Dynamic Balance Deficits 6 Months Following First-Time Acute Lateral Ankle Sprain: A Laboratory Analysis

J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2015 Aug;45(8):626-33. doi: 10.2519/jospt.2015.5653. Epub 2015 Jun 24.


Study design: Controlled laboratory study.

Objective: To utilize kinematic and stabilometric measures to compare dynamic balance during performance of the Star Excursion Balance Test between persons 6 months following first-time lateral ankle sprain (LAS) and a noninjured control group.

Background: Biomechanical evaluation of dynamic balance in persons following first-time LAS during performance of the Star Excursion Balance Test could provide insight into the mechanisms by which individuals proceed to recover fully or develop chronic ankle instability.

Methods: Sagittal plane kinematics of the lower extremity and the center-of-pressure path during the performance of the anterior, posterolateral, and posteromedial reach directions of the Star Excursion Balance Test were obtained from 69 participants 6 months following first-time acute LAS and from a control group of 20 noninjured participants.

Results: Compared to the control group, the LAS group displayed lower normalized reach distances in all 3 reach directions on the injured and noninjured limbs, with the largest observed effect size in the posterolateral direction (P = .001, ηp(2) = 0.07). The performance impairment was associated with less hip and knee flexion and ankle dorsiflexion at the point of maximum reach (P<.02), and coincided with less complexity of the center-of-pressure path (P<.05).

Conclusion: Participants with a 6-month history of LAS exhibit a persistence of deficits previously established in the acute phase of injury.

Keywords: ankle joint; biomechanical phenomena; kinematics; kinetics; postural balance.

Publication types

  • Clinical Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ankle Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joint Instability / etiology
  • Lower Extremity / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Postural Balance*
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Recovery of Function
  • Self Report
  • Sprains and Strains / physiopathology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult