The use of the ankle brace during football is the most effective for the prevention of repeated ankle injuries. "After a first twisted ankle, there is an increased risk of a subsequent one", explains Evert Verhagen, researcher at EMGO+ at the VUmc Amsterdam and project leader for the research into the best method for preventing repeated injury.
Ankle injuries are one of the most frequent types of sports injuries. A large number of professional footballers have already found this out during this World Cup. So it was that German midfielder Marco Reus was not able to travel to Brazil because he suffered an ankle injury and Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon had to sit it out against England due to a twisted ankle.
Preventive measures are available that limit the increased risk of repeat injury, such as the wearing of an ankle brace or the performance of stability training on a wobble board. Under the leadership of Dr Evert Verhagen of the VUmc, an investigation is being carried out into which of these measures is the most effective in the prevention of these repeated injuries.
For one year, doctoral research worker Kasper Janssen followed up 384 athletes after they had suffered a twisted ankle. The athletes were divided into three groups. One group wore a brace during sporting activity, the second group was given stability training and a third group received a combination of both. After one year, the researchers looked into how many new twists and sprains took place in the groups and into what the associated costs were. The most striking conclusion was that wearing braces during sport was cheaper and seemed to prevent more ankle twists and sprains than training at home on a wobble board.
Amateur athletes and football injuries
The advice regarding the use of preventive measures also applies for amateur athletes. In this the advice to take is that you need to take the measure that allows you to feel the best. In 2013, athletes in the Netherlands suffered 680,000 ankle injuries. This amounts to fifteen percent of the total number of sports injuries in 2013. The majority of ankle injuries occurred suddenly. Most of the ankle injuries involved a sprain, twist or ligament injury. Almost a third of athletes suffer from an old ankle injury.
Source: Zorg- en Ziekenhuiskrant (Dutch only)