The effect of supervised rehabilitation on strength, postural sway, position sense and re-injury risk after acute ankle ligament sprain

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 1999 Apr;9(2):104-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.1999.tb00217.x.


The effect of an early rehabilitation program, including postural training, on ankle joint function after an ankle ligament sprain was investigated prospectively. Ninety-two subjects, matched for age, sex, and level of sports activity, were randomized to a control or training group. All subject received the same standard information regarding early ankle mobilization. In addition, the training group participated in supervised physical therapy rehabilitation (1 h, twice weekly) with emphasis on balance training. Postural sway, position sense and isometric ankle strength were measured 6 weeks and 4 months after the injury, and at 12 months re-injury data were obtained. In the training group, there was a significant difference between the injured and uninjured side for plantar flexion (P < 0.01), eversion (P < 0.01) and inversion (P < 0.05), but not for dorsiflexion at 6 weeks. In the control group, there was a significant difference between the injured and uninjured side for plantar flexion (P < 0.01), eversion (P < 0.01), inversion (P < 0.01), and dorsiflexion (P < 0.05) at 6 weeks. Postural sway, but not position sense, differed between the injured and uninjured side in both groups (P < 0.01) at 6 weeks. The side-to-side percent differences were similar in both groups for all variables (P > 0.05) at 6 weeks, and there were no side-to-side differences at 4 months in either group. In the control group, 11/38 (29%) suffered a re-injury, while this number was only 2/29 (7%) in the training group (P < 0.05). These data showed that an ankle injury resulted in reduced ankle strength and postural control at 6 weeks, but that these variables had normalized at 4 months, independent of the supervised rehabilitation. However, the findings also demonstrated that supervised rehabilitation may reduce the number of re-injuries, and therefore may play a role in injury prevention.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ankle Injuries / physiopathology
  • Ankle Injuries / prevention & control
  • Ankle Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Ankle Joint / physiopathology*
  • Athletic Injuries / physiopathology
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control
  • Athletic Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction / physiology*
  • Ligaments, Articular / injuries*
  • Ligaments, Articular / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Postural Balance / physiology
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Proprioception / physiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sprains and Strains / physiopathology
  • Sprains and Strains / prevention & control
  • Sprains and Strains / rehabilitation*