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Cortical Changes of Dual Cognitive-Task Balance Training in Patients with Chronic Ankle Instability: A Randomized Trial.

CONTEXT: Researchers have shown that patients with chronic ankle instability (CAI) have deficits in memory and attention allocation. This functional deficit affects the lower extremity performance. Motor-cognitive dual-task training may improve lower limb dysfunction caused by central nervous system injury. Whether dual-task training is more favorable than single-task training for neuromuscular control in patients with single-task training still needs to be further proven.

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether balance-cognitive dual-task training can influence cortical activity and has more effective treatment effects than balance single-task training.

DESIGN: Randomized controlled clinical trial (Clinical Trials: XXX).

SETTING: Rehabilitation training room.

PATIENTS OR OTHER PARTICIPANTS: After recruitment, twenty-four patients with CAI (age=22.33±2.43 years, height=175.62±7.7 cm, mass=70.63±14.59 kg) were block randomized into two groups.

INTERVENTION(S): Protocols were performed three times per week for six weeks. The single-task group underwent one-leg static balance training with and without vision and hopping balance training. The dual-task group underwent balance and cognitive training (backward counting task).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): The follow variables were assessed before and after the interventions: cortical activity, proprioception, muscle onset time, and dynamic balance. We performed MANOVAs to compare changes of main effects and interactions across groups and time. A post-hoc Bonferroni test was performed for pairwise comparisons when there were significant interactions with the MANOVAs.

RESULTS: Twenty-four participants successfully completed the six-week interventions. Proprioception, peroneus longus muscle onset time, and dynamic postural control improved significantly after the interventions in both groups (P<0.05). Dual-task training was superior to single-task training in improving JPS plantarflexion, shortening peroneus longus muscle onset time, and altering cortical activity(P<0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: A six-week balance training program or balance combined with cognitive training could improve the functional deficits associated with CAI. Meanwhile, the dual-task training could improve cortical activity and lower extremity function.

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