The effectiveness of proprioceptive training in preventing ankle sprains in sporting populations

The objective of this review was to systematically summarise the evidence regarding the effectiveness of proprioceptive training in decreasing the incidence and recurrence rates of ankle sprains in the sporting population. Seven moderate-to-high quality randomised controlled trials involving 3726 participants were included. Results of the meta-analysis combining all participants, irrespective of ankle injury history status, showed a significant decrease in ankle sprain incidence when proprioceptive training was performed compared to a range of control interventions (relative risk=0.65, 95% CI 0.55-0.77). Results favouring the intervention remained significant for participants with a history of ankle sprain (relative risk=0.64, 95% CI 0.51-0.81). Results looking exclusively at primary prevention in those without a history were also statistically significant (relative risk=0.57, 95% CI 0.34 to 0.97), although the pooled effect was obtained from two non-significant trials.

The study found proprioceptive training programmes to be effective at decreasing the frequency of ankle sprains in sporting participants, especially those with a history of ankle sprain. Current evidence remains inconclusive on the benefits for primary prevention of ankle sprains.