Background Ankle inversion injuries commonly occur during landing from a jump. Both ankle braces and taping are methods used to prevent ankle injuries during sport.
Objective To determine whether an ankle tape or ankle lace-up brace improves dynamic postural stability when compared without support on landing from a jump. The null hypothesis was that there would be no difference in Dynamic Postural Stability Index (DPSI) between the conditions.
Design This was an experimental randomised intervention study.
Setting University setting including club level Gaelic football players.
Participants 15 subjects, all male (age=21.3 ± 1.6 years, height=182.2 ± 5.2 cm, mass=81.4 ± 8.2 kg, (mean ± SD)), without lower extremity injury or previous history of ankle injury.
Interventions The subjects performed a jump protocol consisting of a single leg drop-landing from a 40 cm high step, under three randomised conditions: tape, ankle brace and control (neither tape nor brace).
Main outcome measurements The Dynamic Postural Stability Index (DPSI) was analyzed after a single leg drop-landing on to a force plate.
Results The application of an ankle tape increased the DPSI score (1365.04 ± 13.02) significantly when compared to the control (1354.9 ± 14.79), and brace (1359.6 ± 13.77) conditions (p<0.02). This increase in DPSI indicates that the tape application decreased the dynamic stability on the force plate. There was no difference between the ankle brace and the control condition.
Conclusion Application of an ankle tape decreased the ability to maintain dynamic balance during a jump landing in Gaelic football players without ankle injury. Further study needs to assess the effect of tape and brace application on athletes with ankle instability during jump landings. The possible causes of this decrease in stability will be discussed.