How best to prevent sports injuries? Get stronger.
According to a new study: Effectiveness of exercise to prevent sports injuries
Published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, 2014
An overall RR estimate for physical activity for injury prevention, adjusted for clustering effects, was 0.632 (0.532–0.750), and slightly lower when sensitivity analysed by intention-to-treat (RR 0.607 (0.501–0.735)). A preventive effect of this size should be considered convincing, but the analysis was heterogeneous and the result is, therefore, clinically useless. However, it also suggests that some types of interventions may prove better than others.
Stretching did not show any protective effect (RR=0.961 (0.836–1.106)), while strength training proved highly significant (RR 0.315 (0.207–0.480)). Results from stretching and strength training studies were not heterogeneous despite different programmes were used and outcomes of interest were different. This points towards a strong generalisability of results. Proprioception training and multiple exposure programmes were also effective (RR=0.480 (0.266–0.864) and 0.625 (0.477–0.820), respectively), but results were relatively heterogeneous.
Conclusions Despite a few outlying studies, consistently favourable estimates were obtained for all injury prevention measures except for stretching. Strength training reduced sports injuries to less than 1/3 and overuse injuries could be almost halved.
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