ankle sprainIt’s been documented in several studies that neuromuscular and proprioceptive exercises using unstable surfaces such as Thera-Band® Stability Trainers can reduce sports injuries. For example, Blue Thera-Band Stability Trainers were shown to reduce ankle injuries by 77% in football players at risk for ankle sprains (McHugh et al. 2007). More recently, a systematic review published in Medicine and Science and Sports and Exercise examined 7 high-quality studies on preventing sports injuries with neuromuscular/ proprioceptive training. Through a meta-analysis, the reviewers determined that neuromuscular training can effectively reduce sports injury risk, particularly those with a history of sprains.

The 7 studies they reviewed included both wobble board training (3 studies) and multi-intervention including strength training, stretching, balance training, and specific exercises (4 studies). Both balance exercise or multi-intervention exercise programs can reduce specific injuries in young athletes participating in basketball, volleyball, soccer, team handball, hockey and floorball. Specifically, balance training reduced the risk of ankle sprains by 36%, and multi-intervention training programs reduced ankle sprain risk by 50% and reduced acute knee injuries by 54%.

Thera-Band stability products can easily be incorporated in pre-season and in-season balance training programs for teams of young athletes to potentially prevent ankle and knee injuries; however, the best dosage (sets, repetitions, etc) has yet to be determined by researchers.

REFERENCE Hübscher M, et al. Neuromuscular training for sports injury prevention: a systematic review. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010 Mar;42(3):413-21.

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