by Bridget Collier PT, DPT
The study, “Comparison of 3 Preventative Methods to Reduce the Recurrence of Ankle Inversion Sprains in Male Soccer Players” looks at 3 interventions and a control group to determine which is the most effective in preventing recurring ankle sprains.
Ankle inversion sprains are the most common injury among soccer players. This type of injury occurs when the foot is pointed and turns in. Multiple studies have found that once an individual sprains their ankle, they have an increased chance of reinjuring the same ankle.
There are three interventions that have been proven to help prevent re-current ankle sprains in previous studies; proprioceptive training, strength training, and ankle orthoses. Proprioception refers to the awareness of one’s self movement and body position and training typically includes balance activities on varying surfaces. In terms of strength training for the ankle, multiple studies have determined that strengthening the ankle evertors will help to prevent re-current ankle sprains. Ankle orthoses (ankle braces) are a commonly used device that individuals wear to prevent ankle sprains and research has supported that these can help protect the ankle during impact.
This study separated 80 male soccer players participating in a men’s league with a history of an inversion ankle sprain in the previous season with no prior history of LE injuries into 4 groups. The groups consisted of proprioceptive training, strength training of the evertors, orthoses group (using the Aircast Inc Sport Stirrup orthosis), and a control group (no treatment intervention completed). The athletes were followed for one soccer season where each group participated in about 120 games and practices combined.
This study found that one individual in the proprioceptive training group, four individuals in the strength training group, two individuals in the orthosis group and eight individuals in the control group had a re-current ankle sprains during the soccer season. Statistically, there was a significant lower incidence of ankle sprains in athletes of the proprioceptive training group compared to the control group. However, there were no statistically significant differences between either the strength training group or the orthosis group compared to the control group.
Overall, the study found that proprioceptive training is an effective intervention to reduce risk of ankle sprains when compared to no intervention in male soccer players who have suffered a prior ankle sprain. Although this study did not find significant differences between the strengthening and orthotic group compared to the control group, there is other clinical evidence that indicates that these interventions have been proven effective. This study was relatively small with a select population, so results may have been statistically significant if the study was broadened.
For more information regarding this topic or the research presented, please see the article referenced below. If you have an ankle sprain or re-current ankle sprains, the physical therapists here at Physical Therapy First will examine you and develop an individualized rehabilitation plan to help improve your symptoms. Proprioceptive and strength training will likely be incorporated into your unique program. Give us a call or visit the website to schedule an appointment!
Mohammadi, Farshid. (2007). Comparison of 3 Preventive Methods to Reduce the Recurrence of Ankle Inversion Sprains in Male Soccer Players. The American journal of sports medicine. 35. 922-6. 10.1177/0363546507299259.