Injury-Related Fear in Individuals With and Without Chronic Ankle Instability: A Systematic Review

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Context: Injury-related fear has recently been recognized to exist in ankle sprain populations. It is unclear, however, if injury-related fear levels differ between those who develop chronic ankle instability (CAI) and those who do not and the best tools for assessing these differences. Objective: The purpose of this study was to conduct a comprehensive systematic review investigating differences in injury-related fear between individuals with and without CAI. Evidence Acquisition: Relevant studies from CINAHL Plus with full text, PubMed, and SPORTDiscus through November 2020 were included. All studies used the Tampa Scale of Kinesiophobia, Fear-Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire, or Athlete Fear Avoidance Questionnaire as either a descriptor or a main outcome and provided comparison data between a CAI group and ankle sprain copers (COP) or controls (CON). The authors independently assessed methodological quality using the modified Downs and Black Quality Index. Studies were then grouped by between-group comparisons including CAI and CON, CAI and COP, and COP and CON. The authors calculated Hedge g effect sizes and 95% confidence intervals to examine group differences. Evidence Synthesis: A total of 11 studies were included in this review. In total, 8 studies provided data for the CAI and CON comparison, 7 for CAI and COP comparisons, and 4 for COP and CON comparisons. Methodological quality scores ranged from 60.0% to 86.7%, with 2 high-, and 9 moderate-quality studies. Overall, the evidence suggests that physically active individuals with CAI report higher levels of injury-related fear when compared with both COP and CON. Although limited, ankle sprain COP do not seem to differ from CON. Conclusion: Available evidence emphasizes the importance of injury-related fear in individuals who develop chronicity after ankle sprain injury. The Fear-Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire and Tampa Scale of Kinesiophobia are useful for the identification of injury-related fear in individuals after sustaining an ankle sprain and should be used to inform rehabilitation strategies and to monitor efficacy in fear reduction.

The authors are with the School of Rehabilitation Sciences, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, USA.

Suttmiller (abraw002@odu.edu) is corresponding author.
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