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Ankle braces effectively reduce recurrence of ankle sprains in female soccer players.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of ankle bracing and taping in preventing recurrencess of ankle sprains, specifically in female athletes.

DESIGN AND SETTING: Varsity soccer players' medical records over a five-year period were retrospectively reviewed at a Division III women's college. Data were extracted regarding any history of ankle sprain(s), type of intervention used as prophylaxis after the ankle sprain, number of exposures, and any incidence of recurrence.

SUBJECTS: All collegiate varsity soccer players who had suffered a previous sprain to either one or both ankles (38 players) were identified as subjects.

MEASUREMENTS: Each previously injured ankle (n = 56) was considered as a case for the analysis. Ankles that had a previous sprain received one of four interventions: 1) a canvas, laced ankle brace (n = 19), 2) taping (n = 12), 3) a combination of taping and ankle bracing (n = 8), or 4) no treatment (n = 17).

RESULTS: The four intervention groups had a total of 1717 practice exposures and 650 competitive game exposures; exposures did not differ among the 4 groups. Ankle sprain recurrence frequency was 0%, 25%, 25%, and 35% for the braced, taped, combination, and untreated groups, respectively. The recurrence incidence for the braced group was significantly lower than that of the other three groups. The ankle sprain recurrence frequency did not differ among the taped, combination, and no treatment groups.

CONCLUSION: We suggest that prophylactic ankle bracing is effective in reducing the incidence of ankle sprains in female soccer players with a previous history of ankle sprains.

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