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The Effect of a Proprioceptive Balance Board Training Program for the Prevention of Ankle Sprains A Prospective Controlled Trial

Abstract and Figures

Ankle sprains are the most common injuries in a variety of sports. A proprioceptive balance board program is effective for prevention of ankle sprains in volleyball players. Prospective controlled study. There were 116 male and female volleyball teams followed prospectively during the 2001-2002 season. Teams were randomized by 4 geographical regions to an intervention group (66 teams, 641 players) and control group (50 teams, 486 players). Intervention teams followed a prescribed balance board training program; control teams followed their normal training routine. The coaches recorded exposure on a weekly basis for each player. Injuries were registered by the players within 1 week after onset. Significantly fewer ankle sprains in the intervention group were found compared to the control group (risk difference = 0.4/1000 playing hours; 95% confidence interval, 0.1-0.7). A significant reduction in ankle sprain risk was found only for players with a history of ankle sprains. The incidence of overuse knee injuries for players with history of knee injury was increased in the intervention group. History of knee injury may be a contraindication for proprioceptive balance board training. Use of proprioceptive balance board program is effective for prevention of ankle sprain recurrences.
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Ankle injuries are the most common injuries across a wide
variety of sports.
6,12,14,16,22
Athletes who suffer from ankle
sprains are more likely to reinjure the same ankle,
2,5,10,17
which can result in disability and can lead to chronic pain
or instability in 20% to 50% of these cases.
13
Of all sports,
volleyball has a relatively high incidence of sprains con-
sidering the noncontact nature of this game.
2
This high
incidence of ankle sprains in volleyball and their negative
consequences for future sports participation call for pre-
ventive measures.
Braces and tape are widely used measures to prevent
ankle sprains. It is known from previous research that use
of braces reduces incidence of ankle sprain,
1,6,12,14,16
and it
is argued that tape also has a preventive effect because the
working mechanism is thought to be similar to braces.
However, both measures have negative side effects
19
; for
example, whereas braces can be irritating if not fitted
properly and are argued to negatively affect performance,
tape loosens during play, needs to be applied by qualified
personnel, and can cause skin irritation.
Proprioceptive balance board training is another meas-
ure, presumably as effective as braces and tape but with-
out the above-mentioned negative side effects.
3,17,20
This
measure is already used in the rehabilitation following
ankle sprain to restrengthen muscles and ligaments and to
restore proprioception of the damaged structures around
the ankle.
7-9
Proprioceptive balance board training has
also been suggested as an alternative to taping or bracing
in the prevention of ankle sprains. Previous studies
The Effect of a Proprioceptive
Balance Board Training Program for
the Prevention of Ankle Sprains
A Prospective Controlled Trial
Evert Verhagen,* Allard van der Beek,*
Jos Twisk,* Lex Bouter,* Roald Bahr,
and Willem van Mechelen*
†§
From the *EMGO-Institute, Amsterdam, the Netherlands,
Body@Work, Amsterdam,
the Netherlands, and the
Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center, Oslo, Norway
Background: Ankle sprains are the most common injuries in a variety of sports.
Hypothesis: A proprioceptive balance board program is effective for prevention of ankle sprains in volleyball players.
Study Design: Prospective controlled study.
Methods: There were 116 male and female volleyball teams followed prospectively during the 2001-2002 season. Teams were
randomized by 4 geographical regions to an intervention group (66 teams, 641 players) and control group (50 teams, 486 play-
ers). Intervention teams followed a prescribed balance board training program; control teams followed their normal training rou-
tine. The coaches recorded exposure on a weekly basis for each player. Injuries were registered by the players within 1 week
after onset.
Results: Significantly fewer ankle sprains in the intervention group were found compared to the control group (risk difference =
0.4/1000 playing hours; 95% confidence interval, 0.1-0.7). A significant reduction in ankle sprain risk was found only for players
with a history of ankle sprains. The incidence of overuse knee injuries for players with history of knee injury was increased in the
intervention group. History of knee injury may be a contraindication for proprioceptive balance board training.
Conclusions: Use of proprioceptive balance board program is effective for prevention of ankle sprain recurrences.
Keywords: prevention; ankle sprains; volleyball; proprioception; prospective
1385
DOI = 10.1177/0363546503262177
§
Address correspondence to Willem van Mechelen, EMGO-Institute,
VU Medisch Centrum, Van der Boechorststraat 7, 1081 BT Amsterdam,
the Netherlands (e-mail: w.vanmechelen@vumc.nl).
No author or related institution has received financial benefit from
research in this study.
The American Journal of Sports Medicine, Vol. 32, No. 6
DOI: 10.1177/0363546503262177
© 2004 American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
1386 Verhagen et al The American Journal of Sports Medicine
showed that this method is promising in doing so.
3,17,21
However, these previous studies failed to show a signifi-
cant reduction of ankle sprains, presumably because of low
sample size and/or inadequate study design.
The aim of the present study was to study the effect of a
proprioceptive balance board training program on the inci-
dence of ankle sprains in volleyball players, in a prospec-
tive controlled trial.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Population
All 288 teams from the second and third Dutch volleyball
divisions were invited to participate in this study (Figure
1). At the time of invitation, coaches did not know whether
they were assigned to the control or intervention group. A
total of 116 teams (49 male, 67 female) consisting of 1127
players agreed to participate, and coaches of all participat-
ing teams were informed face to face of the purpose of the
study, the procedures of the study, and their study group
allocation. None of the participating teams followed any
additional ankle-strengthening programs.
The study was approved by the Medical Ethics
Committee of the VU University Medical Center,
Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and each participating play-
er gave written informed consent.
Randomization
The second and third Dutch volleyball divisions are spread
roughly over 4 different geographical regions. Within these
regions, second and third division teams compete against
each other in regional competitions. For practical reasons,
we chose to randomize the teams by these 4 geographical
regions. This was done to avoid spillover of the interven-
tion between teams in the same regional competition and
between teams of the same club playing in different divi-
sions and/or competitions but within the same region. It
was also expected that coaches would be more inclined to
participate if the group allocation would not differ between
teams in 1 competition, thereby avoiding the argument of
inherent different training and playing conditions between
teams during the competition. This method of randomiza-
tion by geographical regions resulted in an n = 4 trial with
an intervention group of 66 teams (29 male, 37 female) and
a control group of 50 teams (20 male, 30 female) (Figure 1).
