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Journal of Performance Health Research

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.




Background: Braces are often used before returning to activity following ankle sprains and also prophylactically in sports considered the high risk for ankle sprains. The purpose of this study was to compare range of motion (ROM) limitations, functional performance, and satisfaction of rigid double upright and lace-up braces. Subjects: In total, 30 healthy adults >18 years of age (Mean, 22.6 6 2.7 years) without lower extremity injury and involved in regular physical activity participated in this study.

Materials/Methods: Ankle ROM assessment and lower extremity performance testing (figure-of-8 hop, side hop, 6-m single-limb crossover, and square hop) was administered under the following 3 conditions: unbraced, rigid braces, and lace-up braces. A questionnaire was completed following the test protocol on brace characteristics and satisfaction. Repeated-measures ANOVA was used to determine the main effects on outcome variables of ROM, hop performance, and satisfaction. Tukey LSD post hoc comparisons were conducted on significant main or interaction effects (P < .05) to determine differences between group by condition means.

Results: In total, 30 participants completed the study. The lace-up brace limited plantarflexion and inversion ROM more than the rigid brace. When compared to the unbraced condition, both braced conditions resulted in better performance times, although not statistically significant. Higher satisfaction was reported with the lace-up brace on appearance, fit, prevention, and overall satisfaction.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance: The ankle braces primarily limited ankle plantarflexion and inversion ROM, which are motions related to common reported mechanisms of ankle sprains. The braces did not negatively affect hop performance, and user satisfaction indicated a slight preference for the lace-up brace.

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