Prophylactic Ankle Braces and Star Excursion Balance Measures in Healthy Volunteers
Authors: Hardy, Lisa; Huxel, Kellie; Brucker, Atc Jody; Nesser, Thomas
Source: Journal of Athletic Training, 1 August 2008, vol. 43, no. 4, pp. 347-351(5)
Abstract:Context: The effects of prophylactic ankle braces on lower extremity functional performance in healthy participants have not been studied extensively.
Objective: To determine if prophylactic ankle braces affected multidirectional reach distances during a test of dynamic balance.
Patients or Other Participants: Thirty-six healthy, physically active volunteers (18 men, 18 women; age = 23.6 ± 2.7 years, height = 173.8 ± 9.3 cm, mass = 74.4 ± 12.7 kg, reach-leg length = 91.9 ± 5.1 cm).
Intervention(s): Volunteers performed balance testing in 3 conditions: unbraced, while wearing a semirigid ankle brace, and while wearing a lace-up ankle brace.
Main Outcome Measure(s): We used the Star Excursion Balance Test, calculating the mean of 3 attempts in 8 directions (anterior, anterior-medial, medial, posterior-medial, posterior, posterior-lateral, lateral, and anterior-lateral), normalized by the participant's reach-leg length. Data were collected after 6 practice attempts for each of the conditions according to a balanced Latin square.
Results: Bracing condition had no effect (P > .05) on any of the Star Excursion Balance Test directional measures. The largest mean difference due to bracing was 2.5 % between the lace-up brace condition and the control in the posterior reach direction. This indicates that the actual reach differences due to bracing were less than 5.08 cm (2 inches) in length.
Conclusions: Clinicians can be confident that the prophylactic use of ankle braces does not disrupt lower extremity dynamic balance during a reaching task in healthy participants.
Document Type: Research Article