The Effects of Prophylactic Ankle Bracing on Dynamic Reach Distance and Obstacle Course Performance in Military Cadets

Newman, Thomas; Croy, Theodore; Hart, Joseph; Saliba, Susan
May 2012
Military Medicine;May2012, Vol. 177 Issue 5, p567
Academic Journal
Ankle braces can protect the ankle joint from ligament sprains and fractures during high-risk military activities such as physical training and parachuting. Although braces are recommended for injury prevention purposes, the impact of braces on physical performance is unknown. This study evaluated lace-up ankle braces, worn inside the boots, across three conditions: no brace, unilateral brace, and bilateral brace on the dependent variables of dynamic lower extremity reach and obstacle course performance. Thirty-seven military cadets were tested over 3 days. Ankle bracing had a small effect upon anterior and composite lower extremity reach distances. Bracing had no effect upon obstacle course performance times. Inside-the-boot ankle bracing restricts lower extremity reaching and mildly impacts mobility, however, no restrictions were observed with running, climbing, jumping, or negotiating obstacles. Lace-up ankle braces can be used in conjunction with combat boots to protect the ankle during high-risk activities without having an impact upon tactical movements.


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