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

Main Article Content

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

Keywords

lower extremity injury, dynamic balance, athletic injuries

Abstract

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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