Outside-the-boot parachute ankle braces (PABs) worn during US Army paratrooper training have been shown to reduce the risk of severe ankle injuries. In spite of evidence to the contrary, anecdotal reports continue to suggest increases in risk of other types of injury, and the cost of obtaining and periodically replacing the PAB has been used to justify its discontinued use. The authors identified inpatient and outpatient treatment for injuries during US Army paratrooper training. Those undergoing training during two periods when PAB use was mandated had 40% lower risks of ankle injury (brace I, RR=0.60 (95% CI 0.47 to 0.75); brace II, RR=0.62 (95% CI 0.49 to 0.78)), with no difference in risks of other types of injury. There were no differences in risk of ankle injury during periods when brace use was not mandated. The PAB is safe, effective and cost effective.
- risk factors
- military personnel
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Funding Funding was provided by the US Department of the Army, contract number W911QY-09-P-0316.
Competing interests None.
Ethics approval This research was reviewed and found to be exempt by the following ethics review boards: the Human Use Review Committee, US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, September 2006; the US Army Medical Research and Material Command's Office of Research Protections, Human Research Protection Office, November 2009; and ENVIRON International Corporation's Institutional Review Board, September 2006.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.