Training Program
At the start of the season, coaches of intervention teams
were educated in the use of the prescribed balance board
training program by a sports physician or physical thera-
pist. Each intervention team was provided with 5 balance
boards, an instructional booklet, and an instructional
videotape. In the videotape, players of the Dutch national
under 21 team served as a role model to enhance credibil-
ity of the intervention. Halfway during the season, all
intervention teams were visited by a sports physician or
physical therapist to check compliance and ensure proper
use of the training program.
The training program was designed in collaboration
with sports physicians of the Dutch Volleyball Association
(NeVoBo) and the Dutch National Olympic Committee
(NOC*NSF). The training program consisted of 14 basic
exercises on and off the balance board, with variations on
each exercise (Table 1). The program provided the coach
each week with 4 prescribed exercises: (1) 1 exercise with-
out any material, (2) 1 exercise with a ball only, (3) 1 exer-
cise with a balance board only, and (4) 1 exercise with a
ball and a balance board. Each week, all 4 prescribed exer-
cises were of similar difficulty and intensity, with a grad-
ual increase in difficulty and intensity during the 36-week
volleyball season. During each warm-up, the coach chose 1
of the 4 prescribed exercises to carry out. The total dura-
tion of 1 exercise, in which both ankles were trained, was
approximately 5 minutes. Once an exercise was carried
out, it could not be chosen again during the same week.
This program was pretested for feasibility in 4 teams prior
to the start of the intervention.
Design and Measurements
At the start of the season (September 2001), all participat-
ing players completed a questionnaire on demographic
variables, sports participation (volleyball and other
sports), use of preventive measures, and previous injuries.
This questionnaire was repeated in January 2002 (follow-
up 1) and again at the end of the season (May 2002, follow-
up 2).
Exposure was recorded by the coach on an exposure
form. Coaches noted the total duration time of each train-
ing session and match as well as the participation of
each player (full, three quarters, one half, one quarter, or
no participation). If the player did not participate fully, the
coach noted the reason, that is, being injured, ill, or absent
for other reasons. Completed exposure forms were
returned on a weekly basis. If data were missing on the
exposure forms, the coach was contacted to inquire on the
missing data.
Injuries were registered on an injury registration form
by means of self-report by the injured player. The injury
registration form was specifically designed for this cause
in cooperation with 2 sports physicians of the Dutch
Volleyball Association. On this form, the players were
asked to choose from a given list the injury location, injury
type, diagnosis of the injury, direct cause of the injury, pre-
ventive measures used at time of injury, first aid given, and
subsequent medical treatment. Also, players were asked to
explain in their own words the direct cause and events
leading to the injury, as well as the physical symptoms
resulting from the injury.
In case of injury, the coach provided the injured player
with an injury registration form, which had to be completed
within 1 week after the onset. If an injury was noted on the
exposure form and no injury registration form had been
received within 2 weeks after the injury was logged, the
coach was contacted and urged to get the player to com-
plete the injury registration form.
Vol. 32, No. 6, 2004 Balance Board Training and Ankle Sprain Prevention 1387
Injury Definition
An injury was defined as an event that caused the subject
to stop his or her volleyball activity or caused the subject
to not fully participate in the next planned volleyball activ-
ity. All recorded injuries were blinded for group assign-
ment and independently determined as being either acute
(ie, resulting from a sudden event during organized volley-
ball) or overuse (ie, resulting from volleyball but without a
sudden event leading to injury) by 2 sports physicians of
the Dutch Volleyball Association, using the injury registra-
tion forms. In addition, both physicians diagnosed all
injuries to the ankle as either acute lateral ankle ligament
sprains or other ankle injuries. In a consensus meeting,
Teams assessed for eligibility
(N = 288)
Not reached before the start of the study (27 teams)
Forbidden to participate by club management (4 teams)
Refused to participate before oral instruction (60 teams)
Refused to participate after oral instruction (55 teams)
Other reasons (26 teams)
Allocated to intervention
66 teams, 641 players
Allocated to control
50 teams, 486 players
Loss to follow-up 1
15 teams, 197 players
Team reasons
Did not return 2
nd
questionnaire (1 team)
Coach quit team (3 teams)
Coach moved without notice (1 team)
Suspected intervention to cause injuries (1 team)
Dropped out of competition (2 teams)
Lack of motivation to participate (1 team)
Unknown reasons (6 teams)
Individua l reasons
Did not return 2
nd
questionnaire (14 players)
Quit the team (40 players)
Loss to follow-up 1
9 teams, 149 players
Team reasons
Did not return 2
nd
questionnaire (3 teams)
Coach quit team (2 teams)
Personal reasons (1 team)
Lack of time (1 team)
Unknown reasons (2 teams)
Individual reasons
Did not return 2
nd
questionnaire (19 players)
Quit the team (43 players)
Loss to follow-up 2
3 teams, 52 players
Team reasons
Suspected intervention to cause injuries (1 team)
Unknown reasons (2 teams)
Individual reasons
Quit the team (18 players)
Loss to follow-up 2
3 teams, 44 players
Team reasons
Coach quit team (2 teams)
Coach deceased (1 team)
Individual reasons
Quit the team (23 players)
Complete follow-up
48 teams, 392 players
Complete follow-up
38 teams, 340 players
116 teams agreed to participate in
the study; this resulted in a
population of 1127 individual
volleyball players.
Figure 1. Flowchart of the prospective intervention trial.
1388 Verhagen et al The American Journal of Sports Medicine
TABLE 1
The Exercises of the 36-Week Balance Board Training Program
knee flexed.
No Material Ball Balance Board Ball & Balance Board
Exercise 1
One-legged stance with the knee
flexed. Step-out on the other leg
with the knee flexed and keep
balance for 5 seconds. Repeat 10
times for both legs.
Variations 1 2 3 4
Exercise 3
Make pairs. Both stand in one-
legged stance with the knee
flexed. Keep a distance of 5
meters. Throw and/or catch a ball
5 times while maintaining
balance. Repeat 10 times for both
legs.
Variations 1 2
Exercise 5
One legged stance on the balance
board with the
Maintain balance for 30 seconds
and change stance leg. Repeat
twice for both legs.
Variations 1 2 3 4
Exercise 7
Make pairs. One stands with both
feet on the balance board. Throw
and/or catch a ball 10 times with
one hand while maintaining
balance. Repeat twice for both
players on the balance board.
Exercise 2
One-legged stance with the hip
and the knee flexed. Step-out on
the other leg with the hip and knee
flexed, and keep balance for 5
seconds. Repeat 10 times for both
legs.
Variations 1 2 3 4
Exercise 4
Make pairs. Stand both in one-
legged stance with the hip and
knee flexed. Keep a distance of 5
meters. Throw and/or catch a ball
5 times while maintaining
balance. Repeat 10 times for both
legs.
Variations 1 2
Exercise 6
One-legged stance on the balance
board with the hip and knee
flexed. Maintain balance for 30
seconds and change stance leg.
Repeat twice for both legs.
Variations 1 2 3 4
Exercise 8
Make pairs. One stands in one-
legged stance with the knee flexed
on the balance board, the other has
the same position on the floor.
Throw and/or catch a ball 10 times
with one hand while maintaining
balance. Repeat twice for both
legs and for both players on the
balance board.
Variations 1 2
Exercise 10
Step slowly over the balance board
with one foot on the balance
board. Maintain the balance board
in a horizontal position while
stepping over. Repeat 10 times for
both legs.
Exercise 9
Make pairs. One stands in one-
legged stance with the hip and
knee flexed on the balance board,
the other has the same position on
the floor. Throw and/or catch a
ball 10 times with one hand while
maintaining balance. Repeat twice
for both legs and for both players
on the balance board.
Variations 1 2
Exercise 11
Stand with both feet on the
balance board. Make 10 knee
flexions while maintaining
balance.
Exercise 13
Make pairs. One stands with both
feet on the balance board. Play the
ball with an upper hand technique
10 times while maintaining
balance. Repeat twice for both
legs and for both players on the
balance board.
Variations 5 6 7 8
Variations on basic exercises:
1 The standing leg is stretched
2 The standing leg is flexed
3 The standing is stretched & the eyes are closed
4 The standing leg is flexed & the eyes are closed
5 The standing leg is stretched & upper hand technique
6 The standing leg is flexed & upper hand technique
7 The standing leg is stretched & lower hand technique
8 The standing leg is flexed & lower hand technique
Exercise 12
One-legged stance on the balance
board with the knee flexed. Make
10 knee flexions while
maintaining balance. Repeat twice
for both legs.
Exercise 14
Make pairs. One stands in one-
legged stance with the knee flexed
on the balance board, the other has
the same position on the floor.
Play the ball with an upper hand
technique 10 times while
maintaining balance. Repeat twice
for both legs and for both players
on the balance board.
Variations 5 6 7 8
Vol. 32, No. 6, 2004 Balance Board Training and Ankle Sprain Prevention 1389
both physicians tried to reach agreement on injuries that
they had determined/diagnosed differently. If no accord
was reached, a third sports physician would make the final
decision. This latter situation, however, did not occur.
Analyses
For each nonparticipating team, the number of players;
their gender, ages, and volleyball experience; and the num-
ber of registered players in the club were tracked through
the Dutch Volleyball Association for a nonresponse analysis.
Injury incidence was calculated for total volleyball par-
ticipation, and separately for training and matches, as the
number of injuries reported per 1000 hours of play (total,
match, or training, as appropriate), using exposure time of
each individual player until the first injury. For each spe-
cific injury type—for example, ankle sprains—injury inci-
dence was calculated using exposure time of each individ-
ual player until the first injury of this type. Risk difference
(RD) and corresponding 95% confidence interval (CI) were
calculated for the intervention group compared to the con-
trol group for total injuries and for each specific injury type.
Mean weeks of absence from volleyball due to injury and
SD were calculated for the intervention group and the con-
trol group. Absence was not normally distributed: few play-
ers had a long absence, and most players were absent from
volleyball for a short period of time because of their injury.
Therefore, differences in absence between groups were
tested using a Mann-Whitney test.
Cox regression analysis was used to compare ankle
injury risk between the intervention and control groups,
using a significance level of P < .05. It was decided a priori
to adjust for age, gender, player function, and previous
injury because these factors are believed to influence ankle
injury risk.
2,10
Other variables were checked for confound-
ing and/or interaction, but none were found.
Recorded exposure and injury data of players without
complete follow-up were included in the analyses until
they dropped out of the study.
Match exposure data were missing for 23 intervention
and 6 control teams. Because baseline variables of these 29
teams did not differ from the other teams, it was decided to
estimate the missing match exposure. For teams with
missing match exposure, the total duration of each indi-
vidual match was traced by cross-referencing to the match
exposure of the corresponding opposing team.
RESULTS
Population
The nonresponse analysis showed that significantly more
male than female teams did not participate in the study.
For the other variables (ie, number of players, age, volley-
ball experience, and the number of registered players in
the club), no differences were found (data not shown). The
participating 66 intervention teams and 50 control teams
consisted of 641 and 486 players, respectively (Table 2). At
baseline, no significant differences were found between
groups.
Injury Incidence
In the intervention group, a total exposure of 62 477 play-
ing hours was reported throughout the 36-week season,
during which a total of 132 injuries occurred. In the control
group, a total number of 102 injuries occurred during a
reported exposure of 42 960 playing hours. The overall
injury incidences in the intervention and control groups
were 2.1 per 1000 playing hours (95% CI, 1.8-2.5) and 2.4
per 1000 playing hours (95% CI, 1.9-2.8), respectively. The
overall risk of injuries was not different between both
groups (RD = 0.3; 95% CI, –0.3-0.9). The overall mean
absence from volleyball after injury was 4.2 ± 5.7 (SD)
weeks in the intervention group and 4.0 ± 4.5 weeks in the
control group (difference not significant, Mann-Whitney).
