Objective: There are several types of ankle prophylactics available. The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of moleskin tape, linen tape, and a lace-up brace on motor performance and ankle/subtalar range of motion (ROM).
Design and setting: PERFORMANCE WAS MEASURED IN CENTIMETERS AND SECONDS FOR VERTICAL JUMP AND SOUTHEAST MISSOURI (SEMO) AGILITY TEST, RESPECTIVELY, UNDER FOUR CONDITIONS: control/no support, tape (T), tape with moleskin stirrup reinforcement (TwMSR), and a lace-up brace (B). Motor tests were conducted on two separate days. On another day ankle/ subtalar ROM was measured before, during, and after 20 minutes of continuous exercise under the four conditions. All tests were conducted in the field house at Northem Illinois University.
Subjects: Ten college females with no recent history of ankle injury volunteered to participate in the study.
Measurements: Vertical jump was measured using a Vertec jump stand (centimeters), and the Southeast Missouri (SEMO) agility test was measured with a stopwatch (seconds) under the four conditions. Ankle/subtalar ROM was measured before, during, and after a 20-minute exercise protocol by a goniometer under the four conditions. The tape (T) application was a closed basketweave, the tape with moleskin stirrup reinforcement (TwMSR) consisted of a closed basketweave and a moleskin stirrup (7.62 cm, 3 inches), and the brace(B) was a Swede-O Universal (Swede-O, Inc, North Branch, MN).
Results: Vertical jumps were significantly shorter for all three ankle prophylactics when compared with the control/no-support condition. Among the three prophylactics, the vertical jumps were the same. Slower performance times were recorded for all three prophylactics as compared with the control/no-support condition. There were no significant differences, however, among the three ankle prophylactics. In comparison with the control/no-support condition, the TwMSR application significantly restricted four of the four ROMs (plantar flexion, dorsiflexion, inversion, and eversion) during the 20-minute exercise protocol. The T application significantly restricted three of the four ROMS (all ROMs except plantar flexion), and the B application also significantly restricted three of the four ROMs (all ROMs except eversion) during the 20-minute exercise protocol in comparison with the control/no- support condition.
Conclusions: There does not appear to be any benefit in choosing one prophylactic over the others if near optimal performance and adequate ankle/subtalar restriction is desired. Other factors, such as comfort, ease of application, and cost, should be considered.