The Effect of Ankle Brace Use on a 3-Step Volleyball Spike Jump Height

Daniel Z You, Mike Tomlinson, Greg Borschneck, Andrew Borschneck, Mark MacDonald, Kevin Deluzio, Dan Borschneck
Arthroscopy, sports medicine, and rehabilitation 2020, 2 (5): e461-e467

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to determine whether ankle brace use in university-level varsity volleyball athletes affected their 3-step spike jump height and whether certain types of ankle braces have a greater effect on jump height.

METHODS: Nine male university-level varsity volleyball athletes participated in a repeated-measures design study in which each athlete performed three 3-step volleyball spike jumps in 3 ankle brace conditions (soft, rigid, and no brace). Vertical jump height was measured by the Vertec device and video motion analysis at a university biomechanics research laboratory.

RESULTS: Vertical jump heights were significantly lower in both brace conditions (soft, 2.3 cm, standard deviation [SD] 1.2 cm, P < .001; rigid, 1.7 cm, SD 0.9 cm, P < .003) compared with the no-brace condition, and no differences in vertical jump height were observed between the brace conditions (0.6 cm, SD 0.3, P  = .3). There was a negative correlation between body fat percentage and vertical jump height ( r  = -0.075, P  = .02). The Vertec device reliably measured vertical jump in all 3 conditions. The no-brace vertical ground reaction forces during the loading phase were significantly greater than brace conditions. Ankle range of motion was greatest in the no-brace condition.

CONCLUSIONS: Results from this study suggests that high-performance athletes wearing ankle braces experience a significant decrease in vertical jump height independent of the type of ankle brace worn.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Sports physicians and health care providers caring for high-level athletes should counsel athletes on the trade-offs of wearing protective equipment in sport, as potential decreases in sports performance can lead to increased injury prevention.


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