Neuromuscular training puts a stop to lower limb injuries

April 25, 2010

Proprioceptive and neuromuscular training help reduce the incidence of some types of injuries among adolescent and young adult athletes participating in sports that involve pivoting. Balance exercises and multi-interventional training programs (balance plus strength and flexibility maneuvers) may be particularly effective in preventing basketball, soccer, handball, and floorball injuries.

Proprioceptive and neuromuscular training help reduce the incidence of some types of injuries among adolescent and young adult athletes participating in sports that involve pivoting. Balance exercises and multi-interventional training programs (balance plus strength and flexibility maneuvers) may be particularly effective in preventing basketball, soccer, handball, and floorball injuries.

Hbscher and colleagues retrospectively reviewed evidence from 7 controlled randomized and clinical trials that tested the effectiveness of proprioceptive and neuromuscular training for preventing sports injuries. The evaluated exercises included balance (wobble board, single-leg), stretching, plyometrics, cutting, strength, and core stability regimens.

Balance training reduced the risk of ankle sprains by 36%, although it did not blunt injury severity; balance training did nothing to prevent knee ligament or upper extremity injuries. Multi-interventional training reduced lower extremity and acute knee injuries by 39% and 54%, respectively, and ankle sprains by 50%; it also protected athletes against upper extremity injury and reduced the severity of these injuries when they did happen. However, the investigators could not quantitate the protective value of each component of the mixed training program.

The authors noted that research should focus on identifying the most appropriate and effective training components for preventing injuries in specific sports and populations.