The Effects of a Novel Lateral Ankle Strengthening Program in NCAA Division III Football Players Original Research

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Jeff Buxton
CJ Otwell
Jack Petit
Holton Gwaltney
Nikolas Grabiec
Samuel Luithle
Hayden Gerhart
Philip Prins


lower extremity injury, dynamic balance, athletic injuries


Introduction: Lateral ankle sprains (LAS) are among the most reported injuries in college athletics, typically resulting from excessive closed-kinetic chain (CKC) supination.  The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of a novel CKC supination-style ankle strengthening program to a traditional ankle strengthening program on common LAS indices.   

Methods:  Thirty NCAA Division III collegiate football players (19.9±1.0yrs., 182.2±6.9cm, 98.8±18.0kg) were randomly assigned to a novel exercise (SUP, n = 16) or traditional exercise group (TRA, n = 14). The SUP group performed dynamic bodyweight exercises with controlled ankle supination while the TRA group performed traditional ankle strengthening exercise using elastic bands and stability exercises 3 times per week for 6 weeks. Right and left ankle inversion (InvR, InvL) and eversion (EvR, EvL) strength (kg), ankle inversion range of motion (romR, romL) (deg.), and figure-8 hop test (fig8R, fig8L) (s) performance were assessed pre- and post-intervention.

Results: Both groups showed significant improvements in all outcome measures pre- to post-test (ΔInvR: TRA 4.5±4.3kg, SUP 5.0±4.4kg; ΔIvL: TRA 4.0±3.8kg, SUP 4.8±3.6kg; ΔEvR: TRA 5.7±4.3kg, SUP 4.7±3.3kg; ΔEvL: TRA 4.7±2.9kg, SUP 4.5±2.2kg; ΔromR: TRA 4.5±2.6°, SUP 4.9±3.0°; ΔromL: TRA 4.7±4.5°, SUP 4.6±5.1°; Δfig8R: TRA -0.43±0.20s, SUP -0.37±0.31s; Δfig8L: TRA -0.40±0.22s, SUP -0.34±0.30s; p’s<0.001), with no difference between groups.

Conclusions: A bodyweight, supination style ankle training program can improve physical qualities related to LAS to a similar extent as a traditional program, and therefore, could potentially be a viable alternative strategy for reducing LAS in Division III NCAA football players.

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