Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 27th 2014 Contents A32
body & soul
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, January 27, 2014
To prevent a second sprained ankle, wearing a
brace may be more effective than neuromuscular
training, but neither method is foolproof, say Dutch
They found that study participants who had
sprained their ankles were about half as likely to
suffer a second sprain when they wore a brace, com-
pared to those who only got neuromuscular training.
This doesn t mean people with sprained ankles
should go for braces and forget about neuromuscular
training, the study s senior author Dr Evert A L M
The results could be due to chance, he told Reuters
Health. And since past research shows that both the
braces and the training offer some protection, the
researchers couldn t ethically include a test group
that got neither measure, said Verhagen, who studies
public and occupational health at VU University
Medical Centre in Amsterdam.
Originally Verhagen s team thought both methods
would be equally effective, and only wanted to see
which cost more money in the long run, he said.
Ankle sprains represent one quarter of all sports
injuries, the researchers note in the British Journal
of Sports Medicine.
In The Netherlands, costs associated with every
sprained ankle are close to 390 euros ($500), which
translates to nearly 208 million euros ($286 million)
spent annually just in that country, they write.
For the study, 380 adult athletes under age 70 who
played a sport for at least one hour weekly and had
recently sprained an ankle were separated into three
groups: one group got a two---month neuromuscular
training programme, one wore a semi---rigid ankle
brace for 12 months and the third group tried both
training and a brace at the same time for two months.
People in the training group performed special
ankle exercises at home for 30---minute sessions
three times a week. The training includes using a
balance board and watching an instructional DVD
that demonstrated the exercises.
The brace group was given an Aircast A60 Ankle
Support, available online for between $40 and $50.
In the yearlong study, 69 participants reported
another sprain of the same ankle. Those who wore
a brace were less likely to suffer a sprain than the
training group, with 15 per cent of the brace wearers
and 27 per cent of the training group reporting a
sprain. Of the group that got both training and a
brace, 19 per cent had a second sprain in the same
ankle. No one group lost more time or spent more
money on their sprain injuries---all "second sprains"
seemed to be roughly as severe in all groups.
"Based on my experiences I assumed that a com-
bination of bracing and exercise would be best," said
Timothy A. McGuine, senior scientist in the depart-
ment of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation at the Uni-
versity of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public
Health in Madison.
Though the results are surprising, McGuine, who
was not involved in the research, said he believes
them since the study was well done and the authors
are quite respected in the field.
Verhagen cautioned, "We have only established
an effect on the prevention of secondary injury."
His group also did not consider other important
complaints like pain, instability or performance.
Other studies have found that neuromuscular training
might help with those other aspects of recovery, he
"Each injury and patient situation is unique, and
a good therapist or athletic trainer will tailor post
injury treatment for a particular situation," McGuine
said. "You have to remember that neuromuscular
training has the potential to also lower the risk of
other knee and lower leg injuries---bracing affects
the ankle but will not reduce the risk of injury to
other leg structures." Past research suggests the risk
of a second ankle sprain goes up by 50 per
cent in the year following a first sprain.
Sports with lots of jumping, and certain
positions like playing at net in volleyball are
especially prone to sprains. Certain indi-
viduals suffer from many recurrent ankle
sprains and researchers still can t say for
sure why, Verhagen noted. In his study,
those with many past sprains had basically
the same recovery, but did seem to follow
directions---for the brace or the training
programme---a bit better than others, he
said. For all preventive measures, braces or
training, they can only work if you actually
use them, Verhagen said. (Reuters)
Ankle braces may be best
after a sprain---study
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