Few ankle inversion studies have taken anticipation bias into account or collected data with an experimental design that mimics actual injury mechanisms. Twenty-three participants performed randomized single-leg vertical drop landings from 20 cm. Subjects were blinded to the landing surface (a flat force plate or 30° inversion wedge on the force plate). After each trial, participants reported whether they anticipated the landing surface. Participant responses were validated with EMG data. The protocol was repeated until four anticipated and four unanticipated landings onto the inversion wedge were recorded. Results revealed a significant main effect for landing condition. Normalized vertical ground reaction force (% body weights), maximum ankle inversion (degrees), inversion velocity (degrees/second), and time from contact to peak muscle activation (seconds) were significantly greater in unanticipated landings, and the time from peak muscle activation to maximum VGRF (second) was shorter. Unanticipated landings presented different muscle activation patterns than landings onto anticipated surfaces, which calls into question the usefulness of clinical studies that have not controlled for anticipation bias.
Jeremy R. Dicus is now with the Department of Exercise and Rehabilitative Sciences, Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania. Jeff G. Seegmiller (Corresponding Author) is with the Department of Movement Sciences, University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho.