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The Effects of External Ankle Support on Dynamic Restraint Characteristics of the Ankle in Volleyball Players

Midgley, Wendy MS; Hopkins, J Ty PhD; Feland, Brent PhD; Kaiser, David PhD; Merrill, Gaye MS; Hunter, Iain PhD

Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine: September 2007 - Volume 17 - Issue 5 - p 343-348
doi: 10.1097/JSM.0b013e31814c3eb2
Original Research

Objective: To examine any changes in electromechanical delay and reaction time as a result of the use of external ankle supports over an entire season (3-5 months) in college volleyball players.

Design: A 2 × 3 pre-post factorial design.

Setting: Biomechanics laboratory, Human Performance Research Center.

Participants: Thirty healthy, active male and female intercollegiate volleyball players were recruited for this study (age, 20.4 ± 2.3 years; height, 183.1 ± 8.6 cm; weight, 74.0 ± 9.5 kg).

Interventions: External supports consisted of the subjects wearing either tape or braces for practices and games for the duration of the volleyball season. Subjects in the control group wore nothing on their ankles for practices and games for the duration of the volleyball season.

Main Outcome Measures: The electromechanical delay (EMD) of the peroneus longus was determined by the onset of force contribution after artificial activation, as measured by electromyographic (EMG) and forceplate data. Reaction time was measured after an inversion perturbation during walking.

Results: No significant (F2,27 = 0.141, P = 0.869) interaction was observed for reaction time between the groups over time. No significant (F2,27 = 0.236, P = 0.791) interaction was observed for EMD between groups over time.

Conclusion: Use of an external ankle support over an entire season does not induce neuromuscular changes in the onset timing of the peroneus longus.

From the Human Performance Research Center, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

Submitted for publication November 10, 2006; accepted April 25, 2007.

Reprints: J. Ty Hopkins, PhD, 120B RB, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah 84602-2205 (e-mail:

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.