Just out in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport .. the ink still dripping from the pages. Our most recent result on the effectiveness of mobile applications as a tool for injury prevention in sports. Our study showed that the implementation method of a NMT program by using an App or a Booklet did neither lead to different injury incidence rates in the long term nor did it influence residual functional disability/pain.
Recurrent ankle sprains can be reduced by a neuromuscular training program (NMT). The way NMT is delivered may influence the incidence of long term recurrent injuries, residual pain and disability. This RCT, with a follow-up of twelve months, evaluated whether the implementation method of a proven effective NMT program delivered by a mobile application or a written instruction booklet, resulted in differences in injury incidence rates, functional ankle disability/pain in the long term, assuming equal compliance - as is shown in previous research - with the 8-week intervention.
A total of 220 athletes with a history of ankle sprain were recruited for this RCT. 110 athletes were offered the freely available "Strengthen your ankle App" and the other 110 received a printed Booklet. Primary outcome measure was incidence density of ankle sprains. Secondary outcome measures were residual pain/disability and the individual cumulative number of ankle sprains during follow-up.
The incidence densities of self-reported ankle sprain recurrences were not significantly different between both groups (HR 1.06; 95% CI 0.76-1.49). Median FADI (Functional Ankle and Disability Index) scores increased equally over time in both groups, indicating a lower rate of limitation and pain in both groups at follow-up. Neither FADI scores nor cumulative recurrent injuries were significantly different between groups.
This study showed that the implementation method of a NMT program by using an App or a Booklet did neither lead to different injury incidence rates in the long term nor did it influence residual functional disability/pain. Assuming equal compliance during the 8-week intervention, both methods show similar effectiveness in twelve-month follow-up. So now then, should we choose a method which is best? We don't think so. Adherence to either method differs amongst participants, and our results show that either option is equally effective. The trick is to advice a patient on the delivery method that fits their needs and wishes best to optimise adherence.
Van Reijen M, Vriend I, Zuidema V, van Mechelen W, Verhagen E. The “Strengthen your ankle” program to prevent recurrent injuries: A randomized controlled trial aimed at long-term effectiveness. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. 2017 Jun;20(6):549–54.