We do not know the impact an ankle sprain has on physical activity levels across the lifespan. With the negative consequences of physical inactivity well established, understanding the effect of an ankle sprain on this outcome is critical. The objective of this study was to measure physical activity across the lifespan after a single ankle sprain in an animal model. Thirty male mice (CBA/J) were randomly placed into one of three groups: the transected calcaneofibular ligament (CFL) group, the transected anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL)/CFL group, and a SHAM group. Three days after surgery, all of the mice were individually housed in a cage containing a solid surface running wheel. Physical activity levels were recorded and averaged every week across the mouse's lifespan. The SHAM mice ran significantly more distance each day compared to the remaining two running groups (post hoc p = 0.011). Daily duration was different between the three running groups (p = 0.048). The SHAM mice ran significantly more minutes each day compared to the remaining two running groups (post hoc p=0.046) while the ATFL/CFL mice ran significantly less minutes each day (post hoc p = 0.028) compared to both the SHAM and CFL only group. The SHAM mice ran at a faster daily speed versus the remaining two groups of mice (post hoc p = 0.019) and the ATFL/CFL mice ran significantly slower each day compared to the SHAM and CFL group (post hoc p = 0.005). The results of this study indicate that a single ankle sprain significantly decreases physical activity across the lifespan in mice. This decrease in physical activity can potentially lead to the development of numerous chronic diseases. An ankle sprain thus has the potential to lead to significant long term health risks if not treated appropriately. Key pointsA single ankle significantly decreased physical activity levels in mice across the lifespan.Decreased physical activity could significantly negatively impact overall health if not modified.Initial treatment and rehabilitation of ankle sprains needs to be studied to determine ways to keep physical activity levels up after injury.
Keywords: Ankle injury; exercise; mice; physical activity.