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Gait Posture. 2019 Feb;68:329-334. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2018.11.038. Epub 2018 Dec 4.

Ankle angle variability during running in athletes with chronic ankle instability and copers.

Author information

1
Department of Sport Science and Sport, Division of Exercise and Health, Friedrich-Alexander-University (FAU) Erlangen-Nürnberg, Gebbertstrasse 123b, 91058, Erlangen, Germany.
2
Pattern Recognition Lab, Department of Computer Science, FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg, Martensstrasse 3, 91058, Erlangen, Germany.
3
Department of Sport Science and Sport, Division of Exercise and Health, Friedrich-Alexander-University (FAU) Erlangen-Nürnberg, Gebbertstrasse 123b, 91058, Erlangen, Germany. Electronic address: simon.steib@fau.de.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Individuals with chronic ankle instability (CAI) demonstrate altered ankle kinematics during running compared to uninjured individuals; however, little is known about differences between individuals with CAI and those who recover successfully from an index sprain (copers).

METHODS:

Thirty-two young male athletes with prior ankle sprain were investigated, eighteen with CAI and fourteen copers. Instrumented running analysis was performed on a treadmill at two velocities: moderate (2.63 ± 0.20 m/s, rate of perceived of exertion = 14/20); and high velocity (3.83 ± 0.20 m/s). Mean ankle kinematics and stride-to-stride variability were analyzed applying the statistical parametric mapping method.

RESULTS:

At both running velocities, no statistically significant differences in mean ankle kinematics were observed. At high running velocity, athletes with CAI demonstrated significantly increased frontal plane variability at 17-19% of the running gait cycle (p = 0.009). Additionally, large between-group effect sizes (Hedges' g ≥ 0.8) may potentially indicate increased frontal plane variability during initial contact and terminal swing, as well as decreased variability in sagittal plane at 34-35% in CAI. A similar tendency existed at moderate velocity, with large effect sizes indicating decreased dorsiflexion at 75-89% in CAI, as well as an increased frontal plane variability at 16-25%, and 97-99%.

DISCUSSION:

Compared to copers, individuals with CAI demonstrate increased variability of ankle kinematics - mainly in the frontal plane and particularly during stance phase - while mean ankle kinematics seems minimally affected. Increased ankle variability at high running velocity may best reflect persisting sensorimotor control deficits in athletes with chronically instable ankles.

KEYWORDS:

Ankle sprain; Kinematics; Neuromuscular; Sensorimotor; Statistical parametric mapping

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