What is the Best Achilles Tendon Brace in 2019?

Throughout history it’s been a weak spot—if you believe a popular version of the legend about the renowned Trojan warrior, Achilles. The story goes that in order to protect Achilles, Thetis, his mother, dipped him in the waters of the River Styx, believed to bestow powers of invulnerability.

But the heel that Achilles’ mother held him by while being dipped in the water proved to be his shortcoming. Killed by an arrow which penetrated his ankle, the demise of Achilles was widely recorded in Greek and Roman writings.

Poor Achilles isn’t alone either—the Achilles tendon can be the source of physical issues for many people, and it can be a really miserable problem to deal with. There are some types of Achilles problems that can take a long time to resolve.

For many people, Achilles problems can make it difficult to continue normal daily activities, and it can also mean having to take time out from your favorite sporting activities.

Using a brace to support the ankle while rehabilitating from an Achilles problem can be a very useful step in recovery, and can help in a number of different ways.

So let’s find out exactly what an ankle brace is, how it works, and how to choose the best Achilles tendon brace.

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Product
Product Details
Our #1 Rated

Aircast

Airheel Ankle Brace

Airheel Ankle Brace
Formed with two connected air cells, found under the foot arch and back of the Achilles tendon.
Our #1 Rated

Aircast

Airheel Ankle Brace

Formed with two connected air cells, found under the foot arch and back of the Achilles tendon.

Med Spec

ASO Ankle Stabilizer

ASO Ankle Stabilizer
Designed to fit either the right or left foot, brace includes figure-of-eight shaped strapping for total support.

Med Spec

ASO Ankle Stabilizer

Designed to fit either the right or left foot, brace includes figure-of-eight shaped strapping for total support.

Vive Health

Sprained Ankle Brace

Sprained Ankle Brace
Created for the sportsperson. This brace is lightweight and constructed from neoprene to allow the foot to breathe.

Vive Health

Sprained Ankle Brace

Created for the sportsperson. This brace is lightweight and constructed from neoprene to allow the foot to breathe.

Cramer

Dorsal Night Splint

Dorsal Night Splint
A rigid splint that alleviates the symptoms of plantar fasciitis by providing strong support throughout the night.

Cramer

Dorsal Night Splint

A rigid splint that alleviates the symptoms of plantar fasciitis by providing strong support throughout the night.

CEP

Unisex Ortho+ Achilles Brace

Unisex Ortho+ Achilles Brace
Smart memory foam combined with compression support to improve ankle stability. Tested to over 150 washes & wears.

CEP

Unisex Ortho+ Achilles Brace

Smart memory foam combined with compression support to improve ankle stability. Tested to over 150 washes & wears.

What Is an Achilles Tendon?

Tendons are the tough connective tissue that wrap each individual bundle of muscle fibers. At the end of the muscle belly, this connective tissue continues, forming a strong but stretchy band that secures muscle to bone.

The Achilles tendon is a particularly large tendon located at the back of our ankle. It connects the calf muscles—the visible, more superficial gastrocnemius and the underlying, lesser known soleus to the heel bone, or calcaneus. At the calcaneus, the tendon fibers blend with other fibers which extend under the foot to form the plantar fascia.

Achilles tendons are generally very tough, and can cope with a large amount of force—they have to, on a daily basis. Sometimes, though, for a number of different reasons, the Achilles tendon can present problems.

What Kind of Problems Happen?

It’s possible to tear the Achilles tendon, although this usually takes considerable, sharp force put through a cold, unprepared tendon. People returning to sport after a long break, or those involved in a one-off event without proper training and warm up, are individuals who can suffer an Achilles tear.

It’s an alarming experience, with the sound often described as similar to a gunshot followed by immediate swelling and possible pain—depending on the extent of the tear—and extensive bruising which usually tracks down to the foot.

On the other hand, there’s a high incidence of people who experience pain in the Achilles tendon due to irritation or repetitive use. Typically, these conditions result in some inflammation in the tendon—a classic Achilles tendinopathy.

Who Is at Risk?

Evidence suggests Achilles problems can affect a number of people who take part in competitive and non-competitive regular activity and in people who are sedentary.

Overall, the incidence of Achilles tendinopathy is estimated to be around 5 to 10 cases for every 100,000 people—but can be higher in some areas—with tendon ruptures accounting for less than 9 percent. Statistics show the figure rises to a lifetime incidence of 24 percent for competitive athletes, and increases to as high as 50 percent if you’re a runner.

