July 2013

Balance deficits persist after sprain despite clearance to return to sports

In the moment: Ankle

By Jordana Bieze Foster

Athletes with a history of severe ankle sprain still demonstrate postural control deficits and report functional impairment even after being medically cleared for full sports participation, according to two studies from A.T. Still University in Mesa, AZ.

Both studies analyzed 272 intercollegiate athletes. Compared to the 144 athletes with no prior ankle injury, the 65 athletes who reported a prior severe ankle injury had significantly poorer scores for the tandem foam condition of the Stability Evaluation Test, the Activities of Daily Living component of the FAAM (Foot and Ankle Ability Measure), and three components of the Short Form-12 functional assessment tool.

The postural control findings suggest clinicians using balance tests to make return to play decisions for concussed athletes should consider whether a history of severe ankle sprain could affect the results, said Travis A. Williams, ATC, a recent graduate of the university’s athletic training program, who presented the results in late June at the annual NATA meeting.

Sources:

Lam KC, Bay RC. Does severity of a previous ankle injury influence region-specific and generic health-related quality of life in collegiate athletes? Presented at the National Athletic Trainers’ Association 64th Annual Meeting and Clinical Symposia, Las Vegas, June 2013.

Williams TA, Kulow SM, Valovich McLeod TC, Lam KC. The severity of a previous ankle injury does not impact postural control. Presented at the National Athletic Trainers’ Association 64th Annual Meeting and Clinical Symposia, Las Vegas, June 2013.

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