A Level-I meta-analysis by Grimm et al. in the September 7, 2016 issue of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery found a significant reduction in the risk of ankle injury among soccer athletes who participated in ankle-injury prevention programs. Researchers reviewed data from 10 randomized controlled trials of such prevention programs involving more than 4,000 female and male soccer players, applying random-effects statistical models to determine pooled risk differences. Not surprisingly, the authors found substantial heterogeneity among the included studies, but there was no evidence of publication bias.
Despite the overall finding of a protective effect from prevention programs, the authors were “unable to comment on the role of individual elements of injury prevention programs,” saying that further research is needed to evaluate the effectiveness of specific exercises and the optimal timing and age for implementing these programs.