BACKGROUND: Ankle sprains are the most common injuries in a variety of sports.
HYPOTHESIS: A proprioceptive balance board program is effective for prevention of ankle sprains in volleyball players.
STUDY DESIGN: Prospective controlled study.
METHODS: There were 116 male and female volleyball teams followed prospectively during the 2001-2002 season. Teams were randomized by 4 geographical regions to an intervention group (66 teams, 641 players) and control group (50 teams, 486 players). Intervention teams followed a prescribed balance board training program; control teams followed their normal training routine. The coaches recorded exposure on a weekly basis for each player. Injuries were registered by the players within 1 week after onset.
RESULTS: Significantly fewer ankle sprains in the intervention group were found compared to the control group (risk difference = 0.4/1000 playing hours; 95% confidence interval, 0.1-0.7). A significant reduction in ankle sprain risk was found only for players with a history of ankle sprains. The incidence of overuse knee injuries for players with history of knee injury was increased in the intervention group. History of knee injury may be a contraindication for proprioceptive balance board training.
CONCLUSIONS: Use of proprioceptive balance board program is effective for prevention of ankle sprain recurrences.