Factors associated with ankle injuries. Preventive measures

S Robbins, E Waked
Sports Medicine 1998, 25 (1): 63-72
A sense of foot position in humans is precise when barefoot, but is distorted by athletic footwear, which accounts for the high frequency of ankle sprains in shod athletes. It is unclear whether taping and rigid and semi-rigid devices protect against ankle sprains, as all of the studies suggesting this are flawed by inadequate controls. If these devices do protect the ankle, it is not through added support but rather through a partial correction of the deceased foot position awareness caused by footwear. Since taping and rigid and semi-rigid devices interfere with normal movement, there is concern that these might actually increase the frequency of injury at the ankle and/or at different locations. In this respect, taping is less of a concern because it interferes least with normal movement. The best solution for reducing ankle sprains in shod athletes is the use of more advanced footwear to retain maximal tactile sensitivity, thereby maintaining an awareness of foot position comparable to that of the barefoot state or perhaps even improving on it.

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