Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Effectiveness of an outside-the-boot ankle brace in reducing parachuting related ankle injuries
  1. M D Schmidt1,
  2. S I Sulsky1,
  3. P J Amoroso2
  1. 1ENVIRON International Corp, Amherst MA, USA
  2. 2US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick MA, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr S I Sulsky
 ENVIRON International Corp, PO Box 2424, Amherst, MA 01004, USA;


Objectives: To examine the efficacy of an outside-the-boot parachute ankle brace (PAB) in reducing risk of ankle injury to army paratrooper trainees and to identify inadvertent risks associated with PAB use.

Design: The authors compared hospitalization rates for ankle, musculoskeletal, and other traumatic injury among 223 172 soldiers trained 1985–2002 in time periods defined by presence/absence of PAB use protocols. Multiple logistic regression analysis estimated adjusted odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals for injury outcomes, comparing pre and post brace periods to the brace protocol period.

Setting: A research database consisting of training rosters from the US Army Airborne training facility (Fort Benning, GA) occupational, demographic, and hospitalization information.

Main outcome measures: Injuries were considered training related if they occurred during a five week period starting with first scheduled static line parachute jump and a parachuting cause of injury code appeared in the hospital record.

Results: Of 939 parachuting related hospitalizations during the defined risk period, 597 (63.6%) included an ankle injury diagnosis, 198 (21.1%) listed a musculoskeletal (non-ankle) injury, and 69 (7.3%) cited injuries to multiple body parts. Risk of ankle injury hospitalization was higher during both pre-brace (adjusted OR 2.38, 95% CI 1.92 to 2.95) and post-brace (adjusted OR 1.72, 95% CI 1.27 to 2.32) periods compared with the brace protocol period. Odds of musculoskeletal (non-ankle) injury or injury to multiple body parts did not change between the brace and post-brace periods.

Conclusion: Use of a PAB during airborne training appears to reduce risk of ankle injury without increasing risk of other types of traumatic injury.

  • DMDC, Defense Manpower Data Center
  • ICD-9-CM, International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification
  • IPDS, Individual Patient Data System
  • PAB, parachute ankle brace
  • TAIHOD, Total Army Injury and Health Outcomes Database
  • evaluation studies
  • databases
  • risks and benefits
  • parachuting
View Full Text

Statistics from

Supplementary materials

  • The table is available as a downloadable PDF (printer friendly file).

    If you do not have Adobe Reader installed on your computer,
    you can download this free-of-charge, please Click here


    Files in this Data Supplement:

    • [view PDF] - Table. Definition of injury outcomes among US Army Airborne School trainees, 1985�2002


    Request Permissions

    If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.