What is the efficacy of bracing in the treatment of ankle sprains?

Updated: Jan 14, 2019
  • Author: Craig C Young, MD; Chief Editor: Sherwin SW Ho, MD  more...
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Ankle braces have been shown to be effective in preventing some types of ankle sprains. [52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58] The use of high-top shoes has been proposed to prevent ankle injuries, but study results have been mixed. [57, 58, 59, 60]

Janssen et al evaluated the effectiveness of combined bracing and neuromuscular training, or bracing alone, against the use of neuromuscular training on recurrences of ankle sprain after usual care. The study included 384 athletes, aged 18-70, who had sustained a lateral ankle sprain. The training group received an 8-week home-based neuromuscular training program, the brace group received an ankle brace to be worn for 12 months, and the third group received both the training program, as well as the ankle brace, to be worn for 8 weeks. The main outcome measure was self-reported recurrence of the ankle sprain. During the 1-year follow-up, 69 participants (20%) reported a recurrent ankle sprain: 29 (27%) in the training group, 17 (15%) in the brace group and 23 (19%) in the group that combined both. The authors concluded that bracing was superior to neuromuscular training in reducing the incidence but not the severity of self-reported recurrent ankle sprains after usual care. [61, 62]

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