A custom-molded hinged ankle brace more effectively controls inversion during cutting maneuvers than two other brace designs tested by researchers from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, a finding with potential implications regarding ankle sprain prevention.
Eight individuals with a history of ankle sprains and 11 healthy volunteers performed lateral cutting movements under each of four ankle brace conditions: unbraced, a custom-molded brace with hinges, a semirigid stirrup brace, and an elastic ankle sleeve with plastic support.
Inversion angle at initial contact and peak inversion angle were significantly lower in the custom brace than in the unbraced condition. There were no significant differences between the unbraced condition and either of the two other braces.
The findings, which were e-published on February 21 by Prosthetics & Orthotics International, suggest a custom device may be more effective for preventing ankle sprain. However, none of the three orthotic devices had a significant effect on plantar flexion, which has previously been associated with ankle sprain risk during cutting movements.
Lee WC, Kobayashi T, Choy BT, Leung AK. Comparison of custom-moulded ankle orthosis with hinged joints and off-the-shelf ankle braces in preventing ankle sprain in lateral cutting movements. Prosthet Orthot Int 2012 Feb 21. [Epub ahead of print]