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Ankle injuries are common in soccer and may result in ongoing functional deficiency. Ankle-joint prophylactic support is hypothesized to reduce the risk of injury. Analysis of the effects of prophylactic support has so far lacked application to soccer. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to illustrate the effects of tape and brace on selected proprioceptive components and range of motion (ROM) before, after, and during a soccer-match-simulation protocol.
Design and Setting:
A crossover study design was used to investigate plantarflexion (PF) ROM, inversion (INV) ROM, and joint-position sense (weight bearing and non-weight-bearing [NWBJPS]; ± °error) in tape, brace, and control conditions. Measures were gathered from the dominant leg in a biomechanics laboratory at 0, 15, 30, and 45 min of a soccer-specific aerobic field test 90-min (SAFT90) protocol.
Eight healthy male subjects (age 20.5 ± 0.5 y) experienced the 3 conditions in random order with 7 d between conditions.
The tape condition used an open basket-weave technique; the brace was an AirCast AirSport brace. For the control condition no prophylactic support was applied.
Application of prophylactic support significantly decreased active ROM in PF and INV (P < .05), with tape performing better than the brace (0 min). Tape lost its restrictive benefits by 15 min (P < .001) and was no different than control, while the brace maintained some effect until 45 min. Application of prophylactic support increased NWBJPS performance (P < .01; 0 min); by 15 min the tape had lost its proprioceptive benefit (P < .01) compared with the brace.
Our findings suggest that the clinical usefulness of ankle-joint prophylactic support is limited if the aim is to restrict ROM and improve proprioceptive capability under soccer-specific conditions. The relative benefits of each type of support need to be considered in the context of the time-specific nature of the activity.
Forbes, Thrussell, and Haycock are with the Dept of Sport, Health and Exercise Science, University of Hull, Kingston upon Hull, UK. Lohkamp is with SRH University Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany. White is with RxTherapy, Hull, UK.