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The preventive effect of a soccer-specific ankle brace on acute lateral ankle sprains in girls amateur soccer players: study protocol of a cluster-randomised controlled trial
  1. Karin Thijs1,2,
  2. Bionka Huisstede1,
  3. Edwin Goedhart2,
  4. Frank Backx1
  1. 1 Department of Rehabilitation, Physical Therapy Science & Sports, University Medical Center Utrecht, Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neurosciences, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  2. 2 Sports Medical Centre, FIFA Medical Center, Royal Netherlands Football Association, Zeist, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Drs. Karin Thijs, Department of Rehabilitation, Physical Therapy Science & Sports, University Medical Center Utrecht, Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neurosciences, Utrecht, The Netherlands; K.M.Thijs-2{at}


Background Acute lateral ankle sprains are the single most often diagnosed injury in female soccer players and often result in an inability to play. This highlights the need for effective prevention strategies. Proprioceptive training and/or the use of an external support to decrease inversion of the ankle joint can prevent or reduce the number of acute lateral ankle sprains. The effectiveness of a soccer-specific ankle brace in reducing first-time and recurrent acute lateral ankle sprains has never been investigated in girl soccer players. If effective, ankle braces could be introduced into soccer.

Study design Cluster-randomised controlled trial.

Methods Girl amateur soccer players (aged 14–18 years) will be allocated to an intervention or control group. The intervention group will be instructed to wear soccer-specific ankle braces on both ankles during soccer training and matches; the control group will continue playing soccer as usual. Primary outcomes are the incidence and severity of acute lateral ankle sprains. Secondary outcomes are the prognostic value of generalised joint hypermobility and functional stability on the risk of acute lateral ankle sprains and compliance with the intervention.

Discussion The findings from this study may provide evidence to support the use of a soccer-specific ankle brace to prevent lateral ankle sprains during soccer. We hypothesise that this brace will reduce the incidence of ankle sprains among young amateur girl soccer players by 50%. The prevention of such injuries will be beneficial to players, clubs and society.

Trial registration number The Netherlands Trial Register (NTR): NTR6045; Pre-results.

  • Recreation / Sports
  • Sports / Leisure Facility
  • Randomized Trial
  • Youth

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  • Contributors KT, BH, EG and FB made a substantial contribution to the design and development of the trial protocol. KT was mainly responsible for writing the manuscript and will be responsible for data acquisition. All authors had a substantial input in the draft manuscript, and all have read and approved the final version of the manuscript.

  • Funding The study is funded by the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw). NEA International BV has kindly provided the Kicx ankle braces and funding to match that of the primary subsidy source. The funders will have no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

  • Competing interests Dr Backx reports personal fees from Nea International during the conduct of the study; Dr Thijs reports grants from Nea International for funding of the study. Dr Goedhart reports voluntary participation in the advisory board on the development of the ankle brace, used in the study, as independent member.

  • Ethics approval The medical ethics committee of the University Medical Center Utrecht.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent for publication Detail has been removed from this case description/these case descriptions to ensure anonymity. The editors and reviewers have seen the detailed information available and are satisfied that the information backs up the case the authors are making.