented the initial ankle sprains, which would have subsequently not caused him to sprain his ACL as compensation for having a weak ankle. I totally agree with your assessment. In addition, him wearing Ektios after the sprain would greatly diminish his chance for reinjury as opposed to tape and braces. With Ektios, the shoe is inhibited from inverting, thus the chance of ankle sprains is signficantly reduced. Wearing tape or braces does not stop the shoe from rolling, unlike Ektio where the foot and shoe become a single unit, making rollover inversion injuries highly unlikely.

    The same can be said in the Stephen Curry case. By not wearing our shoe, even now, he greatly is increasing the risk of reinjury and consequently, of ending his potentially brilliant career way too prematurely.

    • says

      I agree that taping is of very limited value. Not only does it loosen in 15 minutes, but there is another more serious limitation. Tape is attached to the foot and subsequently, the shoe can still rollover, producing an inversion ankle sprain. Until and unless the shoe becomes a part of the foot and ankle and does not act independently, ankle sprains will continue to occur. The same limitations apply to bracing.

      The proof is in the pudding. How many pro athletes have you seen sprain their ankles who have been taped? A better question is how many times when an athlete lands awkwardly on another player’s foot and they are taped or braced, do they walk away with no injury at all. These incidents raise serious doubts about tape’s effectiveness.

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