Acute Injuries
The overall acute injury incidence was 1.4 (95% CI, 1.0-1.7)
per 1000 playing hours in the intervention group and 1.8
TABLE 2
Subject Characteristics, Given as Mean (SD) or Percentage
Characteristic Intervention Control
n 641 (men = 286; women = 355) 486 (men = 197; women = 289)
Age, y 24.4 (2.8) 24.2 (2.5)
Weight, kg 74.3 (6.3) 73.6 (6.7)
Height, cm 183.2 (5.8) 182.4 (6.7)
Experience, y 13.3 (2.3) 12.8 (1.9)
Ankle protective devices
Brace 97 (15.1%) 74 (15.2%)
Tape 78 (12.2%) 62 (12.8%)
Previous injury
Ankle 419 (65.4%) 339 (69.8%)
Knee 278 (43.4%) 198 (40.7%)
1390 Verhagen et al The American Journal of Sports Medicine
(95% CI, 1.4-2.2) in the control group. No differences
between the intervention and control groups were found
for total, training, and match acute injury incidence (Table
3). For the intervention and control groups, the overall
mean absence after an acute injury was 4.6 ± 5.7 (SD)
weeks and 4.0 ± 3.8 weeks, respectively (difference not sig-
nificant, Mann-Whitney).
In both the intervention and the control groups, the
ankle (all sprains) was the most frequently injured body
part. The ankle sprain incidence was 0.5 (95% CI, 0.3-0.6)
per 1000 playing hours in the intervention group and 0.9
(95% CI, 0.6-1.2) in the control group. The ankle injury
incidence in the intervention group was with an RD of 0.4
per 1000 playing hours (95% CI, 0.1-0.7), significantly
lower than in the control group. No differences between
groups were found for the other acute injury categories,
that is, knee, other lower extremity, back, shoulder, and
other upper extremity.
Cox regression analysis adjusted for gender, age, player
function, and history of ankle sprains also showed that the
incidence of ankle sprains was lower in the intervention
group (relative risk [RR] = 0.5; 95% CI, 0.3-0.9). A sub-
group analysis for players with a history of ankle sprains
also showed a lower risk of ankle sprains in favor of the
intervention group (RR = 0.4; 95% CI, 0.2-0.8). No differ-
ence was observed for players without a history of ankle
sprains (Figure 2). The mean absence from volleyball after
an ankle sprain was 3.8 ± 3.3 weeks in the intervention
group and 4.5 ± 3.6 weeks in the control group (difference
not significant, Mann-Whitney).
Overuse Injuries
The incidence of overuse injury was 0.8 (95% CI, 0.6-1.0)
per 1000 player hours in the intervention group and 0.5
(95% CI, 0.3-0.8) in the control group (Table 4). The RD of
overuse injuries between control and intervention was –0.2
per 1000 playing hours (95% CI, –0.6-0.1). The incidence of
overuse knee injuries was significantly higher in the inter-
vention group than in the control group (RD = –0.2 per
1000 playing hours; 95% CI, –0.4 to –0.0). No differences
between groups were found for the other overuse injury
categories, that is, ankle, other lower extremity, back,
shoulder, and other upper extremity.
A Cox regression analysis adjusted for gender, age, player
function, and history of knee injuries did not show an
increased risk of overuse knee injuries in the intervention
group. However, a subgroup analysis for players with a his-
tory of knee injuries showed a higher risk of overuse knee
injuries in the intervention group (RR = 5.0; 95% CI, 1.1-
TABLE 3
Number of Acute Injuries, Injury Incidence, and Absence From Volleyball Due to Injury, Given by Injury Location
a
Control Intervention
Incidence Absence, wk Incidence Absence, wk 95% CI
n/1000 n/1000
Injuries, n Hours 95% CI Mean SD Injuries, n Hours 95% CI Mean SD RD Lower Upper
Ankle 41 0.9 0.6-1.2 4.5 3.6 29 0.5 0.3-0.6 3.8 3.3 0.4 0.1 0.7
Knee 5 0.1 0.0-0.2 4.0 2.6 14 0.2 0.1-0.3 8.8 8.8 –0.1 –0.3 0.0
Other lower 19 0.4 0.2-0.6 3.2 4.0 17 0.3 0.1-0.4 2.4 1.4 0.1 –0.1 0.3
extremity
Back 6 0.1 0.0-0.2 2.2 1.6 6 0.1 0.0-0.2 2.0 1.0 0.0 –0.1 0.2
Shoulder 2 0.0 0.0-0.1 9.5 12.0 6 0.1 0.0-0.2 2.8 2.2 –0.1 –0.1 0.0
Other upper 9 0.2 0.0-0.3 2.6 1.9 16 0.3 0.1-0.4 4.6 7.0 –0.1 –0.2 0.1
extremity
Training 48 1.4 1.0-1.7 3.6 3.5 49 1.1 0.8-1.4 3.4 3.2 0.3 –0.2 0.8
Match 34 2.9 1.9-3.9 4.7 4.2 39 2.3 1.6-3.0 5.2 6.6 0.6 –0.6 1.8
Total 82 1.8 1.4-2.2 4.0 3.8 88 1.4 1.0-1.7 4.6 5.7 0.4 –0.1 0.9
a
CI, confidence interval; RD, risk difference between the intervention and control groups.
Figure 2. Risk of recurrent ankle sprains shown as a per-
centage of players with ankle sprains within each category.
Relative risks and 95% confidence intervals are calculated
using Cox regression analysis adjusted for age, gender, and
player function.
Vol. 32, No. 6, 2004 Balance Board Training and Ankle Sprain Prevention 1391
24.3). No difference was observed for players without a his-
tory of knee injuries (Figure 3).
DISCUSSION
The main findings in this intervention study were that
after the systematic introduction of a proprioceptive bal-
ance board training program, (1) the incidence of acute lat-
eral ankle ligament injuries (ie, ankle sprains) for players
with a history of ankle sprains was lower in the interven-
tion group than in the control group, and (2) the incidence
of overuse knee injuries for players with a history of knee
injury was higher in the intervention group than in the
control group.
Ankle Injuries
Regarding ankle sprains, the results of our study contra-
dict the results of Söderman et al,
15
who found no effect of
balance board training on the incidence of ankle sprains.
However, their study was carried out in female soccer play-
ers. In contrast, other studies
3,17,21
have suggested a pre-
ventive effect of a proprioceptive balance board training
program on the risk of sustaining ankle sprains. In accor-
dance with the studies of Bahr et al
3
and Tropp et al,
17
the
effect of the intervention was greater for players with a
history of ankle sprains. It is known from the literature
that proprioceptive function at the ankle joint is reduced in
athletes after injury, which is suggested to lead to the high
risk of reinjury after an initial injury.
8,9,18
This impaired
proprioceptive function can be restored with a balance
board training program.
