A recent study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine found that the rate of ankle injuries in high school football players was reduced when a lace-up ankle brace was worn.
The authors of the study wanted to determine whether wearing an ankle brace would affect the incidence and severity of lower extremity injuries sustained by high school football players.
A total of 2,081 players from 50 high schools were randomly assigned to either the braced group or control group. The braced group wore a lace-up ankle brace for the entire 2010 season. Athletic trainers then recorded brace compliance, athlete-exposures and injuries.
The rate of ankle injury was significantly lower for the braced group. The rate of injury for the braced group was 0.48 per 1000 exposures, compared with a rate of 1.12 in the control group. However, the researchers found that the ankle brace did not affect the severity of the injury, measured by the amount of time taken off for the injury. It was a median of 5 days for both groups.
The researchers also found that the incidence rate and severity of acute knee or other lower extremity injuries was the same for both groups.