Date of Award

4-2022

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Health and Human Performance

Program

Exercise Science

First Advisor/Chairperson

Dr. Marguerite Moore Ph.D, AT, ATC

Abstract

Purpose: Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are one of the most common sports-related injuries as they account for around 100,000 injuries per year. This study sought to review research on prophylactic knee bracing (PKB) for the reduction of the risk factors related to injury of the ACL.

Methods: An extensive search of articles from 1990-2021 was performed with inclusion criteria of no previous ACL injury, no knee injury or surgery in the past 6 months, the use of a hinged knee brace, and use of kinetic, kinematic, and proprioceptive variables. All studies underwent a PEDro score evaluation to determine article quality. All relevant variables were then compared on a braced vs unbraced basis with further evaluation via two brace categories of fit and type.

Results: Four selected articles were included in the review where kinematic, kinetic, and proprioceptive data were assessed. The custom braces led to greater improvements in mechanisms of injury than the generic counterparts. The other category, type, saw the hinged braces perform better with most kinematic and proprioceptive variables. The primary exception was knee flexion which saw one hinged brace have increased knee flexion while one saw a decrease. Additionally, the non-hinged brace saw an increase in knee flexion.

Conclusion: The analysis of the results allowed for the recommendation that the current research shows the most effective bracing protocol to involve custom, hinged braces. These types of braces allowed for the greatest improvement of the factors related to mechanisms of injury for the ACL. Future research should evaluate different types of braces, varied athlete populations of different ages, and usage of consistent variables to allow a more direct comparison of braces.

Access Type

Open Access

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