7
This might suggest that in our
study, as in the previous studies on balance board train-
ing,
3,17
we are not looking at a primary preventive effect of
the balance board training program but at a rehabilitative
effect.
Knee Injuries
Although a significant difference between groups was
found for overuse knee injuries, this could be a random
occurrence due to the fact that in total 12 comparisons
were made and because an increase in overuse knee
injuries was not part of the original hypothesis.
Furthermore, previous trials on the preventive effect of
balance board training
15,21
showed no effect on knee injury
incidence. From other trials,
3,17
it is not known what the
effect of the program was on knee injuries because ankle
sprain incidence was the only parameter measured. A bal-
ance board training program was associated with a 50%
TABLE 4
Number of Overuse Injuries, Injury Incidence, and Absence From Volleyball Due to Injury, Given by Injury Location
a
Control Intervention
Incidence Absence, wk Incidence Absence, wk 95% CI
n/1000 n/1000
Injuries, n Hours 95% CI Mean SD Injuries, n Hours 95% CI Mean SD RD Lower Upper
Ankle 0 0
Knee 5 0.1 0.0-0.2 2.9 1.8 19 0.3 0.2-0.4 4.6 7.3 –0.2 –0.4 –0.0
Other lower 4 0.1 0.0-0.2 1.8 1.1 8 0.1 0.0-0.2 1.9 1.0 0.0 –0.2 0.1
extremity
Back 8 0.2 0.0-0.3 2.4 1.2 14 0.2 0.1-0.3 2.9 4.2 –0.1 –0.2 0.1
Shoulder 9 0.2 0.0-0.3 6.2 9.4 7 0.1 0.0-0.2 1.8 2.4 0.1 –0.1 0.2
Other upper 0 1 0.0 0.0-0.1 0.5 0.0 –0.1 0.0
extremity
Total 26 0.5 0.3-0.8 4.0 6.2 49 0.8 0.6-1.0 3.1 5.1 –0.2 –0.6 0.1
a
CI, confidence interval; RD, risk difference between the intervention and control groups.
Figure 3. Risk of recurrent knee injuries shown as a percent-
age of players with knee injury within each category. Relative
risks and 95% confidence intervals are calculated using Cox
regression analysis adjusted for age, gender, and player
function.
1392 Verhagen et al The American Journal of Sports Medicine
reduction of acute ACL injuries in soccer players.
4
Moreover, balance board exercises are commonly used in
rehabilitating a traumatic knee injury. Add to this the fact
that the presently used training program consisted only of
a maximum of 4 exercises each week lasting no more than
5 minutes, which makes it unlikely that the balance board
training program itself can be linked to the observed
increase in overuse knee injuries in the intervention
group.
One possible explanation for our finding could be that
although we are preventing ankle sprains, we are also
shifting the weakest link in the injury chain up to the knee
joint. When forces are acting on an ankle and no ankle
sprain occurs because the ankle has been trained to with-
stand external forces, the knee joint could be stressed
abnormally, leading to injury. A similar shift in traumatic
injury pattern has been seen previously in alpine skiing, in
which the rigid coupling of the ski to the skier has reduced
the number of lower leg injuries but increased the number
of knee injuries.
11
However, the same reasoning should be
valid for the use of tape or brace, and from previous inter-
vention trials on these preventive measures,
1,6,12,14,16
it is
not known whether there has been an increase in overuse
knee injuries concurrent with a decrease in ankle sprains.
Therefore, this line of reasoning should be followed with
care, and the effect of proprioceptive balance board train-
ing on overuse knee injuries requires further study and
reconfirmation.
Methodological Considerations
Intervention studies in a sports setting do have some
inherent limitations, that is, compliance, injury awareness,
and contamination. We do not have concrete information
on how the coaches and players complied with the inter-
vention program. Direct contact with the coaches and the
teams was limited to an instructional meeting at baseline
and a visit by a sports physician at follow-up 1. In addition,
during the course of the study, all coaches were contacted
by phone at baseline, follow-up 1, and follow-up 2 by the
principal investigators to keep the coaches motivated. The
team visits and phone calls gave the impression that
coaches were well motivated, and coaches believed the
training program to be effective. From this, it might be con-
cluded that compliance with the program was reasonably
high in the present study.
Injury awareness is believed to be a major confounding
factor in sports injury research because it causes players to
adjust their sports behavior. In the present study, the effect
of injury awareness was minimized by giving at baseline
the intervention and control teams exactly the same infor-
mation on the background and procedures of the study. The
only difference in information between both groups was
the instruction on the balance board training program; this
information was kept from control teams. Therefore, injury
awareness is considered to be similar in the intervention
and control groups, ascribing observed differences to the
program only.
Contamination was reduced by means of the randomiza-
tion procedure. Randomization by player or team would
have greatly reduced control over contamination (and com-
pliance) and would have imposed practical logistical prob-
lems. Randomization by geographical region resulted in
control teams not meeting intervention teams during the
study, minimizing contamination.
It should be noted that in the present study, injuries
were registered by means of self-report, including the reg-
istration of previous injuries and the registration of
injuries during the study. Data on previous injuries were
obtained through the baseline questionnaire. Before com-
pletion of the baseline questionnaire, all players were thor-
oughly informed on the cause and symptoms of the
requested injuries and, thus, were believed to have the
proper knowledge to self-register previous injuries.
However, there is still a chance of recall bias. There is also
a chance of misclassification of injuries sustained during
the study as being acute or overuse, or a faulty diagnosis
of acute lateral ankle ligament sprains. Such errors have
been minimized by designing the injury registration forms
in cooperation with 2 board-certified sports physicians of
the Dutch Volleyball Association. Nevertheless, it should
be taken into account that some of the reporting of injury
history and injury occurrence could be subject to error due
to the methods employed.
Because randomization in the present study took place
at the level of 4 geographical regions, the possibility of
regional bias needs to be taken into account. Analysis by a
cluster-sampling method gives the opportunity to analyze
the data while taking a region-specific risk into account.
Unfortunately, the number of geographical regions (N = 4)
is too low for proper analysis by means of cluster sampling.
However, because in the Netherlands volleyball is a com-
petitive sport nationwide and because dropout and nonre-
sponse were divided equally over the 4 regions, regional
bias is most likely minimal.
Nonresponse in the present study was high. Only 116
teams of all 288 eligible teams agreed to participate and
returned the baseline questionnaire. Significantly more
male than female teams did not participate in the study.
