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Residual Mechanical Effectiveness of External Ankle Tape Before and After Competitive Professional Soccer Performance

Best, Raymond MD*,†; Mauch, Frieder MD; Böhle, Caroline MSS; Huth, Jochen MSS; Brüggemann, Peter PhD

Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine: January 2014 - Volume 24 - Issue 1 - p 51–57
doi: 10.1097/JSM.0b013e31829ddc74
Original Research
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Objective: To evaluate the presupposed preventive residual mechanical effectiveness of the widespread use of adhesive elastic ankle tape after a nonlaboratory, realistic soccer-specific outfield intervention reflecting a soccer halftime.

Design: A prospective nonrandomized test–retest design was used.

Setting: Laboratory.

Participants: Seventeen professional male outfield players (mean age, 25.5) without any signs of chronic ankle instability.

Intervention: Participants were investigated before and after a 45-minute soccer-specific field intervention.

Main Outcome Measures: The passive inversion range of motion (ROM) of the ankle was tested unloaded on a self-developed inversion device with and without a standardized ankle tape before and after the intervention. Additionally, electromyography signal was taken to assure the inactivity of the protective evertor muscles, and reliability tests for the inversion device (test–retest and trial to trial) were conducted in 12 healthy controls.

Results: Tape restricted the maximum passive inversion ROM of the uninjured ankle significantly to 50.3%. The protection declined nearly completely after 45 minutes of outfield soccer performance to a negligible nonsignificant ROM restriction of 9.7%. Pearson correlation coefficient for the reliability was 0.931 (P ≤ 0.001) for the test–retest and 0.983 (P ≤ 0.001) for the trial-to-trial test.

Conclusions: The initial significant protection of external ankle-tape support declines almost completely without relevant remaining residual mechanical effect after 45 minutes, reflecting a soccer halftime. The so far presupposed residual mechanical effectiveness of tape to prevent injury is increasingly irrelevant during soccer performance and consequently antidromic to the increasing injury risk toward the end of a soccer halftime.

*Department of Orthopedic Sports Medicine, Medical Clinic, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany;

Department of Orthopedics, Sportklinik Stuttgart GmbH, Stuttgart, Germany; and

Department of Orthopedics and Biomechanics, German Sports University Cologne, Cologne, Germany.

Corresponding Author: Raymond Best, MD, Department of Orthopedic Sports Medicine, Medical Clinic, University of Tübingen, Hoppe-Seyler-Straße 6, 72076 Tübingen, Germany (

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Received November 06, 2012

Accepted April 17, 2013

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