“ Brand: Aircast / Type: Ankle brace „
I have to say I find these really high tech for something as simple as an ankle brace. This looks rather like a shin guard for playing football except you have two solid bits. The plastic is backed by foam and then covered by a vinyl plastic layer, which inflates. Unfortunately it does not come with the pump, which allows you to put the braces on, then inflate so that the support perfectly fits the foot. But even without this, you shove in a tube, give a few puffs and then put these on. The slightly air filled pads allow for maximum support without putting any pressure on the leg or ankle, and as air can move about, allows for some movement or even swelling throughout the day. The only problem with this, is there is no stopper or way to seal this other then a bit of sticky plastic at the top. I really can not see this lasting for more then a few months, then the benefit of adding air will be gone.
These braces provide almost total support. I think it is impossible to actually turn or twist your ankle with these on. They are fairly comfortable, and easy enough to wash off. The straps however are not removable and being white and fabric are bound to get absolutely filthy over time. Also because this is all plastic, you do need to have tall enough socks to keep this off your skin. Otherwise they are very hot and sticky. I really can't imagine using these in the summer months, but then, we don't get a very long summer anyway. Finally they are terribly difficult to get on and it is easy to adjust them wrong. If you get them too loose, they may come undone, which leaves you vulnerable to falls as well as being rather awkward flopping about until you can get them fixed. If you get them too tight, you lose circulation to your feet.
I was given these by my physio, so did not pay for them. Checking on Amazon however I see the price is nearly £70 each after postage. I certainly hope the NHS is not paying anywhere near this amount. I could not see anyway of justifying the price of this item, and would not recommend purchase. At a much lower price though, I would be happy enough to recommend these to anyone who needs full support of the ankles, on a temporary basis, at least over the winter months. I simply don't expect these to last long enough for long term use.
I do think the idea of air support is brilliant. I just think a little more thought should have gone into design. I think this should have had some way to seal the air compartments, removable straps for washing, and perhaps a cloth layer over the plastic and vinyl. I have given these 3 stars, because they are very light weight and provide excellent support. They loose one for design flaws though, and another for price, and three stars is very generous considering how bad both price and design flaws are.