For the other nonresponse variables (ie, number of players,
age, volleyball experience, and the number of registered
players in the club), no differences were found. However,
gender did not have a significant relation with the effect of
the intervention. Therefore, selection bias due to nonre-
sponse is believed to be limited in this study. Nevertheless,
the actual reasons for nonparticipation of refusing teams
remain unknown. Teams could have declined participation
because of, for instance, a low motivation or a disbelief in
the effect of a balance board program. This might have
resulted in, to some extent, overpositive results of the bal-
ance board program. Therefore, one may argue that the
preventive effect of a balance board program may be some-
what lower in the general volleyball population.
Loss to follow-up should be considered with care in the
present study. At follow-up 1, for instance, in the interven-
tion group 3 coaches switched teams, resulting in a loss of
about 30 individual players for reasons not related to this
Vol. 32, No. 6, 2004 Balance Board Training and Ankle Sprain Prevention 1393
study. Baseline variables of players who were lost to follow-
up did not differ from the other players. Therefore, bias due
to a selective dropout is believed to be limited in this study.
CONCLUSIONS
The present study showed that a proprioceptive balance
board program was effective in preventing recurrence of
ankle sprains. However, there seemed to be an increase in
recurrence of overuse knee injuries. Even so, the use of
such a program in volleyball is recommended for players
with a history of ankle sprains because in volleyball the
risk of ankle sprains outweighs the risk of knee injuries. So
far, players currently suffering from an overuse knee
injury are advised to refrain from a proprioceptive balance
board training program.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT
This study was financially supported by the Netherlands
Organisation for Health Research and Development
(ZonMw, grant 2200.0068) and the project-group Sport
Blessure Vrij of the Dutch National Olympic Committee
(NOC*NSF). The authors would also like to thank the
Dutch Volleyball Association for their cooperation and
specifically R H M Vesters, MD, and H J P A du Bois, MD,
for their important contribution and their willingness to
diagnose all registered injuries. Furthermore, we are very
grateful for the help given by M Inklaar in collecting the
data and for the statistical advice given by I Holme, PhD,
from the Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center.
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... Her ne kadar propriosepsiyonla ilgili çeşitli tartışmalar bugün hala devam etse de, artık spor yaralanmalarından sonra proprioseptif duyuyu geliştirebilen özel egzersiz programlarının uygulanması gittikçe rutine girmektedir. Bu yolla hastaların tedaviden yararlanma oranları arttırılmakta, spora dönüşleri hızlandırılmakta ve yeniden yaralanma olasılıkları ciddi oranda düşürülebilmektedir (Gilchrist, Mandelbaum, Melancon, Ryan et al., 2008;Kaminski, Buckley, Powers, Hubbard & Ortiz, 2003;Knobloch, Martin-Schmitt, Gösling, Jagodzinski, Zeichen & Krettek, 2005;Verhagen, Beek, Twisk, Bouter, Bahr & van Mechelen, 2004). ...
... Özel rehabilitasyon teknikleri ile propriosepsiyon yöntemleri kullanılarak yaralanmaların sıklığı azaltılmaya çalışılmakta ya da şiddeti ve ortaya çıkması önlenmeye çalışılmaktadır (Verhagen et al., 2004;Kaminski et al., 2003;Knobloch et al., 2005;Gilchrist et al., 2008;Risberg, Holm, Myklebust & Engebretsen, 2007). Jerosch ve ark. ...
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Özet: Spor yaralanmalarıyla ilgilenen bilim dallarında propriosepsiyon kavramının önemi her geçen gün biraz daha fazla anlaşılmaktadır. Proprioseptif egzersizlerle tedavi sonuçları daha iyi hale getirilebilmekte, yeniden yaralanma riski azaltılabilmektedir. Ayrıca yaralanma öncesi proprioseptif eğitimle, yaralanma sıklığının da azaltılabildiğine inanılmaktadır. Bandajlama, breysleme, kas yorgunluğu, egzersiz ya da cerrahi tedavi gibi birçok faktörün propriosepsiyonu etkilediği gösterilmiştir. Sportif rehabilitasyonda sık kullanılan sıcak ya da soğuk uygulamalarının propriosepsiyona etkileri ise yeterince bilinmemektedir. Bu çalışmanın amacı, sıcak ve soğuk uygulamanın eklemlerde propriosepsiyonu etkileyip etkilemediğini ortaya koymaktır. Sıcak uygulama sonrasında propriosepsiyon düzeyinin arttığı, soğuk uygulama ile propriosepsiyonun kötüleştiği saptanmıştır. Bu bulgular umut verici görünmektedir ve gelecekteki başka çalışmalarla da desteklenirse spor yaralanmalarının önlenmesi ya da tedavisinde yararlı olabilir. Abstract: Importance of proprioception in the treatment and prevention of sports injuries has become increasingly clear. Outcome of treatments are increased through proprioceptive rehabilitation, and re-injury risk is reduced. It is also believed that incidence of injury may be reduced by using pre-injury proprioceptive education. Bracing, muscle fatigue, exercises and surgery has been shown to affect proprioception level. Little is known about the effect of heat and cold application on proprioceptive capability which is the most commonly used treatment modalities on sportive rehabilitation. Purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of cold and heat application on joints proprioception. In this study it has been identified that proprioception increased after hot application and it decreased after cold application. These findings seem to be promising and may be useful in prevention and treatment of sports injuries, if supported by future studies.
... Her ne kadar propriosepsiyonla ilgili çeşitli tartışmalar bugün hala devam etse de, artık spor yaralanmalarından sonra proprioseptif duyuyu geliştirebilen özel egzersiz programlarının uygulanması gittikçe rutine girmektedir. Bu yolla hastaların tedaviden yararlanma oranları arttırılmakta, spora dönüşleri hızlandırılmakta ve yeniden yaralanma olasılıkları ciddi oranda düşürülebilmektedir (Gilchrist, Mandelbaum, Melancon, Ryan et al., 2008;Kaminski, Buckley, Powers, Hubbard & Ortiz, 2003;Knobloch, Martin-Schmitt, Gösling, Jagodzinski, Zeichen & Krettek, 2005;Verhagen, Beek, Twisk, Bouter, Bahr & van Mechelen, 2004). ...
