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Ankle Injury Prevention Programs for Soccer Athletes

Ankle Injury Prevention Programs for Soccer Athletes Are Protective: A Level-I Meta-Analysis.

Grimm NL, Jacobs JC, Kim J, Amendola A, & Shea KG. The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. 2016, 98:1436-43. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.15.00933.


The sport of soccer, while already popular worldwide, continues to grow. As the participation in the sport grows, so does the injury rates. Ankle sprains are one of the most common musculoskeletal injuries occurring within soccer. In fact, soccer has one of the highest rates of ankle injury in sports for both males and females. Through the years, several injury prevention programs have been developed to address this concern. Grimm and his colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of ankle injury prevention programs to evaluate the validity and overall effectiveness of the prevention programs for reducing the risk of an ankle sprain for soccer athletes. The authors systematically searched the literature to identify randomized controlled trials of ankle injury prevention programs and included prevention programs that focused on either neuromuscular, proprioceptive, strengthening or stretching exercises. The search strategy included 10 randomized trials with a total of 4,121 soccer athletes.

Based upon this meta-analysis, the authors confirmed that prevention programs do significantly reduce the risk of an ankle injury among soccer athletes. One limitation of this study was that the authors did not compare the multiple prevention programs (e.g. neuromuscular/proprioceptive vs. strengthening) available. Therefore, because of this it is unknown which prevention program is most effective. As the author state: Future high-quality research designs with a low risk of bias are necessary to further evaluate the effectiveness of specific exercises and the optimal timing and age at intervention for the prevention of ankle injuries in the athletic soccer player. However, despite this limitation clinicians should strongly consider implementing a prevention program to reduce the incidence of ankle sprains within the sport of soccer.