Late stage ROM deficits in ankle sprain rehabilitation

Have athletes in the end stages of rehabilitation after ankle sprain recovered their ROM?

Athletes starting on-field rehabilitation had ROM deficits in all four directions, with effect sizes ranging from trivial (for eversion) to large (for plantar flexion) in comparison with the non-injured leg.

These findings show that plantar flexion deficits should also be addressed when managing ankle sprains.

The newly-developed device for the measurement of weightbearing ankle range of motion (ROM) had clinically useful reliability.

Differences between the injured and non-injured leg were found in all four directions, with varying effect sizes: large (0.80) for plantar flexion, medium for dorsiflexion (0.57), small for inversion (0.36), and trivial for eversion (0.15).

This measurement method showed that athletes at late-stage rehabilitation still have significant deficits in ankle ROM.

> From: Abassi et al., Phys Ther Sport 38 (2019) 30-35 (Epub ahead of print). All rights reserved to Elsevier Ltd. Click here for the online summary.

Expert opinion by José Pedro Correia

Given the late stage at which these measurements were performed in an athletic population, it is surprising to still see ROM deficits at the point of starting on-field rehabilitation - and even more so to see that plantar flexion was the most affected movement, since more attention is usually paid to dorsiflexion deficits (given their functional repercussions).

Nevertheless, this study shows that athletes in the final stages of ankle sprain rehabilitation may be less ready than previously determined by other ankle ROM measurement methods.

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