Is an Elastic Ankle Support Effective in Improving Jump Landing Performance, and Static and Dynamic Balance in Young Adults With and Without Chronic Ankle Instability?

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Context: In some patients, ankle sprains lead to chronic symptoms like pain or muscular weakness called chronic ankle instability (CAI). External ankle supports have shown to be effective in preventing sprains and reducing recurrence, but the underlying mechanisms are unclear. As sensorimotor variables are associated with injury incidence, an influence of external ankle support on landing performance and balance seems plausible. Objective: To analyze the effects of an elastic ankle support on jump landing performance and static and dynamic balance in patients with CAI and healthy controls. Design: Crossover study. Setting: Functional tests in a laboratory setting. Patients or Other Participants: Twenty healthy students and 20 patients with CAI were included for study participation based on their scores in ankle stability and function questionnaires. Intervention: Healthy and CAI participants performed each test with and without an elastic ankle support. Main Outcome Measures: (1) Jump landing performance was measured with the Landing Error Scoring System, (2) static balance was assessed with the Balance Error Scoring System, and (3) dynamic balance was assessed using the Y Balance Test. Linear mixed models were used to analyze the effects of the elastic ankle support on sensorimotor parameters. Results: Healthy controls performed significantly better in the Landing Error Scoring System (P = .01) and Y Balance Test anterior direction (P = .01). No significant effects of elastic ankle support on Landing Error Scoring System, Balance Error Scoring System, or Y Balance Test performance were observed in the CAI or control group. There were no significant group-by-ankle support interactions. Conclusions: In the current study, the acute use of elastic ankle support was ineffective for enhancing jump landing performance, and static and dynamic balance. Further research is needed to identify the underlying mechanisms of the preventive effects of elastic ankle support.

John, Stotz, Gmachowski, Rahlf, Hamacher, and Zech are with the Department of Human Movement Science and Exercise Physiology, Institute of Sports Science, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Jena, Germany. Hollander is with the Department of Sports and Rehabilitation Medicine, BG Trauma Hospital of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany; and the Department of Sports and Exercise Medicine, Institute of Human Movement Science, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany.

John (cornelius.john@uni-jena.de) is corresponding author.
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