Injuries to the lower extremities are the most common in soccer. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 227,700 people were treated for soccer-related injuries in 2015, including more than 36,300 with ankle injuries. These injuries can be traumatic, often sidelining players from the game for weeks or months.
Several prevention programs have been developed to address this concern. In a new analysis, researchers reviewed the data from 10 randomized controlled studies on ankle injury prevention programs, involving 4,121 female and male soccer players.
"This is the first study of its kind on ankle injuries in soccer athletes to strongly support injury prevention programs to reduce ankle injuries," said lead study author and orthopaedic surgeon Nathan Grimm, MD. "In our analysis, we were able to review the results from multiple studies, and make conclusions we could not make from any one study by itself."
The studies included neuromuscular, proprioceptive (balance), strengthening, and stretching exercises to prevent ankle injuries. They did not include bracing, taping or other external supports.
"This new data can be used by clinicians to provide evidence-based recommendations to their patients," explained Dr. Grimm. "It can also be used by coaches who wish to implement programs that will decrease the risk of injuries in athletes, and by the athletes who are trying to make the decision about participating in an injury prevention program."
Information on preventing ankle injuries in soccer is available at STOPSportsInjuries.org, an outreach program founded by the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, and seven other health organizations to educate the public about the importance of sports safety.
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SOURCE American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons