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Ground reaction force in basketball cutting maneuvers with and without ankle bracing and taping.

CONTEXT AND OBJECTIVE: In basketball, the most common injuries are ankle sprains. For this reason, players frequently use external ankle devices or taping as prophylactic and rehabilitation measures. The purpose of this study was to evaluate ground reaction force (GRF) responses in basketball players while performing typical cutting maneuvers with and without ankle bracing and ankle taping.

DESIGN AND SETTING: Comparative study with experimental design of single-group repeated measurements, at Medical Rehabilitation Division, Hospital das Clínicas, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de São Paulo.

METHODS: Vertical (Fy) and medial-lateral (Fz) GRF measurements were made under three conditions (taping, Aircast-type orthosis and basketball shoes alone), with analysis of peak forces at foot contact (Fymax1, Fzmax1, Fymax2 and Fzmax2), growth gradient (peak/time) (GG Fymax1, GG Fzmax1, GG Fymax2 and GG Fzmax2) and impulse after foot contact.

RESULTS: Bracing significantly reduced Fymax2 and GG Fymax2. GG Fzmax1 was significantly higher for the sport shoe condition than for the taping condition. Taping increased Fy in relation to the sport shoe at foot contact, but over a longer time interval, without increasing excessive ankle loading. Fz reached a peak in less time, which might generate greater inversion/eversion loading on a player's foot. The Aircast exerted better shock-absorbing effect than did the other two conditions, since it generated less vertical force over longer time intervals and smaller medial-lateral forces in relation to taping.

CONCLUSIONS: Ankle bracing and ankle taping action mechanisms are still unclear and therefore should be carefully prescribed. More studies are needed to clarify taping and bracing effects on sporting activities.

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