Demystifying Preventive Equipment in the Competitive Athlete
and 2Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center Family Medicine Residency Program, University of Connecticut Health Center, Hartford, CT.Current Sports Medicine Reports (Impact Factor: 1.55). 11/2012; 11(6):304-8. DOI: 10.1249/JSR.0b013e31827558c8
Sports-related injuries are rising as the interest and participation in sports rise. Recent epidemiologic study suggested that one in five injuries in individuals 18 years or younger reporting to the emergency department were found to be sports related. These injuries also were found to account for up to 19% of primary care injury-related visits. In this article, we will be reviewing the use of five different types of sports protective equipment (ankle support, knee support, mouthguards, eyeguards, and helmets) and the protection provided by each with level of current evidence. We found that the literature supports the use of ankle braces and mouthguards in athletes. The use of knee braces and eye protection in some athletes is indicated. Helmets to prevent head injuries are supported, but it is uncertain if that extends to concussion prevention. Soccer headgear is not supported and needs randomized control studies to show benefit.
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ABSTRACT: Purpose: Ankle appliances are common prophylactic measures or treatments for ankle injuries employed in athletics. It is unknown whether ankle appliances might be therapeutically useful to injured athletes gradually returning to exercises such as the back squat. The primary objective of this study was to determine if standard ankle appliances influenced hip, knee, or ankle joint angles in the sagittal plane during standard back squat. Methods: Twenty-four healthy males (12 college football players and 12 non-football trained individuals) performed back squats at 50% 1RM in five ankle conditions: shoes with standard tape job, standard lace brace, Figure-8 brace, or ASO brace; and shoes alone (control). Ankle, knee, and hip joint angles were measured by video analysis before, at the bottom of, and after the squat. Subjects self-reported perceived comfort, exertion, and stability after completing all squats for each condition. Results: No significant differences were seen in joint angles between any of the appliances or control during any phase; however, significant differences were seen between football and non-football groups in specific joint time point combinations. While there were no significant differences in self-reports of perceptual measures between ankle appliances or control, non-football subjects indicated a higher exertion score than football subjects. Findings between subject groups are likely explained by back squat technique differences. Conclusion: Results suggest that common ankle appliances have negligible effects on movements in the sagittal plane or on perceptions of foot proprioception during the back squat.
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