June 2014

Ankle bracing, taping do not diminish soccer-specific athletic performance

In the moment: Sports medicine

By Jordana Bieze Foster

Contrary to popular opinion among soccer players, ankle bracing and taping do not adversely affect soccer-specific athletic performance in experienced athletes, according to research presented in May at the annual ACSM meeting.

Investigators from Texas State University in San Marcos analyzed 22 collegiate soccer players (12 women) as they performed sport-specific skills tests with and without two prophylactic ankle supports: a closed basketweave ankle tape application and a soft stirrup-style ankle brace that fit well inside a soccer shoe. The skills tested were maximum soccer ball kicking velocity, soccer ball kicking accuracy, and soccer ball dribbling agility. The players averaged 10.3 years of experience playing soccer.

Neither bracing nor taping had a statistically significant effect on any of the three skills tests.

“Soccer players tend to be resistant to wearing ankle braces or tape for fear that it will diminish their performance, but that’s not what we found,” said Rod A. Harter, PhD, ATC, a professor of athletic training and director of the Undergraduate Athletic Training Education Program at the university, who presented the findings at the ACSM meeting.


Petty D, Neubauer JP, Vela LI, Harter RA. Ankle prophylactic devices do not diminish sport-specific skill performance among collegiate soccer players. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2014;45(5 Suppl): Abstract 758.

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