Study shows lace-up ankle braces keep athletes on the court

July 8, 2011, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine

Lace-up ankle braces can reduce the occurrence of acute ankle injuries in male and female high school basketball players, according to research presented at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's Annual Meeting in San Diego. The study demonstrated that the braces are effective for athletes both with and without a history of ankle injury.

"We wanted to see whether the use of lace-up ankle braces is a viable option for in
high school basketball players," said lead researcher, Timothy A. McGuine, PhD, ATC, with the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "Basketball has one of the higher rates for ankle injuries, and this study illustrates how a simple brace can help keep an athlete on the court."

Acute ankle injuries are typically the result of a traumatic event, often caused by the sudden stops and starts common to a sport like basketball, and can include sprains and fractures.

The study focused on a total of 1,460 male and female basketball players (between the ages of 13-18) from 46 high schools across the US. Athletes were divided into a braced group, who wore a synthetic, fabric, lace-up ankle brace, and a control group with no brace. A total of 78 acute ankle injuries occurred in the control group, compared to 27 injures in the braced group.

"Seeing more than three times the amount of acute ankle injuries without the brace is a telling statistic," said McGuine. "Having more players wear a brace on a regular basis would help prevent injury."

Information on the effects of lace-up ankle braces on all lower extremity injuries is still limited and suggested for further research.

Explore further: Foot positioning during walking and running may influence ankle sprains

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