The development and use of ankle injury prevention programs among male and female soccer players may play a role in reducing the risk of ankle injuries, possibly by 40%, concludes a recent study.

According to the research, published recently in The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, the authors reviewed the data from 10 randomized controlled studies on ankle injury prevention programs, involving 4,121 female and male soccer player participants.

The studies included neuromuscular, proprioceptive (balance), strengthening, and stretching exercises to prevent ankle injuries. They did not include bracing, taping, or other external supports, per a media release from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

“This is the first study of its kind on ankle injuries in soccer athletes to strongly support injury prevention programs to reduce ankle injuries,” says lead study author and orthopaedic surgeon Nathan Grimm, MD, in the release. “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.”

“This new data can be used by clinicians to provide evidence-based recommendations to their patients,” Grimm adds. “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.”

Stop Sports Injuries, an outreach program founded by The American Society for Sports Medicine, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, and other heath organizations, offers information about preventing ankle injuries in soccer.

[Source(s): American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, PR Newswire]