Effects of Textured Balance Board Training in Adolescent Ballet Dancers With Ankle Pathology

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Context: Ankle sprains are common among adolescent ballet dancers and may be attributed to inadequate ankle proprioception. Thus, a short period of training utilizing proprioceptive activities requires evaluation. Objective: To assess training conducted for 3 or 6 weeks on a textured-surface balance board using ankle proprioception scores for ballet dancers with and without chronic ankle instability, and with and without previous ankle sprain (PAS). Design: Intervention study. Setting: The Australian Ballet School. Participants: Forty-two ballet dancers, aged 14–18 years. Interventions: Dancers randomized into 2 groups: group 1 undertook 1 minute of balance board training daily for 3 weeks; group 2 undertook the same training for 6 weeks. Main Outcome Measures: Preintervention, Cumberland Ankle Instability Tool questionnaire data were collected, and PAS during the last 2 years was reported. Active ankle inversion movement discrimination ability was tested immediately pre and post intervention and at 3 and 4 weeks. Results: Ankle discrimination acuity scores improved over time for both groups, with a performance decline associated with the early cessation of training for group 1 (P = .04). While dancers with PAS had significantly worse scores at the first test, before balance board training began (P < .01), no significant differences in scores at any test occasion were found between dancers with and without chronic ankle instability. A significantly faster rate of improvement in ankle discrimination ability score over the 4 test occasions was found for dancers with PAS (P = .002). Conclusions: Three weeks of textured balance board training improved the ankle discrimination ability of ballet dancers regardless of their reported level of chronic ankle instability and at a faster rate for dancers with PAS. Previous ankle sprain was associated with a lower level of ankle discrimination ability; however, following 3 weeks of balance board training, previously injured dancers had significantly improved their ankle discrimination acuity scores.

Steinberg, Waddington, and Adams are with the Faculty of Health, University of Canberra, Canberra, ACT, Australia. Steinberg is also with the Wingate College of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, The Wingate Institute, Netanya, Israel. Tirosh is with the School of Health Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, VIC, Australia. Karin is with The Australian Ballet School, Melbourne, VIC, Australia; and the Australian Catholic University, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Steinberg (knopp@wincol.ac.il) is corresponding author.
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