Examination of static and dynamic postural stability in individuals with functionally stable and unstable ankles

Scott E Ross, Kevin M Guskiewicz
Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine 2004, 14 (6): 332-8

OBJECTIVE: To determine static and dynamic postural stability differences between functional ankle instability and stable ankle groups.

DESIGN: Subjects were required to balance on a single leg and remain motionless for 20 seconds. After completing 3 trials, they performed a jump-landing test, which required them to jump 50% to 55% of their maximum vertical jump height. They landed on a single leg, stabilized quickly, and remained motionless for 20 seconds.

SETTING: Sports Medicine Research Laboratory.

PARTICIPANTS: Subjects with functional ankle instability (n = 14) who reported at least 2 sprains and "giving way" sensations at their ankle joint within the year prior to testing. Fourteen subjects with no history of ankle sprain injury were matched to subjects with functional ankle instability.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Anterior/posterior and medial/lateral mean sway quantified static postural stability during single-leg stance. Dynamic postural stability was quantified with anterior/posterior and medial/lateral time to stabilization during single-leg jump landing.

RESULTS: Mean sway was not significantly different between groups in the anterior/posterior (P = 0.28) and medial/lateral (P = 0.65) directions. The functional ankle instability group took significantly longer to stabilize in the anterior/posterior (3.27 +/- 0.72 seconds vs. 2.33 +/- 0.33 seconds; P < 0.001) and medial/lateral (2.48 +/- 0.50 seconds vs. 2.00 +/- 0.65 seconds; P = 0.04) directions.

CONCLUSIONS: Individuals with functional ankle instability took significantly longer to stabilize than individuals with stable ankles after a single-leg jump landing. Differences between groups were not detected with mean sway measured during single-leg stance.

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