n International SportMed Journal - The role of ankle bracing and taping in the secondary prevention of ankle sprains in athletes : review article




: To critically review the current literature on the efficacy of ankle bracing and taping in the prevention of secondary ankle sprains.

: A literature search was performed utilising MEDLINE and EMBASE for papers published between 1966 to July 2003. The citations from the retrieved articles were also reviewed and obtained. Keywords used in the search were "ankle", "ankle bracing," "ankle taping," "ankle injury," "ankle instability," and "ankle sprain." The search was further limited by using the terms "prevention" and "control", and "treatment".
: A study was included if (1) it contained a research question on the prevention of secondary ankle sprains; (2) it contained an analysis of ankle range of motion reviewing the effects of bracing or taping; (3) the results of the study contained data regarding the incidence of ankle sprains.
: Two reviewers analysed the retrieved articles for strengths and weaknesses in study design and methodology. Eight articles met the criteria for a detailed results review.
: Biomechanical evidence strongly supports the mechanical superiority of semi-rigid orthoses for restriction of ankle inversion and eversion after brief and prolonged periods of exercise. The current experimental data demonstrates that any external orthotic support (taping or bracing) is effective in reducing the incidence of secondary ankle sprains. There exists a need for further research into this subject in order to provide a more concrete database from which to derive an evidence-based treatment plan. Future studies must directly compare the different semi-rigid orthoses to cloth braces and taping. The type of tape, method of application, and duration of wear of both tape and braces must be controlled, as length of time may affect the proprioceptive feedback of the subject and alter results. The controversy over which type of external support provides the highest margin of safety requires further investigation before a conclusion can be drawn.


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