Prophylactic and functional ankle braces affects on motor skills

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Curless, Brian D.
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Thesis (M.A.)
School of Physical Education
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In athletics the ankle is one of the most commonly injured body parts. Athletic trainers have used a woven cloth with an adhesive backing to restrict the motion of an injured ankle. This practice was generally accepted in the profession as the best way to guard against reinjury. During the recent years athletic tape has become very expensive and questioned by many researchers as to it's effectiveness.At present many ankle braces have been introduced to the market as a viable alternative to taping the ankle. Most of the research limited to an analysis of range of motion provided by the ankle braces.The purpose of this study was to determine what effects ankle braces (Cramer Ankle Stabilizer, Peter's Active Ankle Brace, and the Air Cast) have on athletes in motor skills: Illinois Agility Test and standing long jump.The results of this study provides information on whether or not the use of prophylactic ankle braces has a detrimental effect on motor skills. Twenty Eariham College athletes between the ages of seventeen and twenty-two were recruited for this study. Subjects were asked to wear each one of the devices and perform each of the two motor skills tests. Ample time was allowed for each athlete to become familiar with ankle braces. The order of experimental conditions and measures were counter balanced to prevent order of effects.Each event was either timed to the nearest 1/10th or the nearest centimeter. Each subject performed the dependent variables without any ankle restriction which served as the control group.The investigation of the data concluded that no statistical difference was found after completing a one way analysis of variance.The only conclusion that was found that the participants were slowest in the agility run with the Peter's Active Ankle. The opposite was found in the standing long jump where subjects jumped furthest with the Peter's brace. This was thought to be true due to the increased ability to plantar- and dorsi- flex the ankle.