Below, you can view a quick video of the anatomy and physiology of the Achilles tendon. It includes some really clear diagrams so you can see exactly what the inside of your ankle looks like, some common injuries and treatment techniques that are used for the Achilles tendon:

What Is an Achilles Tendon Brace?

An Achilles tendon brace is a type of brace which is fixed securely around the ankle. There are various designs and styles from a number of different manufacturers, but they’re all intended to do the same job.

An ankle brace appropriate for an Achilles tendon problem should generally fit around the ankle closely, but not too tightly. They can come in the form of a wrap-around brace, secured by Velcro straps

What Does an Achilles Tendon Brace Do?

An Achilles tendon brace is designed to give support and make the ankle feel secure and stable. They provide compression, and often feature stabilizing straps which wrap around the ankle for additional reinforcement.

Precautions for Use

An ankle brace is a great option for providing your ankle with support as part of a rehabilitation program. It’s not, however, a substitute for proper medical assessment and advice. While an ankle brace can help you experience a reduction in pain, it may not resolve the original cause of an injury.

If you’re experiencing ankle pain, there are a number of different potential diagnoses, and not all of them involve the Achilles tendon. To be sure that you have a clear and accurate diagnosis, in all cases you should seek professional medical help.

Make sure your ankle brace isn’t so tight that it prevents blood flow. An ankle brace should feel tight enough to be supportive, but not so tight that you can’t easily slide a finger between the brace and the skin.

What Is the Best Achilles Tendon Brace?

As you can probably imagine—or maybe you’ve had a look for yourself—there are a huge number of different ankle braces which are suitable to use to support the Achilles tendon.

The following five products are our top selection of all the braces that were researched. These five have been subjected to rigorous review to reveal their positive and negative points, so you can easily see which brace could be the best achilles tendon brace for you.

Our #1 Rated
Our pick our #1 rated

Aircast

AirHeel Ankle Brace

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
    Price

  • Quality
    Our rating

This is a very popular product from a company that has a long, well-established reputation for producing excellent-quality splints, braces and other medical equipment. A lot of people really liked the design of this brace—which helps to limit movement to a certain extent—but most didn’t report that it feels too restrictive.

Many users commented that this brace is very comfortable to wear, and the open panel at the front of the ankle ensures your feet don’t get too warm. People thought the air cells improved the fit and compression of the brace, which worked well for the majority.

A few people reported that this brace didn’t help their symptoms, and some had problems with the air cells flattening after light use. In the main, though, the comments were very positive, stating that the brace provides a good level of support for most activities. This was also the least expensive of the five braces, which explains the many comments about fantastic value for money.

Pros
Pro Comfortable.
Pro Air cell technology for improved support and compression.
Pro Tested with 1000 pounds of pressure.
Pro Features removable medial and lateral stabilizers.
Pro Good level of support.
Pro Washable
Pro breathable fabric.
Pro Adjustable Velcro strap.
Pro Suitable to wear with footwear.
Pro Available in three sizes.
Pro Noticeably reduced pain for many people.
Cons
Con Needs practice to fit the brace precisely for best effect.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Our #2 Rated
Our pick our #2 rated

Med Spec

ASO Ankle Stabilizer

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
    Price

  • Quality
    Our rating

This product was a big hit, with many people finding that the lace-up part of the brace lends itself well to getting the tension and support just right. Users commented that they felt their ankle was very secure when using this brace, and many made a particular point of saying how easy it is to put on and take off.

People also liked the extra security of the additional straps which improve ankle support. Many also commented that they noticed significantly less pain when wearing this ankle brace following an Achilles tendon injury. The majority of people found this brace sits comfortably inside most footwear, although a few people did feel it made their shoe too tight.

Other criticisms were concerned with the level of support, with a couple of people saying they felt the brace was too rigid, and one or two reporting it didn’t provide enough support. This demonstrates that it’s probably not entirely possible to find a brace universally liked by everyone. As a rule, this brace was seen as good quality, effective and reasonably good value for money by the majority.

Pros
Pro Enclosed heel design.
Pro Soft
Pro comfortable fabric.
Pro Lightweight.
Pro Adjustable lace-up fastening.
Pro Additional stabilizing straps.
Pro Low profile.
Pro Washable.
Pro Breathable.
Pro Available in eight different sizes.
Pro Suitable for children.
Cons
Con Some people found this brace made their footwear too tight.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Our #3 Rated
Our pick our #3 rated

VIVE

Ankle Stabilizer Brace

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
    Price

  • Quality
    Our rating

A nicely presented good-quality product, this is a pleasant, neat brace which impressed many users when it came to comfort and durability. Many users reported that this brace made their ankle feel very well supported and secure—this seemed to be particularly linked to the wraparound medial and lateral support straps. Most people felt it was low profile enough to be worn with the majority of sports shoes, although a couple of people disagreed, finding it too tight for them to use inside footwear.

