Study design: Experimental laboratory testing using a cross-sectional design.
Objectives: To determine if functional performance deficits are present in individuals with functional ankle instability (FAI) in 4 single-limb hopping tests, including figure-of-8 hop, side hop, 6-meter crossover hop, and square hop.
Background: Conflicting results exist regarding the presence of functional deficits in individuals with FAI. It is important to evaluate whether functional performance deficits are present in this population, as well as if subjective feelings of giving way can assist in identifying these deficits.
Methods: Sixty college students volunteered for this study. Thirty participants with unilateral ankle instability were placed in the FAI group and 30 participants with no history of ankle injuries were placed in the control group. The FAI group was subsequently further divided to indicate those that reported giving way during the functional test (FAI-GW) and those that did not (FAI-NGW). Time to complete each test was recorded and the mean of 3 trials for each test were used for statistical analysis. To identify performance differences, we used 4 mixed-design 2-way (side-by-group) ANOVAs, 1 for each hop test. A Tukey post hoc test was completed on all significant findings.
Results: We identified a significant side-by-group interaction for all 4 functional performance tests (P<.05). Specifically, for each functional performance test, the FAI limb performed significantly worse than the contralateral uninjured limb in the FAI-GW group. Additionally, the FAI limb in the FAI-GW group performed worse than the FAI limb in the FAI-NGW group, and the matched limb in the control group in 3 of the 4 functional performance tests.
Conclusion: We found that functional performance deficits were present in participants with FAI who also experienced instability during the test. This difference was identified when comparing the FAI limb to the contralateral uninjured limb as well as control participants. However, the performance deficits identified in this study were relatively small. Future research in this area is needed to further evaluate the clinical meaningfulness of these findings. Finally, we found that limb dominance did not affect performance.