An athlete’s use of silicone ankle sleeves (SAS) and lace-up ankle braces (LAB) during sports participation can improve neuromuscular control, according to research presented at a sports medicine meeting.
“Athletes often use prophylactic sleeves or braces, and this study used markerless motion analysis to determine whether these support aids are beneficial,” said lead author Seth L. Sherman, MD, from the University of Missouri-Columbia Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.
The study examined 10 subjects — five female and five male — who performed tests including the drop vertical jump (DJV), 45 degree bound, and various timed cutting maneuvers.
Researchers tested both with and without the use of SAS and LAB. Using both SAS and LAB, study participants showed decreased dynamic valgus and hip internal rotation during DJV testing, and decreased knee and ankle torque as compared to controls. The use of SAS or LAB did not negatively influence athletic performance measures.
“While improvements in neuromuscular control were noted in this study, we cannot assume that the use of SAS or LAB leads to a lower injury risk,” Sherman said. “Athletes should continue to practice proven injury prevention methods, even when using a support device.”
This study was presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. They should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the “peer review” process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.