An ankle stabilizing orthosis (ASO) ankle brace holds the ankle in a neutral position in order to prevent injury or help an injury to heal. It is meant to mimic the effect of wrapping the ankle. The brace consists of a piece of fabric that wraps around the heel, foot and ankle, which laces up the front and is then further secured by two stabilizing straps and an external strap that wrap around the ankle and are firmly secured by Velcro. It is often used by athletes and particularly by football players.
The ASO ankle brace comes in multiple sizes so as to ensure a close fit. In addition to holding the ankle in a neutral position, the braces keep the heel secure in order to help avoid eversion or inversion injuries or re-injuries in the area. The braces are typically made of a thin nylon that enables the wearer to wear it with a shoe. The external strap rests outside the shoe, thus allowing tightening of the brace without removing the shoe.
To put on an ASO ankle brace, the foot is first secured in the heel of the loosened brace. Then the laces are tightened so that there is no more than two inches or 50 millimeters of space between the two sides. If this spacing cannot be achieved, then the brace is too small. The proper brace size can be determined by measuring around the foot from the bony portion of the ankle down to the base of the heel.
Once the brace has been laced, the stabilizing straps can be secured. First the internal strap is wrapped around the ankle in a downward diagonal direction and secured. Then the external strap is wrapped downward and diagonally in the opposite direction and secured. To ensure a close fit, the foot must rest flat on the floor during the wrapping. The ends of the straps are best pulled up gently, but with a firm motion once the process is complete.
The final step is to secure the outer elastic cuff. This is stretched over the laces and stabilizing straps and wrapped straight around the ankle. It is in the proper position if the logo on the brace rests on the front of the ankle.
An ASO ankle brace is best washed by hand and air-dried. The brace should be cleaned with gentle soap in order to preserve the fabric. It is also advisable to wash the brace only once a month in order to maintain the shape.