Prophylactic Bracing Versus Taping for the Prevention of Ankle Sprains in High School Athletes: A Prospective, Randomized Trial


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Abstract

Prophylactic ankle taping has been considered the mainstay of ankle injury prevention and has been used at all levels of competitive football. An alternative to taping is a semirigid ankle orthosis. This study prospectively compared the incidence of ankle sprains in high school football players during a single season, after randomization to either prophylactic bracing or taping of both ankles. Of 83 athletes followed up for an entire season, 6 ankle sprains occurred, 3 in each treatment group; and there was no statistically significant difference in the incidence of ankle sprains between the 2 groups. The time required to tape an athlete averaged 67 seconds per ankle, resulting in a total of 97 minutes per ankle during an entire season, and the average cost to tape each ankle during an entire season was greater than the cost of the commercially available brace. The projected cost savings for an athletic program using prophylactic bracing could be substantial when compared with the use of prophylactic taping of the ankle.

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