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The effect on neuromuscular stability, performance, multi-joint coordination and proprioception of barefoot, taping or preventative bracing.

Foot 2009 December
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to assess the effects of taping and preventive bracing on functional balance, jumping performance, multi-joint coordination and proprioception on comparison to barefoot and each other.

DESIGN: Controlled trial as an experiment with the independent variable testing in 3 trials: control (barefooted), preventive bracing, and taping.

SETTING: The sports physiotherapy research laboratory.

PARTICIPANTS: Twenty physically active male university students aged between 20 and 28 who had been free from lower extremity pathology for 12 months and had no previous history of ankle sprain served as participants.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Single leg balance (s), jumping performance (cm), coordination and proprioception assessments by the Functional Squat System. The software automatically calculated the absolute average error (cm) and the standard deviation (SD) of the average error. Average errors were independently quantified as a function of the action mode (concentric versus eccentric) and of the lower limb (dominant versus non-dominant).

RESULTS: There was no significant difference among the groups for balance tests (p>0.05). For vertical jump performance of bilateral and the dominant leg there were significant differences that the barefoot group had better results compared to the other groups (p=0.059; 0.017). According to the coordination results of Functional Squat System participants were better in brace and tape situations since the deviations were less for all concentric and eccentric positions. Deviation results for the proprioception test were different for first visual and non-visual deviations for dominant leg (p<0.05).

CONCLUSION: In conclusion, bracing and taping may play an important role in preventing injury or rehabilitation of the injured ankle by improving concentric and eccentric coordination, proprioception with the ability of reproducing motion in closed kinetic chain while decreasing vertical jump performance. No superiority of brace over tape or vice versa was found in this study.

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