Joint mobilization improves spatiotemporal postural control and range of motion in those with chronic ankle instability

J Orthop Res. 2011 Mar;29(3):326-32. doi: 10.1002/jor.21256. Epub 2010 Sep 30.


The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a single joint mobilization treatment on dorsiflexion range of motion (DF ROM), posterior talar glide, and dynamic and static postural control in individuals with self-reported chronic ankle instability (CAI). In this randomized cross-over study, subjects received a Maitland Grade III anterior-to-posterior joint mobilization treatment and a control treatment of rest for 5 min. Weight-bearing DF ROM, instrumented posterior talar displacement and posterior stiffness, the anterior, posteromedial, and posterolateral reach directions of the Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT), and time-to-boundary (TTB) single-limb stance static postural control were assessed on both treatment days in 9 males and 11 females with CAI. The results indicated that the joint mobilization treatment was associated with significantly greater DF ROM (p = 0.01) and TTB in the anterior-posterior direction with eyes-open (p < 0.05). Although not significant, trends were identified in posterior talar displacement (p = 0.08) and the mean of TTB in the medial-lateral (ML) direction (p = 0.07). No significant differences were observed in the standard deviation of TTB in the ML direction, the SEBT, or posterior stiffness (p > 0.05). This indicates that a single joint mobilization treatment has mechanical and functional benefits for addressing impairments in sensorimotor function and arthrokinematic restrictions commonly experienced by individuals with CAI.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ankle Joint / physiology*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joint Instability / physiopathology*
  • Joint Instability / therapy*
  • Male
  • Musculoskeletal Manipulations / methods*
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Postural Balance / physiology
  • Posture / physiology
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult