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Balance Training Program Reduces Ankle Sprains

Contact Information
 
For more information about sports injury rehabilitation, call (608) 263-4765.
Basketball playersUW Health Sports Medicine researchers Tim McGuine, LAT, and James Keene, MD, determined that a balance training program can dramatically reduce ankle injuries in young soccer and basketball players.
 
Their study was published in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine.
 
The Problem
 
McGuine and Keene found that, of the more than six million grade school athletes who participate in soccer or basketball, nearly 15 percent (or one million) suffer sprained ankles. In 2003 the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission estimated that the direct medical cost of treating ankle sprains in high school (ages 15–18) soccer and basketball players was $70 million.
 
The Study
 
Soccer playersMcGuine and Keene followed 765 high school soccer and basketball players (523 females and 242 males) from 12 high schools throughout their sport season. Athletes in the intervention group participated in a five-phase program, which involved various exercises and activities designed to improve balance (see below).
 
Athletes started with drills as simple as standing on one foot for a period of time, and progressed to more advanced activities. At phase three, a wobble board - a wooden disc with a ball attached to the bottom - was incorporated into the training. By phase five, members of the intervention group were standing on one foot on the wobble board and integrating sports movements, such as dribbling a basketball.
 
The Results
 
At the study's conclusion McGuine and Keene found balance-training programs reduced the risk of ankle injuries in high school soccer and basketball players by 40 percent.
 
The Program
 
Phase Surface  Eyes  Exercise 
Floor  Open  Single leg stance 
  Floor  Open  Single leg stance, while swinging the raised leg 
  Floor  Open  Single leg squat (30-45 degrees) 
  Floor  Open  Single leg stance while performing functional activities (dribbling, catching, kicking) 
2  Floor   Closed   Single leg stance 
  Floor  Closed  Single leg stance, while swinging the raised leg 
  Floor  Closed  Single leg squat (30-45 degrees) 
3  Board  Open  Single leg stance 
  Board  Open  Single leg stance, while swinging the raised leg 
  Board  Open  Single leg squat (30-45 degrees) 
  Board  Open  Double leg stance while rotating the board 
4  Board  Closed  Single leg stance  
  Board  Open   Single leg stance, while swinging the raised leg  
  Board  Open   Single leg squat (30-45 degrees) 
  Board  Open   Single leg stance while rotating the board clockwise and counter-clockwise
5 Board  Closed  Single leg stance   
  Board  Open  Single leg squat (30-45 degrees) 
  Board  Open  Single leg stance while rotating the board clockwise and counter-clockwise 
  Board  Open  Single leg stance while performing functional activities (dribbling, catching, kicking) 
 
 
Phase 1-4 are performed five days per week. Phase 5 is performed three days per week for the rest of the season. Each exercise is performed for 30 seconds per leg. Athletes should alternate legs to allow a rest period of 30 seconds between repetitions.