Effects of semi-rigid ankle orthoses on tasks related to athletic performance following a bout of fatiguing exercise


Despite the perceived protection of semi-rigid ankle orthoses (SRAO), coaches and clinicians are often concerned with the restriction that the SRAO may pose on functional performance. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of SRAO on performance-selected tasks, following fatiguing activity. Twenty active, college-age subjects (22.7 ± 1.2 years; weight 71.7 ± 13.0 kg; height 171.7 ± 9.4 cm), without lower extremity trauma within 2 years, consented participation. Randomized trials for balance (star excursion balance test (SEBT)), agility (shuttle run (SR)), and power (vertical jump (VJ)) were compared between 4 conditions [fatigued, braced (FB); fatigued, un-braced (FUB); non-fatigued, braced (NFB); non-fatigued, un-braced (NFUB)]. Participants were bilaterally fitted with a well-known, commercially available SRAO for all braced trials. Two Wingate supramaximal exercise bouts were used as the fatiguing protocol. RMANOVA was performed for each functional test to determine main effects (SPSS, IL; α = 0.05 for all tests). No main effects for VJ & SR were observed under any of the bracing conditions. Main effect for bracing was observed for the SEBT. Tukey pairwise comparisons revealed that there were significant increases in distance reached for the posterior-medial direction (NFB = 0.91 cm ± 0.2; FB = 0.95 ± 0.2; p = 0.046) and medial direction (NFB = 0.74 cm ± 0.1; FB = 0.79 ± 0.1; p = 0.039) during the braced conditions. Although subjects reported that the SRAO restricted ROM during most SEBT directions involving inversion and eversion, overall performance was not hindered by the application of the brace. Further, the only main effects observed with functional performance involved increases in SEBT that could likely be attributed to comfort and confidence of motion while wearing an ankle device. It was concluded that articulated SRAO effectively limits ankle mobility, but does not appear to hinder athletic performance following a fatiguing bout.

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Yaggie, J. , Armstrong, W. , Smith, C. , Miller, A. and Trimbach, R. (2013) Effects of semi-rigid ankle orthoses on tasks related to athletic performance following a bout of fatiguing exercise. Open Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, 1, 10-16. doi: 10.4236/ojtr.2013.12003.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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