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Ankle Injury Prevention Programs Work, says a Level-I Meta-Analysis 

Psychology Injury Newport RicheyAccording to a Level-I Meta-Analysis, ankle injury prevention programs meant for soccer athletes are protective.

Soccer athletes experience a number of musculoskeletal injuries and the most common one is ankle sprains. The bad news is that ankle sprains have been on the rise in recent years and it is unsurprising that chiropractors and doctors have come up with numerous ways to reduce the risk of ankle injury. Nevertheless, different prevention programs have different barriers and limitations. And these limitations and barriers can always influence the quality of study as well as taint the overall evidence, thereby, compromising the effectiveness of these prevention programs.

For this reason, Grimm and colleagues came up with an idea to evaluate the validity and overall effectiveness of prevention programs meant to reduce the risk of an ankle sprain among soccer athletes. They decided to carry out a meta-analysis to help them achieve the desired results. Step-by-step, the authors searched the literature to help them identify randomized controlled trials associated with ankle injury prevention programs. They focused on prevention programs, which used either proprioceptive, neuromuscular, strengthening or stretching exercises. But, programs that focused on taping or bracing were omitted. Also, to help with the analysis, they included soccer athletes of any age, skill level, and sex. At the end of the search strategy, 10 randomized trials with a total of 4,121 soccer athletes were retrieved. The authors noted that overall injury prevention programs are essential, as they provide a protective effect that helps reduce ankle injuries experienced by more than a few soccer athletes.

Ideally, they supported their statement with high-quality evidence and confirmed that prevention programs help minimize the risk associated with an ankle injury among soccer players. Although these outcomes have a direct clinical impact, it is not known the influence sex, age, skill level and/or history of the previous injury have on these findings. Additionally, the injury prevention programs discussed in this meta-analysis only paid attention to minimizing the risk associated with ankle injury. Time restraints are always a limiting factor for failing to implement a prevention program; thus, it would be important to know if these prevention programs can be used to reduce other musculoskeletal injuries, such as hamstring injuries, among soccer players.

Finally, this meta-analysis failed to compare the numerous prevention programs like neuromuscular/proprioceptive versus strengthening, and this makes it unclear which prevention program is the most effective, and should be focused on in future research. Meanwhile, clinicians are advised to implement a prevention program that has exercises they believe are appropriate and effective for their clinical setting as well as patients.

By so doing this, they’ll understand their patients better, and therefore, will be in a position to assist them appropriately. Moreover, appropriate and effective exercises help clinicians set up a clinic with the right equipment. The prevention program only focuses on ankle sprains, although we hope the authors will advance it, so it also deals with minimizing risk associated with other soccer injuries such as hamstring injuries. We also hope that they compare the numerous prevention programs, so we can have the most effective program that we can focus on.

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