A Simple Balance Exercise Reduces Risk of Ankle Sprains

Just 5 minutes on each foot can make a big difference

balance exercises
balance exercises.

A simple, targeted balance training exercise may reduce the risk of ankle injuries in high risk athletes. That's the conclusion of a study by researchers at Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma. The same research team previously found that high school football players who are overweight and have a history of ankle sprains are more likely to have a repeat ankle injury. In this follow-up study, they decided to see if a balance conditioning program could reduce that risk.

The more recent study found that these ankle injuries can be avoided by performing a simple balance exercise for five minutes several times a week. The study followed 175 high school varsity football players for three years. Players were categorized as minimal risk, low risk, moderate risk, and high risk based on the history of previous ankle sprain and their current body mass index. Players in the low-, moderate-, and high-risk groups (any player with a high body mass index and/or a previous ankle sprain) were placed on a balance training intervention on a foam stability pad.

Players balanced for 5 minutes on each leg, 5 days per week, for 4 weeks in preseason and twice per week during the season. They found that these high-risk players were able to reduce their incidence of injury by 77 percent after this simple intervention.

Study results showed the injury incidence for players with increased risk was 2.2 injuries per 1000 exposures before the intervention and 0.5 after the intervention, or a 77 percent reduction in injury incidence.

Because this is a simple and low-cost strategy for reducing injuries many coaches and athletes who participate in field sports are adopting the routine and adding more balance training as a fundamental basic training principle.

To make this exercise even more effective, you can use one of the following pieces of balance training equipment:

  • BOSU Balance Trainer
  • Wobble Board
  • Balance Boards

Read more:
Ankle Sprain Treatment
Balance Training and Proprioception
Recovering from Ankle Sprains
Balance Training Products
Balance Board Training May Reduce Ankle Sprain


Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma, The Effectiveness of a Balance Training Intervention in Reducing the Incidence of Noncontact Ankle Sprains in High School Football Players

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