Intrinsic risk factors for inversion ankle sprains in male subjects: a prospective study

Am J Sports Med. 2005 Mar;33(3):415-23. doi: 10.1177/0363546504268137.


Background: Many variables have been retrospectively associated with ankle sprains. However, very little is known about factors predisposing people to these injuries.

Hypothesis: Measurable intrinsic factors might predispose male athletes to ankle sprains.

Study design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 2.

Methods: A total of 241 male physical education students were evaluated for possible intrinsic risk factors for inversion sprains at the beginning of their academic study. The evaluated intrinsic risk factors included anthropometrical characteristics, functional motor performances, ankle joint position sense, isokinetic ankle muscle strength, lower leg alignment characteristics, postural control, and muscle reaction time during a sudden inversion perturbation. Subjects were followed prospectively for 1 to 3 years.

Results: A total of 44 (18%) of the 241 male subjects sustained an inversion sprain; 4 sprained both ankles. Cox regression analysis revealed that male subjects with slower running speed, less cardiorespiratory endurance, less balance, decreased dorsiflexion muscle strength, decreased dorsiflexion range of motion, less coordination, and faster reaction of the tibialis anterior and gastrocnemius muscles are at greater risk of ankle sprains.

Conclusion: Based on our findings, it is suggested that running speed, cardiorespiratory endurance, balance, dorsiflexion strength, coordination, muscle reaction, and dorsiflexion range of motion at the ankle are associated with the risk of ankle inversion sprains in male subjects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Ankle Injuries / etiology*
  • Anthropometry
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Endurance
  • Postural Balance
  • Prospective Studies
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Risk Factors
  • Running / injuries
  • Sex Factors
  • Sprains and Strains / etiology*