... Özel rehabilitasyon teknikleri ile propriosepsiyon yöntemleri kullanılarak yaralanmaların sıklığı azaltılmaya çalışılmakta ya da şiddeti ve ortaya çıkması önlenmeye çalışılmaktadır (Verhagen et al., 2004;Kaminski et al., 2003;Knobloch et al., 2005;Gilchrist et al., 2008;Risberg, Holm, Myklebust & Engebretsen, 2007). Jerosch ve ark. ...
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... The goal of neuromuscular and proprioceptive training programs is to identify and correct the underlying biomechanical dysfunction in the lower extremity kinematic chain that predisposes an athlete to certain musculoskeletal injuries. While these preventative training programs have been described for numerous acute and chronic sports-related injuries, the vast majority of the literature focuses on integrative neuromuscular training to decrease the risk of non-contact ACL injuries (28,30,31). There is little data on the effects of neuromuscular training on other non-contact injuries, such as meniscal injury, that are more commonly seen in women's lacrosse. ...
... Proprioceptive balance board training is another intervention that aims to prevent lower extremity injuries and has proven to be effective in reducing ankle injuries in athletes by improving muscle strength around the ankle. Verhagen et al (31) followed 116 male and female volleyball teams during the 2001-2002 season and found that players who participated in proprioceptive balance board training experienced significantly fewer ankle sprains compared to athletes who did not participate in this training program. Thus, balance board training may be an effective intervention to lessen the risk of ankle injuries in female lacrosse players. ...
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... Therefore, true exposure times were presumably lower than reported. 34 In addition, our retrospective analysis was based on voluntary medical consultations of new injuries only, and not all registered injuries (in particular gradual onset injuries) could be attributed to a single sport. Combined with differences in injury definitions, 35 these will have led to lower IR's than other studies on injury risks in PETE students. ...
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... 40 Furthermore, previous clinical trials showed a reduction in ankle injuries when performing a proprioceptive training program in athletes with a history of ankle injury only. [59][60][61] Moreover, the previously mentioned meta-analysis by Schiftan et al 47 revealed a marked reduction in ankle sprains in sporting populations with and without a history of ankle injury: RR 0.64 (95% CI 0.51 to 0.81) and RR 0.57 (95% CI 0.34 to 0.97), respectively. This indicates that proprioceptive training is an effective element in preventing secondary ankle sprains in different sporting populations. ...
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... Epidemiologic studies also demonstrated that the ankle and the knee are the most common anatomic regions injured in volleyball players [7][8][9][10][11]. Specifically, ankle sprain is the most common injury in volleyball, with a study showing a rate of 41% [12] and another 53% during a whole season [9]. The most ankle joint injuries occur due to foot's contact with the ground during movements, jump and landing [7,13]. ...
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... The integration and synthesis of multi source and multi modal healthcare data on a larger scale would be a significant issue. 3. Longitudinal Analysis: Longitudinal data is the collection of repeated measurements of participant outcomes and possibly treatments or exposures (69), which means that "the outcome variable is repeatedly measured on the same individual on multiple occasions (70)." In recent decades, longitudinal data analysis, particularly statistical longitudinal data analysis, has gotten a lot of attention. ...
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... In addition to running and active stretching exercises, the warm-up program should also include proprioceptive and neuromuscular exercises. A study by Verhagen et al. [27] demonstrated that training on a balance board, for example, could reduce the likelihood of ankle sprain. Another study showed that poor peak dorsiflexor torque at the ankle was associated with an increased incidence of ankle injuries in elite female field hockey players [28]. ...
Chapter
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Chapter
Acute ankle sprains are considered to be one of the most commonly occurring musculoskeletal injuries, and this incidence seems to be particularly high in physically active individuals. Sprains of the lateral ligament complex are the most commonly occurring sprains in the ankle. The epidemiological statistics available might not even be accurate enough since not all individuals sustaining an acute ankle sprain might present to an emergency department or even seek medical care. The incidence of these injuries might vary slightly from the general population to the athletic population and indeed might even vary more in sport-specific activities. These injuries and more so the complications or long-term sequelae associated with them might pose a significant socioeconomic burden on the society. It appears that acute, first time, and recurrent ankle sprains all play a role in the incidence rates of this injury, and consequently, these factors should be taken into consideration when planning injury prevention intervention protocols. In spite of these facts, the initial management of acute ankle sprains is still not yet scientifically validated or proven. Early and staged functional rehabilitation exercises and programs have been shown to be of great value. Generally, the ultimate management goal should be to control the inflammatory process, regain full range of motion (ROM), and improve muscle strength and power while maintaining and improving proprioceptive abilities.KeywordsAcute ankle sprainLateral ankle sprainManagement of sprain ankleRehabilitation for sprain ankleTreatment of sprain ankle
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In a prospective study of risk factors for lateral ankle sprain among 390 male Israeli infantry recruits, a 18% incidence of lateral ankle sprains was found in basic training. There was no statistically significant difference in the incidence of lateral ankle sprains between recruits who trained in modified basketball shoes or standard lightweight infantry boots. By multivariate stepwise logistic regression a statistically significant relationship was found between body weight x height (a magnitude which is proportional to the mass moment of inertia of the body around a horizontal axis through the ankle), a previous history of ankle sprain, and the incidence of lateral ankle sprains. Recruits who were taller and heavier and thus had larger mass moments of inertia (P = 0.004), and those with a prior history of ankle sprain (P = 0.01) had higher lateral ankle sprain morbidity in basic training.
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A device to simulate ankle motion associated with inversion ankle injury was constructed. This device consists of a trap door that can be tilted 30° from the horizontal plane. Surface EMG electrodes were placed over the peroneus brevis and peroneus longus muscles. The time measured from the tilting of the plate to the first muscular response on the EMG was defined as the reflex time. Twenty individuals with unilateral ankle joint instability were tested. The mechanical ankle joint stability was measured using standardized radiographic measurements, taking into account anterior talar translation and talar tilt. The mean anterior talar translation was 5.9 mm and the mean talar tilt was 3.2° in the stable ankles, compared to 12.7 mm and 10.5° for the unstable ankles. The mean reflex time was 68.8 ms (peroneus longus) and 69.2 ms (peroneus brevis) in the stable ankles as compared to 84.5 ms (peroneus longus) and 81.6 ms (peroneus brevis) in the unstable ankles. Important factors influencing functional instabi...
Article
This prospective randomized intervention investigated whether training on a balance board could reduce the amount of traumatic injuries of the lower extremities in female soccer players. A total of 221 female soccer players from 13 different teams playing in the second and third Swedish divisions volunteered to participate in the study. Seven teams (n=121) were randomized to an intervention group and six teams (n=100) to a control group and were followed during one outdoor season (April-October). Before and after the season muscle flexibility and balance/postural sway of the lower extremities were measured in the players. There were no significant differences in age, height, weight, muscle flexibility and balance/postural sway of the lower extremities between the intervention and the control group. During the season the players in the intervention group performed a special training program consisting of 10-15 min of balance board training in addition to their standard soccer practice and games. After a 37% drop-out the intervention group consisted of 62 players and the control group of 78 players. The results showed no significant differences between the groups with respect either to the number, incidence, or type of traumatic injuries of the lower extremities. The incidence rate of "major" injuries was higher in the intervention group than in the control group. Four of five anterior cruciate ligament injuries occurred in the intervention group, which means that we could not prevent severe knee injuries in female soccer players with balance board training. However, among the players who had been injured during the 3-month period prior to this investigation there were significantly more players from the control group than from the intervention group who sustained new injuries during the study period.
Background: Ankle injuries account for 30 to 60% of all parachuting injuries. This study was designed to determine if outside-the-boot ankle braces could reduce ankle sprains during Army paratrooper training. Methods: The randomized trial involved 777 volunteers from the U.S. Army Airborne School, Fort Benning, Ga. Of this group, 745 completed all study requirements (369 brace-wearers and 376 non-brace-wearers). Each volunteer made five parachute jumps, for a total of 3,674 jumps. Results: The incidence of inversion ankle sprains was 1.9% in non-brace-wearers and 0.3% in brace-wearers (risk ratio, 6.9; p = 0.04). Other injuries appeared unaffected by the brace. Overall, 5.3% of the non-brace group and 4.6% of the brace group experienced at least one injury. The risk ratio for injured individuals was 1.2:1 (non-brace to brace groups; p = 0.65). Conclusion: Inversion ankle sprains during parachute training can be significantly reduced by using an outside-the-boot ankle brace, with no increase in risk for other injuries.
Article
Sport injuries are unwanted adverse effects accompanying participation in sports. In a wide variety of sports the most common location of injury is the ankle, frequently resulting from a forced plantar flexed inversion of the foot exceeding the physiological range of motion (ROM). Historically the purpose of external support systems is to prevent acute ankle injuries by restricting abnormal ankle ROM. It is believed that a superior restrictive effect also implies a superior preventive effect. The purpose of this review was to examine the literature regarding the restricting effect of adhesive taping, prophylactic ankle stabilisers (PAS) and high-top shoes on ankle ROM. It has been found that tape restricts ankle eversion and inversion ROM significantly following application. However, tape loosens significantly following standardised exercise and sports activities. Studies regarding PAS reported that both semi-rigid and nonrigid stabilisers give a significant post-application restriction of ankle invers
Article
The peroneal reflex time to sudden ankle inversion and the postural control of 15 athletes with functionally instable ankles were compared with 15 stable controls. A trapdoor produced sudden ankle inversion. Surface electrodes recorded electromyographic activity of the peroneal muscles. Postural sway was expressed by a transverse sway value obtained during single limb stance on a force plate. Increased postural sway was found in subjects with functional instability (p less than 0.01). This is in accordance with previous studies. Functionally instable subjects also displayed an increased peroneal reaction time (p less than 0.01) supporting the theory that functional instability is induced by a proprioceptive reflex defect. Nine of the 15 instable subjects were unilaterally instable and showed lower peroneal reaction time and postural sway values for the stable ankle, but the difference was not significant. There was a high degree of correlation between postural sway and peroneal reaction time (Spearman's rho = .92). In ten functionally instable athletes tested with and without ankle taping, it could not be verified that a reflex enhancing effect of taping occurs through stimulation of cutaneous afferents.
Article
This study investigated the relationship between exposure time and ankle sprains in soccer. Forty-one teams (639 players) from four male senior soccer divisions at different levels of skill (divisions I-VI) were followed prospectively for 1 year. The exposure to soccer and the number of injuries per player were higher in higher divisions, but the injury incidence, percentage of ankle injuries and incidence of ankle injuries were the same at different levels of skill. Of all injuries 17 to 20% were ankle sprains and the incidence varied between 1.7 to 2.0 ankle injuries per 1,000 hours of exposure. Since players with previous ankle problems run an increased risk of reinjury we suggest that these players receive preventive advice.
Article
The reaction of 15 functionally unstable ankles to sudden inversion was described by monitoring muscle activity, joint motion, and alternation of the body center of pressure. The results were compared with those of 15 stable controls. Stable and unstable subjects showed a similar reaction pattern to sudden inversion: first, a peripheral reflex action, namely, a contraction of the peronei counteracting the ankle inverting momentum, and, then, a centrally elicited pattern, namely, a flexion of the hip, knee, and ankle relieving the vertical pressure on the ankle and producing ankle eversion. Unstable subjects did not show a defect in their central processing of afferent input. In contrast, a prolonged reaction time (median 84 msec compared with 69 msec in stable subjects) suggested a partial deafferentation of the reflex stabilization of the ankle and substantiated the theory of a proprioceptive deficit being responsible for ankle instability.
Article
The effectiveness of taping and the effectiveness of wearing a laced stabilizer in preventing ankle injuries and reinjuries over six seasons of collegiate football practices and games were assessed retrospectively. For 1 1/2 years the players all had taped ankles, and for the remaining 4 1/2 years the players chose their type of ankle support. Over the entire period, the players chose high-top or low-top shoes as preferred. During 51,931 exposures to injury (46,789 practice-exposures and 5,142 game-exposures), the 297 players sustained 224 ankle injuries and 24 reinjuries. Tape was worn during 38,658 exposures to injury (233 players), stabilizers during 13,273 exposures (127 players). Tape had been worn when 159 of the injuries and 23 of the reinjuries occurred; a stabilizer had been worn when 37 of the injuries (P = 0.003) and one of the reinjuries occurred. The combination allowing the fewest injuries overall was low-top shoes and laced ankle stabilizers.