Ankle Stability and Injury Prevention Program

by Erin Williams
Athletic Training
Faculty advisor: James Day

Ankle sprains are a very common injury in sport leading to both acute and chronic effects.  In fact Hertel (2002) reported that thirty percent of ankle sprains result in chronic ankle instability, a condition in which the athlete suffers from recurrent ankles injuries.  The high injury rate as well as high rate of recurrent ankle injuries places ankle sprain as a very common condition of athletic trainers to manage.  In addition, when you add the idea of prophylactic taping or bracing ankle injury and protection is a growing concern for many athletic trainers on a routine basis.

Objective: The purpose of this project was to develop a plan, based on current evidence, which would categorize athletes with a history of ankle injuries and develop a tiered plan to manage the needs of each level independently.

Topic Discussion: The developed program to be implemented in the Buena Vista University Athletic Training Room included a five categorical approach to ankle management from athletes with no history of ankle sprain to individuals with recurrent ankle injuries that are possible surgical candidates based on physical exams and physiological conditions present.  From the category, appropriate interventions in the areas of range of motion, strength, and balance and control and levels of support are derived based on the most current level of evidence. 

Conclusion: Proposed advantages of the plan are: a) athlete classification with appropriate interventions determined, b) continued adaptation of intervention with continuous monthly changes, and c) the addressing of the multiple aspects of ankle instability. Conversely proposed weakness of the plan include a) difficult documentation and adherence, and b) time cost of the program.