Purpose: To report the immediate and prolonged (one week) effects of elastic bandage (EB) on balance control in subjects with chronic ankle instability.
Material and methods: Twenty-eight individuals successfully completed the study protocol, of whom 14 were randomly assigned to the EB group (7 men, 7 women) and 14 were assigned to the non-standardised tape (NST) group (9 men, 5 women). To objectively measure postural sway we used computerised dynamic posturography (CDP) with sensory organisation test (SOT) and unilateral stance (US) test. We analysed the following SOT parameters: the composite SOT score, the composite SOT strategy and the SOT condition 2 and its strategy. In addition, we studied the centre of gravity (COG) sway velocity with open eyes and close eyes during the US test.
Results: Repeated measures ANOVA showed a significant effect for time in composite SOT score (F= 34.98; p= <0.01), composite SOT strategy (F= 12.082; p= 0.02), and COG sway with open eyes (F= 3.382; p= 0.039) in EB group and NST group. Therefore, there were improvements in balance control after bandage applications (defined as better scores in SOT parameters and decreased COG sway in US test). However, no differences between groups were observed in the most relevant parameters.
Conclusions: This study did not observe differences between EB and NST during the follow-up in the majority of measurements. Several outcome measures for SOT and US tests improved in both groups immediately after bandage applications and after one week of use. EB of the ankle joint has no advantage as compared to the non-standardised tape.
Implications for rehabilitation
- Elastic bandage (EB) of the ankle joint has no advantage as compared to the non-standardised tape.
- The effects of the bandages could be due to a greater subjective sense of security.
- It is important to be prudent with the use of bandage, since a greater sense of safety could also bring with it a greater risk of injury.
- The application of the bandage on subjects with chronic ankle instability (CAI) should be prolonged and used alongside other physiotherapy treatments.