Study design: This is a prospective observational study.
Objective: To determine the relationship of self-reported and clinical measures to the number of days to return to sport following acute lateral ankle sprains.
Background: In order to direct rehabilitation, injury classification schemes should include self-reported and clinical measures that help prognosticate the number of days to return to sport (DAYS).
Methods and measures: Twenty Division II college athletes (7 men, 13 women; mean age = 19.2 +/- 1.1 years) were assessed following an acute lateral ankle sprain and upon return to sport. Athletes were assessed by three self-reported measures: global function question, Short Form-36 Physical Function scale (SF36PF), visual analog pain scale, and four clinical measures: ankle active range of motion (AROM), ankle dorsiflexion strength, ankle plantar flexion strength, ambulation status. Simple regression, multiple regression, and effect sizes (ES) were used to analyze these data.
Results: The simple regression revealed a statistically significant relationship between DAYS and the global function question (r2 = .22), the SF36PF (r2 = .28), and the patient's ambulation status (r2 = .27). A multiple regression using these three variables in combination was also statistically significant (P = .015) and explained approximately one-third of the variance in DAYS, (r2 = .37). All dependent variables revealed large or moderate ES.
Conclusion: Self-reported functional measures in conjunction with the athlete's ambulation status are important factors in predicting the number of days to return to sport following acute lateral ankle sprains. Further research using large sample sizes and other clinical and functional measures is necessary.