Background The effects of methods to prevent injuries have been studied in several systematic reviews. However, no meta-analysis taking into account all randomised controlled intervention trials aiming at prevention of sports injuries has been published.
Objective To summarise the effects of sports injury prevention interventions.
Design Systematic review and meta-analysis.
Setting Systematic literature search was conducted in September 2013 using following data-bases: PubMed, MEDLINE, SPORTDiscus, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, CINAHL, PEDro, Web of Science. The reference lists of retrieved articles and reviews were hand searched.
Eligibility criteria for selecting studies Selected articles had to examine the effects of any preventive intervention on sports injuries, be randomised/quasi-randomised, controlled trials, published in a peer-reviewed journal. The outcome of the trial had to be injury rate or the number of injured individuals.
Interventions The effectiveness of following interventions was studied: insoles, external joint supports, training programmes, stretching, protective head equipment, modified shoes, injury prevention videos.
Main outcome measurements The number of injuries or injured individuals.
Results The systematic review included 68 trials and the meta-analysis 60 trials. Insoles (OR 0.51, 95% CI 0.32–0.81), external joint supports (OR 0.40, 95% CI 0.30–0.53), and specific training programmes (OR 0.55, 95% CI 0.46–0.66) appeared to be effective in reducing the risk of sports injuries. Stretching (OR 0.92, 95% CI 0.80-1.06), modified shoes (OR 1.23, 95% CI 0.81–1.87), and preventive videos (OR 0.86, 95% CI 0.44–1.68) seemed not to be effective.
Conclusions Certain sports specific interventions can reduce the risk of sports injuries. There were limitations regarding the quality of the trials, generalisability of the results, and heterogeneity of the study designs. In future, the mechanisms behind effective methods and the most beneficial elements of preventive training programmes need to be clarified.
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