Impact of ankle bracing on skill performance in recreational soccer players

PM R. 2012 Aug;4(8):574-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pmrj.2012.04.001. Epub 2012 May 16.


Objective: To determine the effect of ankle braces on kicking accuracy, speed, and agility in competitive, nonelite soccer players. We hypothesized that the use of ankle bracing would significantly decrease performance in soccer-specific drills immediately after use but not after acclimation to the brace.

Design: A prospective randomized controlled trial.

Setting: University.

Participants: Twenty healthy recreational adult soccer players (5 men and 15 women; mean age, 23 ± 4.8 years) without a history of lower extremity injury in the past 6 months. All the subjects completed the study.

Methods: The subjects completed a set of performance measures (ie, accuracy shooting at a target, 40-yard dash, S180° run, and T test) with an McDavid 199 Lightweight ankle brace (test subjects) and without an ankle brace (control subjects) during 2 testing sessions spaced 7-10 days apart. Between the 2 testing sessions, the subjects wore the ankle brace on at least 4 occasions while participating in athletic activities to ensure that a learning effect occurred.

Main outcome measurements: Outcomes included kicking accuracy (accuracy shooting at a target) and speed and agility (time to complete a 40-yard dash, S180° run, and T test).

Results: No significant difference in performance was found for the accuracy in shooting at a target, 40-yard dash, S180° run, and T test (P > .05) with and without an ankle brace during a session and between sessions.

Conclusions: Ankle braces did not significantly affect performance in speed, agility, or kicking accuracy in healthy, competitive, recreational soccer athletes.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Ankle Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Ankle Joint / physiopathology*
  • Athletic Performance*
  • Braces*
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Soccer / physiology*
  • Young Adult