Balance training prevents ankle sprains
27th August 2009
By Olivia Fens.
A simple training programme, based on a series of balancing exercises, can cut the risk of recurrent ankle sprains by 35%, a new study has found.
Researchers from the Netherlands looked at a group of 522 athletes (274 men and 248 women) aged between 12 and 70 years, from a wide range of sports.
The athletes were divided into two groups. Both groups received normal treatment for their ankle injuries, but the intervention group (256 athletes) also received an eight-week home-based training programme.
The training programme consisted of three 30-minute training sessions per week consisting of a series of exercises to improve balance and motor co-ordination skills.
The athletes in the intervention group were encouraged to perform the exercises as part of their normal warm-up and the exercises gradually became more difficult during the eight-week programme.
After one year 145 athletes reported an ankle sprain recurrence: 22% were athletes in the intervention group and 33% were in the control group.
The intervention programme was associated with a 35% reduction in the risk of recurrent ankle sprains compared to the control group.
One ankle sprain recurrence was prevented for every nine athletes who completed the programme, the researchers said.
The study was published in the British Medical Journal.