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Stabilizing effects of ankle bracing under a combination of inversion and axial compression loading


The combined effects of bracing, axial compression and inversion rotation on the ankle-subtalar complexes were evaluated. Ex vivo tests under the load-controlled condition were performed on six cadaver ankle specimens using a six degree-of-freedom fixture. Inversion rotation was measured while subjecting the ankle-subtalar complex to a 2.5 N-m inversion moment and a combination of the testing variables (brace type, no brace, 178 N axial compression load, no compression load, 0° and 20° of plantar flexion) for a total of 16 tests per specimen. Three commercially available braces (two semirigid types and one lace up type) were evaluated. An axial compression load significantly decreased ankle-subtalar motion in unbraced ankles for the tested inversion moment. The contribution of bracing to stabilization of the ankle was smaller in the axial loading condition than in the no axial loading condition. The semirigid braces had greater stabilizing effects in response to the inversion moment than the lace up brace. Stabilizing effects of bracing were significantly greater in 20° of plantar flexion than in 0° of plantar flexion. The most common mechanism for an ankle sprain injury is inversion rotation on a weight-bearing ankle. Therefore, we should not overestimate stabilizing effects of bracing from evaluations of bracing without axial compression loading.

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This study was supported by a grant from the Air Cast Corporation.

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Correspondence to Harukazu Tohyama.

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Tohyama, H., Yasuda, K., Beynnon, B.D. et al. Stabilizing effects of ankle bracing under a combination of inversion and axial compression loading. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc 14, 373–378 (2006).

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  • Ankle
  • Biomechanics
  • Brace
  • Inversion injury
  • Sprain