Study design: Meta-analysis.
Objective: To evaluate the effects of different types of ankle support on ankle and foot joint range of motion before and after activity using meta-analysis procedures.
Background: The effects of ankle support on joint range of motion before and after exercise has been extensively studied, but the results among studies are not consistent. Obtaining knowledge from synthesizing the available literature with a meta-analysis can provide a greater understanding of these effects.
Methods and measures: A total of 253 cases from 19 studies were examined and included in this analysis. The treatment variables were ankle support with 3 levels (tape, lace-up, and semirigid) and time with 2 levels (before exercise and after exercise). Standardized effect sizes were computed for inversion, eversion, dorsiflexion, and plantar flexion range of motion to measure the difference between control and treatment groups at each point in time. Effect sizes were analyzed using a mixed-model factorial analysis of variance.
Results: Before exercise, the semirigid condition (-2.97 +/- 0.63) demonstrated greater restriction compared with the tape (-2.33 +/- 0.38) and lace-up conditions (-2.18 +/- 0.86) for inversion range of motion. After exercise, the semirigid condition (-3.85 +/- 0.64) restricted inversion range of motion more than the tape (-1.07 +/- 0.20) and lace-up (-1.56 +/- 0.29) conditions. No differences were found between the mean effect sizes for the tape and lace-up conditions before and after exercise. With respect to eversion range of motion, the semirigid support (-2.69 +/- 0.43) provided greater restraint compared with the tape (-1.00 +/- 0.21) and lace-up (-1.40 +/- 0.47) conditions. The lace-up condition also displayed greater support compared with tape alone. For dorsiflexion range of motion, greatest overall support was provided by the tape condition (-0.94 +/- 0.06) compared with the lace-up condition (-0.51 +/- 0.06).
Conclusions: The greatest restriction of motion in the frontal plane was offered by the semirigid support condition, whereas taping offered the most support for limiting dorsiflexion range of motion. The results of this study may help clinicians make rational decisions concerning the selection of ankle appliances for preventing acute or chronic reinjury.