Date of Project


Document Type

Honors Thesis

School Name

Donna and Allan Lansing School of Nursing and Health Sciences


Exercise Science

Major Advisor

Joseph A. Brosky, Jr., PT, DHS, SCS

Second Advisor

Dr. Chelsey Franz

Third Advisor

Dr. David Boyce


Background/Purpose: Ankle braces are often used to stabilize the ankle joint of an athlete to reduce the risk of initial injury while participating in athletic activity or to protect the joint from re-injury when returning to play. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of application of three different braces on vertical jump performance in collegiate female volleyball players. A secondary aim was to compare participant preference and satisfaction on selected characteristics of each of the three different braces.

Subjects: 31 female varsity/club college volleyball players >18 years of age.

Materials/Methods: Health History Assessment and a dynamic warm-up were administered prior to performing vertical jump testing in four randomized conditions: unbraced, lace-up, single upright semi-rigid, and double upright semi-rigid ankle braces worn bilaterally. Vertical jump was calculated using the Just Jump® mat and the VERT® instrumented systems. Repeated measures ANOVA was employed to determine main effects on outcome variables of vertical jump performance and t-tests were implemented to assess brace satisfaction.

Results: The braced conditions resulted in similar but slightly lower vertical jump height than the unbraced condition (~2.5%). The lace-up brace was rated higher by the participants in overall user satisfaction in the majority of characteristics (5 of 7). The double upright semi-rigid brace was reported by the participants to provide the greatest stability and believed to be most effective at preventing a future injury.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance: Female volleyball players often wear ankle braces during practice or competition to prevent new or recurrent ankle injury. The braces used in this study appeared to have minimal impact on vertical jump performance of less than 2.5% compared to the unbraced condition. Whether this small effect on performance is an acceptable trade-off for reducing the risk of ankle injuries may be a matter of opinion especially at high levels of performance and requires future investigation.