Facilitation of Hoffmann Reflexes of Ankle Muscles in Prone but Not Standing Positions by Focal Ankle-Joint Cooling

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Context:

Focal ankle-joint cooling (FAJC) has been shown to increase Hoffmann (H) reflex amplitudes of select leg muscles while subjects lie prone, but it is unknown whether the neurophysiological cooling effects persist in standing.

Objective:

To assess the effects of FAJC on H-reflexes of the soleus and fibularis longus during 3 body positions (prone, bipedal, and unipedal stances) in individuals with and without chronic ankle instability (CAI).

Design:

Crossover.

Setting:

Laboratory.

Participants:

15 young adults with CAI (9 male, 6 female) and 15 healthy controls.

Intervention:

All subjects received both FAJC and sham treatments on separate days in a randomized order. FAJC was accomplished by applying a 1.5-L plastic bag filled with crushed ice to the ankle for 20 min. Sham treatment involved room-temperature candy corn.

Main Outcome Measures:

Maximum amplitudes of H-reflexes and motor (M) waves were recorded while subjects lay prone and then stood in quiet bipedal and unipedal stances before and immediately after each treatment. Primary outcome measures were Hmax:Mmax ratios for the soleus and fibularis longus. Three-factor (group × treatment condition × time) repeated-measures ANOVAs and Fisher LSD tests were performed for statistical analyses.

Results:

Significant interactions of treatment condition by time for prone Hmax:Mmax ratios were found in the soleus (P = .001) and fibularis longus (P = .003). In both muscles, prone Hmax:Mmax ratios moderately increased after FAJC but not after sham treatment. The CAI and healthy groups responded similarly to FAJC. In contrast, there were no significant interactions or main effects in the bipedal and unipedal stances in either muscle (P > .05).

Conclusions:

FAJC moderately increased H-reflex amplitudes of the soleus and fibularis longus while subjects were prone but not during bipedal or unipedal standing. These results were not different between groups with and without CAI.

Kim is with the Dept of Health and Human Performance, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX. Ingersoll is with the College of Health Sciences, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH. Hertel is with the Dept of Kinesiology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA.

Address author correspondence to Kyung-Min Kim at kmk102@txstate.edu.