July 2014

Hip exercises boost postural control in individuals with ankle instability

In the moment: Sports medicine

By Jordana Bieze Foster

Four weeks of hip external rotator and abductor strengthening significantly improves postural control in patients with functional ankle instability (FAI) and may be useful for preventing recurrent instability, according to research from Indiana University in Bloom­ington.

Investigators randomized 26 college-aged participants with FAI to a training group or a control group. The training group had supervised exercise sessions, using exercise bands to strengthen the hip external rotators and hip abductors, three times per week for four weeks. The control group did no rehabilitation during the same period.

Following the intervention, individuals in the training group significantly outperformed the control group with regard to strength, star excursion balance test scores (measuring dynamic balance), Balance Error Scoring System scores (measuring static balance), and self-reported function.

Although the gains were modest, they might be enhanced with a longer intervention, said Brent Smith, DHSc, ATC, LAT, a former graduate student at the university who is now an athletic trainer in the Chicago area, who presented the findings in June at the annual meeting of the National Athletic Trainers Association.


Smith BI, Docherty CL, Curtis D, et al. Hip strengthening protocol effects on neuromuscular control, hip strength, and self-reported deficits in individuals with functional ankle instability. J Athl Train 2014;49(3 Suppl):S-29.

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