Objective: To determine if ankle muscular strength, flexibility and proprioception can predict ankle injury in college basketball players and to compare ankle injury rates in female and male players.
Design and setting: In this prospective, correlational study, subjects were tested at the start of the competitive season for ankle joint muscle strength, flexibility, and proprioception. The first ankle injury for each subject was recorded on an injury report form, and the data were analyzed to determine if any of these preseason measurements predicted future injury. The setting was a competitive 9-week season for four women's and four men's college basketball teams.
Subjects: A convenience sample of 31 female and 11 male college basketball players.
Measurements: Subjects were tested for ankle dorsiflexion range of motion, various measures of ankle proprioception, and isokinetic peak torque of ankle dorsiflexion-plantar flexion and eversion-inversion at 30 degrees /sec and 180 degrees /sec before the start of the conference basketball seasons. Data were analyzed using a series of multiple regression equations to determine the variance in ankle injury attributed to each variable.
Results: Various measures of proprioception predicted left ankle injury in all subjects (p < .05), while ankle strength and flexibility measures failed to account for additional variance. There was no statistically significant difference in ankle injury rate between women and men.
Conclusions: Ankle joint proprioceptive deficits can be used to predict ankle injury, but further research is needed to identify other sources of variance. In our study, ankle injury rate was similar in female and male college basketball players.