The only other negative comment was that one person reported that this brace caused skin abrasions, but this was one exception rather than the norm. Most people were very happy with the level of comfort and support.

Several people reported experiencing less pain when using this ankle brace, and most people found it easy to fit and remove. Overall, most people thought this was a good-quality product which was effective. There was almost universal agreement about the cost of this brace; as the least expensive of the five products, it offers excellent value for money.

Pros
Pro Open heel design.
Pro Comfortable to fit and wear.
Pro Lightweight.
Pro Provides compression.
Pro Good level of support.
Pro Breathable
Pro washable fabric.
Pro Adjustable Velcro multidirectional straps.
Pro Suitable to wear with footwear.
Pro Available in one adjustable size.
Cons
Con Can cause skin abrasions.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Our #4 Rated
Our pick our #4 rated

Cramer

Dorsal Night Splint

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
    Price

  • Quality
    Our rating

Some people were a little daunted by the look of this brace—it’s quite austere at first glance. It’s designed to limit ankle activity by restricting the movement in fixing the position at the front of the ankle, rather than the back, and using straps to hold it in place around the calf and foot.

The feel and design of this brace soon won many people over, though. Several people commented that it is actually quite lightweight and easy to wear in bed, while providing a good level of support and stretch. Many found this splint easy to fit correctly and noted that it stays in place well during the night. Several people really liked wearing a splint with an open heel area for a more natural feel when lying in bed.

Many users, including medical professionals, reported this brace to be very effective in helping to stretch the achilles tendon at night, and subsequently helping to reduce symptoms such as pain. A small amount of people experienced issues with poor sizing or incorrect fit, but in general, most people liked it a lot. Although it’s a few dollars more than some of the other products reviewed, people thought this brace was good value.

Pros
Pro Open heel design.
Pro Soft
Pro comfortable fabric.
Pro Lightweight.
Pro Adjustable Velcro straps.
Pro Low profile.
Pro Washable fabric inner lining.
Pro Breathable for low heat retention.
Pro Non-slip undersurface.
Pro Available in two different sizes.
Cons
Con A few people had problems with incorrect sizing or fit.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Our #5 Rated
Our pick our #5 rated

CEP

Ortho+ Achilles Brace

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
    Price

  • Quality
    Our rating

One thing that really stood out for many users about this product is the unique design, which incorporates pockets of gel to provide increased Achilles tendon support. Users reported that they could really feel the additional support, and their ankle felt very steady and secure when wearing this brace.

People really liked the sleek, compact look of this brace, and found that it fitted neatly into most types of sports footwear—although one or two people said it made their sneakers feel too tight. Some users found it so comfortable that they hardly noticed they were wearing it.

The main drawback for some was that their brace started to come apart. While this wasn’t a concern for most users, it was a little disappointing, especially considering this is the most expensive ankle brace by a considerable margin in our top five.

Pros
Pro Certified medical device.
Pro Comfortable to wear.
Pro Gel technology for improved support and compression.
Pro Good level of support.
Pro Washable
Pro breathable fabric.
Pro Adjustable Velcro strap.
Pro Suitable to wear with footwear.
Pro Available in six sizes.
Pro 100 percent customer satisfaction guarantee.
Cons
Con A minority of users had problems with premature wear and tear.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Our Choice

The Achilles tendon is an important structure at the back of the ankle which connects the posterior calf muscles to the heel bone. It can be the source of several different problems, and in many cases, a good-quality ankle brace can help to alleviate pain, improve function and help people return to their normal daily activities.

We researched many different products, and all of the five we chose for our in-depth review were popular with many users. They all had some kind of positive effect on ankle stability and in reducing pain levels for many people. The overall winner, however, and best achilles tendon brace was the Aircast AirHeel Ankle Support Brace.

This brace particularly impressed a large number of users who found it comfortable to wear and supportive at the same time. Many people commented that this brace provides good compression, although it does need to fitted exactly to the midline of the foot to be truly effective, and for some, this took practice.

Several people said it was worth taking the time to get this brace correctly positioned, though, and many reported significantly less pain when using this brace, which gave them the confidence to return to normal activities sooner after injury.

All in all, this is a good-quality brace which is offered at a very reasonable price from a reputable manufacturer. If your Achilles is giving you problems, then this brace is a worthy investment.

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