Ankle Sprains’ Risk Factors in a Sample of French Firefighters: A Preliminary Prospective Study

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Context: Firefighters participating in mandatory physical exercise sessions are exposed to a high risk of ankle sprain injury. Although both physiological and psychological risk factors have been identified, few prospective studies considered the complex interaction of these factors in firefighters. Objective: To prospectively determine whether intrinsic physical risk factors and work-related environments predict ankle sprains occurring during on-duty physical exercise in firefighters during an 8-month follow-up period. Design: Prospective. Setting: Fire Department and Rescue Service. Participants: Thirty-nine firefighters were selected based on convenience sampling. Intervention: Participants performed physical tests and completed questionnaires. Main Outcome Measures: Lower Quarter Y-Balance Test, Weight-Bearing Lunge Test, anthropometric measures, postural stability, chronic ankle instability (Cumberland Ankle Instability Tool) scores, previous injuries, and perceived psychosocial work environment (Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire [COPSOQ]). Results: During the follow-up, 9 firefighters sustained an injury. Lower Quarter Y-Balance Test and Weight-Bearing Lunge Test performances, Cumberland Ankle Instability Tool scores, history of previous ankle sprain, and specific dimensions of the COPSOQ significantly differed between injured and uninjured firefighters. Lower-limbs asymmetries of the Lower Quarter Y-Balance Test (ie, anterior, posteromedial, and posterolateral directions) and the Weight-Bearing Lunge Test were predictors of ankle sprains. Conclusions: These findings originally provide evidence that intrinsic factors mainly contribute to ankle sprains, although psychosocial work environment assessment could also characterize firefighters at risk.

Vaulerin, Chorin, Emile, d’Arripe-Longueville, and Colson are with the Université Côte d’Azur, LAMHESS, Nice, France. Chorin is also with Université Côte d’Azur, CHU, Nice, France. Colson is also with Laboratoire Motricité Humaine Expertise Sport Santé (EA 6312), Faculté des Sciences du Sport, Université Côte d’Azur, Nice, France.

Colson (serge.colson@unice.fr) is corresponding author.
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