M. Lawson & A. Webster
College of St. Benedict, St. Joseph, MN

Introduction: Dynamic postural stability is the ability to maintain stability when transitioning from a dynamic to static state. Dynamic postural stability can be measured using the Dynamic Postural Stability Index (DPSI), which is calculated using its directional components Anterior-Posterior Stability Index (APSI), Medial-Lateral Stability Index (MLSI), and Vertical Stability Index (VSI). With evidence that ankle bracing can enhance ankle proprioception, ankle bracing may enhance performance during DPSI testing because dynamic balance relies on proprioception and somatosensory feedback. Purpose: Because prophylactic ankle bracing is common in sport and exercise, it is important to understand how it may impact dynamic postural stability. The purpose of this study is to determine if prophylactic ankle braces have an effect on DPSI values. Methods: Seven males (20.14 ± 0.89 years, 81.44 ± 13.92 kg, 180.96 ± 4.58 cm) and 24 females (20.54 ± 0.72 years, 64.39 ± 8.79 kg, 164.74 ± 6.57 cm) who were physically active and had not worn an ankle brace in the last five years completed the DPSI test protocol. The protocol consisted of three jumps, each landing with the dominant foot on an Accupower force platform. Subjects jumped a distance that was 40% of their height, and over a 12 inch hurdle. One trial was completed without an ankle brace on and another was completed with a brace on the ankle of the dominant leg. Average DPSI, APSI, MLSI, and VSI values for each trial were used for data analysis. Results: A paired samples t-test was used for data analysis. No significant difference between braced (0.086 ± 0.011) and non-braced (0.087 ± 0.015) conditions was found for average APSI values [t(30) = -0.46, p > .05]. No significant difference between braced (0.036 ± 0.014) and non-braced (0.036 ± 0.013) conditions was found for average MLSI values [t(30) = 0.00, p > .05]. No significant difference between braced (0.310 ± 0.0395) and non-braced (0.030 ± 0.043) conditions was found for average VSI values [t(30) = 1.33, p > .05]. A nonsignificant difference between braced (0.325 ± 0.039) and non-braced (0.319 ± 0.044) conditions was found for average DPSI values [t(30) = 1.25, p > .05]. Conclusion: Wearing an ankle brace has no effect on the performance of the DPSI. Ankle braces will neither enhance nor inhibit dynamic postural stability.

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