Context: No researchers, to our knowledge, have investigated the immediate postinjury-movement strategies associated with acute first-time lateral ankle sprain (LAS) as quantified by center of pressure (COP) and kinematic analyses during performance of the Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT).
Objective: To analyze the kinematic and COP patterns of a group with acute first-time LAS and a noninjured control group during performance of the SEBT.
Design: Case-control study.
Setting: University biomechanics laboratory.
Patients or other participants: A total of 81 participants with acute first-time LAS (53 men, 28 women; age = 23.22 ± 4.93 years, height = 1.73 ± 0.09 m, mass = 75.72 ± 13.86 kg) and 19 noninjured controls (15 men, 4 women; age = 22.53 ± 1.68 years, height = 1.74 ± 0.08 m, mass = 71.55 ± 11.31 kg).
Intervention: Participants performed the anterior (ANT), posterolateral (PL), and posteromedial (PM) reach directions of the SEBT.
Main outcome measure(s): We assessed 3-dimensional kinematics of the lower extremity joints and associated fractal dimension (FD) of the COP path during performance of the SEBT.
Results: The LAS group had decreased normalized reach distances in the ANT, PL, and PM directions when compared with the control group on their injured (ANT: 58.16% ± 6.86% versus 64.86% ± 5.99%; PL: 85.64% ± 10.62% versus 101.14% ± 8.39%; PM: 94.89% ± 9.26% versus 107.29 ± 6.02%) and noninjured (ANT: 60.98% ± 6.74% versus 64.76% ± 5.02%; PL: 88.95% ± 11.45% versus 102.36% ± 8.53%; PM: 97.13% ± 8.76% versus 106.62% ± 5.78%) limbs (P < .01). This observation was associated with altered temporal sagittal-plane kinematic profiles throughout each reach attempt and at the point of maximum reach (P < .05). This result was associated with a reduced FD of the COP path for each reach direction on the injured limb only (P < .05).
Conclusions: Acute first-time LAS was associated with bilateral deficits in postural control, as evidenced by the bilateral reduction in angular displacement of the lower extremity joints and reduced reach distances and FD of the COP path on the injured limb during performance of the SEBT.
Keywords: ankle joint; biomechanics; kinematics; kinetics; postural balance.