Epidemiological studies have shown that 10-28% of all sports injuries are ankle sprains, leading to the longest absence from athletic activity compared to other types of injuries. This study was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of external ankle supports in the prevention of inversion ankle sprains and identify which type of ankle support was superior to the other. A search strategy was developed, using the keywords, ankle supports, ankle brace, ankle tapes, ankle sprains and athletes, to identify available literature in the databases (MEDLINE, PubMed, CINAHL, EMBASE, etc.), libraries and unpublished papers. Trials which consider adolescents and adults, elite and recreational players as participants were the study of choice. External ankle supports comprise ankle tape, brace or orthosis applied to the ankle to prevent ankle sprains. The main outcome measures were frequency of ankle sprains. Two reviewers assessed the quality of the studies included using the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI Appraisal tool). Whenever possible, results were statistically pooled and interpreted. A total of seven trials were finally included in this study. The studies included were of moderate quality, with blinding as the hardest criteria to fulfill. The main significant finding was the reduction of ankle sprain by 69% (OR 0.31, 95% CI 0.18-0.51) with the use of ankle brace and reduction of ankle sprain by 71% (OR 0.29, 95% CI 0.14-0.57) with the use of ankle tape among previously injured athletes. No type of ankle support was found to be superior than the other.
2009 Sports Medicine Australia. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.