Developing a prevention strategy for ankle injuries in soccer


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The epidemiology and aetiology of ankle injuries in soccer has been widely established. Ankle injuries have been identified as a primary injury concern within soccer, highlighting the need for injury prevention programmes to be implemented in an attempt to reduce their incidence and severity. Injuries are multi-modal in occurrence thus indicating the need for a multi-modal battery of tests to further inform aetiology, whilst also allowing for greater informed rehabilitation and prehabilitation strategies. The purpose of study one was to determine whether relationships existed between aetiological risk factors associated with ankle sprain using a multi-modal battery of tests. In accordance with the multi-variate aetiology, a lack of commonality between task performance outcomes was demonstrated.

Studies two and three, utilising the same analysis parameters, investigated the effects of different brands of kinesiology tape (KT) and time of day effect on the same aetiological risk factors. Study two indicated that both brands of KT had some beneficial improvements in peformance for measures of postural stability and proprioception, whilst study three indicated a lack of time of day effect on task performance outcome measures.

Studies four and five attempted to provide greater ecological validity via assessing the effects of both KT and increased utlisation of interchanges (SAFT60) on locomotive activity and measures of postural stability and mechanical variables in the form of GPS, Force Plate and Qualisys kinematics. Prior research has often failed to investigate the effects of sport specific fatigue on paramters of performance associated with aetiological risk factors. KT demonstrates improvement in both postural stability and locomotive mechanics in the form of GPS and Force Plate variables, compared to that of postural stability only for the SAFT60. However, both the KT and SAFT60 intervention strategies failed to offset the effects of fatigue with regards to postural stability, indicating that other mechanisms such as different taping strategies need to be explored.

Study six, amalgamated the findings of the first five studies through designing a new six-week ankle injury prevention programme, which investigated the effects of training two groups of professional soccer players in either a non-fatigued or a fatigued state of performance, with measures of postural stability, GPS, Force Plate and Qualisys measured during the SAFT90, pre and post intervention. Findings indicated that performing the new ankle injury prevention programme helps to improve performance parameters and mechanisms associated with postural stability and functional movement, whilst also highlighting improvements in movement efficiency. However, whether the ankle injury prevention programme was conducted pre or post training had no significant effect on measures of postural stability performance or mechanical responses associated with soccer match play.

The findings of these studies provide a novel insight into the aetiological mechanisms associated with ankle sprain injury in healthy male soccer players, adopting a multi-modal rather than univariate approach. This suggests that tasks used to screen athletes are discrete in nature, thus emphasising the need for a multi-modal battery of tests. Furthermore, they demonstrate that KT and the SAFT60 improve measures associated with injury risk. Additionally a new and novel multi-modal training programme over a six-week period can improve measures of postural stability and locomotive mechanics during soccer simulations, thus potentially reducing injury risk in healthy male soccer players.
Date of Award13 Jan 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Edge Hill University
SupervisorMATT GREIG (Director of Studies), LARS MCNAUGHTON (Supervisor) & KELLY MARRIN (Supervisor)


  • ankle
  • epidemiology
  • fatigue
  • injury
  • kinesiology tape
  • prevention
  • soccer
  • sprain
  • aetiology

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