The effect of sensory-targeted ankle rehabilitation strategies on single-leg center of pressure elements in those with chronic ankle instability: A randomized clinical trial

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© 2018 Sports Medicine Australia Objectives: To determine the effects of sensory-targeted ankle rehabilitation strategies on laboratory-oriented measures of single-leg balance in those with chronic ankle instability. Design: Non-inferiority randomized controlled trial. Methods: Seventy-seven participants with self-reported chronic ankle instability were randomized into 4 treatment groups: Ankle joint mobilization, plantar massage, triceps surae stretching, and a control group. All participants performed 3 trials of single-leg balance on a force plate with eyes open and closed at 3 time points (baseline, immediately after the first treatment, and following 6 treatments over 2 weeks). The spatial (standard deviation), temporal (velocity), and spatiotemporal (time-to-boundary) elements of center of pressure excursions in single-leg balance were evaluated with eyes open and eyes closed at each time point. Immediate and final change scores were calculated for each group from the baseline values on these variables. Results: Joint mobilization produced immediate improvements in the temporal elements with eyes open and closed that exceeded the minimum detectable changes for these measures. Plantar massage and triceps surae stretching also enhanced the temporal element after a single treatment, but only with eyes closed. No substantial benefit of any of the interventions were found after 2-weeks of treatment, regardless of treatment group. Conclusions: Sensory-targeted ankle rehabilitation strategies substantially improve single-leg postural control after one treatment, but these changes are short-lived. Future research is needed to determine whether combinations of sensory-targeted ankle rehabilitation strategies with other therapeutic interventions potentially improve single-leg balance stability in those with CAI compared to use in isolation. Clinical trial registration number: NCT01541657.

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Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport

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