There are many different types of Aircast-brand medical devices in use today. We'll explore how to apply one of the most commonly used braces made by Aircast: the ankle stirrup. This stirrup is used frequently for the treatment of ankle sprains and certain types of ankle fractures.
Let's explore how to apply this brace. You, as a patient, will typically be given a doctor's prescription to obtain one of these, but there are many similar braces that can be purchased in sports stores and other types of stores.
Know your weight-bearing allowance. Depending upon your injury, progress of recovery and amount of post-injury swelling, your weight-bearing status may range from none to full weight bearing. Make sure you know what is allowed and obtain the proper equipment or apparel for it, i.e., crutches or shoes.
Apply an ace bandage or a sock to the affected foot and ankle. A white athletic or tube sock is preferred as the dye in dark socks can stain the skin from perspiration. If you are using an ace bandage, be sure to wrap it comfortably to avoid unnecessary swelling.
Open the Aircast ankle brace and determine the inner and outer sides. The heel strap has a rounded edge to it that denotes the "rear" of the brace. It should be positioned to correspond to the rounded portion of your heel.
The brace comes with its side pads pre-inflated with air. It also comes with a small tube to allow for adding or removing air from the padded sides. For the most part, however, you shouldn't need to adjust the amount of inflation.
Place your foot into the brace and rest it on the floor. The ankle and foot should be at a 90-degree angle to each other, if possible This sets the foot in a position to allow for wrapping of the straps around the ankle. Start with the bottom strap and work upward. This makes for a more secure fit. Wrap straps just tightly enough to prevent slippage.
Put on shoe or slipper if weight-bearing protocols permit. If not, use crutches for protected weight-bearing according to your doctor's instructions.
In actuality, a laced-up shoe does indeed contribute added support and protection to the ankle.
Be sure you apply the correct Aircast for your ankle, as they come in right and left. Your foot should be resting on a flat surface when applying the brace and adjusting the straps. If using a shoe (i.e., tennis shoe), loosen laces enough to easily insert foot.
Don't over-inflate padded side panels. This increases the distance between the body and the brace and compromises the level of support.
It's generally recommended that you not apply the brace directly to the skin as it can cause blistering.