Effectiveness of Novel Ankle Prophylactic Compared with Lace-Up Brace or Tape

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Context: Conventional ankle prophylactics restrict harmful ankle inversion motions that lead to injury. But these existing prophylactics also limit other ankle motions, potentially leading to detriments in functional joint capacity. The ankle roll guard (ARG) may alleviate the prevailing issues of existing ankle prophylactics and prevent harmful ankle inversion, while allowing other joint motions. Objective: This technical report sought to compare the ARG’s ability to prevent ankle inversion, but not restrict other ankle motions with existing prophylactics. Design: Repeated-measures study. Setting: Motion capture laboratory. Participants: Thirty participants. Intervention: Each participant had dominant limb ankle kinematics recorded during 5 successful trials of a sudden inversion event and 30-cm drop landing task with each of 4 conditions (ARG, ASO ankle stabilizer [brace], closed-basket weave athletic tape [tape], and unbraced [control]). Main Outcome Measures: Peak ankle inversion angle, range of inversion motion (ROM), and time to peak inversion during the sudden inversion event, and ankle plantar- and dorsiflexion ROM during the drop landing were submitted to a 1-way repeated-measures analysis of variance to test the main effect of prophylaxis. Results: Participants exhibited greater inversion ROM with control compared with tape (P = .001), and greater plantar- and dorsiflexion ROM with ARG and control compared with brace (P = .02, P = .001) and tape (P = .02, P < .001). It took significantly longer to reach peak ankle inversion with brace and tape compared with ARG (P < .001, P = .001) and control (P = .01, P = .01). No significant difference in peak ankle inversion was observed between any condition (P > .05). Conclusion: The ARG may prevent ankle inversion angles where injury is thought to occur (reportedly >41°), but is less restrictive than existing prophylactics. The less restrictive ARG may make its use ideal during rehabilitation as it allows ankle plantar- and dorsiflexion motions, while preventing inversion related to injury.