Balance and Joint Stability: The Relative Contributions of Proprioception and Muscular Strength

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Objectives:

To determine whether proprioception or muscular strength is the dominant factor in balance and joint stability and define what type of ankle rehabilitation is most effective for these purposes.

Setting:

The University of North Carolina Sports Medicine Research Laboratory.

Subjects:

Thirty-two healthy volunteers free of head injury, dominant leg injury, and vestibular deficits.

Design:

Subjects were divided into control, strength-training, proprioceptive-training, and strength-proprioception combination training groups. Balance was assessed before and after 6-week training programs.

Measurements:

Static, semidynamic, and dynamic balance were assessed.

Results:

Subjects showed no improvement for static balance but improved significantly for semidynamic (P = .038) and dynamic (P = .002) balance. No significant differences were observed between groups.

Conclusions:

Enhancement of proprioception and muscular strength are equally effective in promoting joint stability and balance maintenance. In addition, no 1 type of training program is superior to another for these purposes.

The authors are with the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599. Blackburn is a doctoral Student in Human Movement Science, School of Medicine, Division of Allied Health. At the time of data collection, he was a student in the undergraduate athletic training program at the university. Guskiewicz, Petschauer, and Prentice are with the Department of Exercise and Sport Science, and Guskiewicz is also the director of the Sports Medicine Research Laboratory.