FRIDAY, July 8 (HealthDay News) -- Lace-up ankle braces may help prevent ankle sprains and fractures in high school basketball players, a new study finds.

The researchers looked at 1,460 male and female basketball players, aged 13 to 18, from 46 high schools across the United States. Some wore a lace-up ankle brace made of synthetic fabric, while others wore no ankle brace. During the study, acute ankle injuries occurred in 27 of the athletes wearing ankle braces and in 78 of those without braces.

The findings were to be presented Friday at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine annual meeting in San Diego.

"Basketball has one of the higher rates for ankle injuries, and this study illustrates how a simple brace can help keep an athlete on the court," lead researcher Timothy A. McGuine, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said in a society news release.

"Seeing more than three times the amount of acute ankle injuries without the brace is a telling statistic," he said. "Having more players wear a brace on a regular basis would help prevent injury."

Experts note that research presented at meetings is considered preliminary because it has not been subjected to the rigorous scrutiny required for publication in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

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