The Effect of Dry Needling on Patient-Reported Outcomes in Individuals With Chronic Ankle Instability: A Critically Appraised Topic

in International Journal of Athletic Therapy and Training
Jennifer F. Mullins PT, DPT, OCS * , 1 , Arthur J. Nitz PhD, PT, ECS, OCS * , 1 and Matthew C. Hoch PhD, ATC * , 1
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  • 1 University of Kentucky
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Clinical Scenario: Chronic ankle instability (CAI) and its associated recurrent sprains, feelings of instability, and decreased function occur in approximately 40% of individuals that suffer an ankle sprain. Despite these continued deficits, more effective treatment has yet to be established. Decreased sensorimotor function has been associated with CAI and may be amenable to dry needling treatment, thereby improving patient-reported outcomes (PROs). Focused Clinical Question: Does dry needling improve PROs in individuals with CAI? Summary of Key Findings: Two studies were identified that examined dry needling in participants with CAI. One of the two studies reported improvements in PROs (PEDro score 7/10) while the other study did not identify any changes (PEDro score 9/10). The inconsistent results were likely related to different treatment durations and follow-up timelines across the included evidence. Clinical Bottom Line: Based on the included studies, there is inconsistent evidence that dry needling can improve PROs in individuals with CAI. Strength of Recommendation: Utilizing the Strength of Recommendation Taxonomy (SORT) guidelines, level B evidence exists to recommend dry needling treatment to improve PROs for individuals with CAI.

The authors are with the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY.

Mullins (Jennifer.mullins@uky.edu) is corresponding author.
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