Good balance can help exercisers avoid ankle sprains, according to a study in the Scandanavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports.
Researchers evaluated the balance of 125 university students who exercised at least twice a month and had not suffered an ankle sprain in the past month. They then followed the students for a year, comparing the initial balance scores of the students who sprained their ankle with those who did not.
Students who had performed better on the balance test – which evaluated ankle stability as well as strength, flexibility and proprioception – were less likely to have sprained their ankle.
A history of ankle sprain, however, was the strongest predictor of injury. Students who had sprained their ankle in the months preceding the study were twice as likely to suffer another sprain, according to the findings.