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Collegiate Football Players' Ankle Range of Motion and Dynamic Balance in Braced and Self-Adherent-Taped Conditions.

CONTEXT:   Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries in the physically active population. Previous researchers have shown that supporting the ankle with taping or bracing is effective in preventing ankle sprains. However, no authors have compared the effects of self-adherent tape and lace-up ankle braces on ankle range of motion (ROM) and dynamic balance in collegiate football players.

OBJECTIVE:   To examine the effectiveness of self-adherent tape and lace-up ankle braces in reducing ankle ROM and improving dynamic balance before and after a typical collegiate football practice.

DESIGN:   Crossover study.

SETTING:   Collegiate athletic training room.

PATIENTS OR OTHER PARTICIPANTS:   Twenty-nine National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I football athletes (age = 19.2 ± 1.14 years, height = 187.52 ± 20.54 cm, mass = 106.44 ± 20.54 kg).

INTERVENTION(S):   Each participant wore each prophylactic ankle support during a single practice, self-adherent tape on 1 leg and lace-up ankle brace on the other. Range of motion and dynamic balance were assessed 3 times for each leg throughout the testing session (baseline, prepractice, postpractice).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S):   Ankle ROM for inversion, eversion, dorsiflexion, and plantar flexion were measured at baseline, immediately after donning the brace or tape, and immediately after a collegiate practice. The Y-Balance Test was used to assess dynamic balance at these same time points.

RESULTS:   Both interventions were effective in reducing ROM in all directions compared with baseline; however, dynamic balance did not differ between the tape and brace conditions.

CONCLUSIONS:   Both the self-adherent tape and lace-up ankle brace provided equal ROM restriction before and after exercise, with no change in dynamic balance.

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