Athletes at late stage rehabilitation have persisting deficits in plantar- and dorsiflexion, and inversion (but not eversion) after ankle sprain

Phys Ther Sport. 2019 Jul;38:30-35. doi: 10.1016/j.ptsp.2019.04.015. Epub 2019 Apr 24.


Objectives: Document reliability and normative data for a novel device measuring weight-bearing ankle range of motion after ankle injury.

Design: Cross-sectional Cohort, two occasions one day apart.

Setting: Sports medicine hospital.

Participants: 87 ankle-injured male athletes at a late stage of their rehabilitation and 25 uninjured subjects. The injured athletes had met all criteria to return to functional, on-field rehabilitation.

Main outcome measures: Reliability (Intra-Class correlation Coefficient (ICC), and Minimum Detectable Change as a percent of the grand mean), weight-bearing range of motion (degrees) of dorsiflexion, plantarflexion, inversion, and eversion.

Results: Good (dorsiflexion = 0.82[0.76-0.87] and inversion = 0.81[0.75-0.86]) and excellent (plantarflexion = 0.93[0.90-0.95]) reliability was documented, however reliability for the eversion measure showed only fair reliability (0.61[0.49-0.70]). Reduced range of motion in the injured leg was seen in all 4 directions, however with different magnitudes: Large differences were plantarflexion (-8.5°, ES = 0.80), medium for dorsiflexion (-5.2°, 0.57), small for inversion (-4.8°, 0.36), and trivial for eversion (-1.7°, 0.15).

Conclusion: The device demonstrated clinically useful reliability for measuring these ranges of motion in a functional, weight-bearing position. PF ROM showed the greatest reduction in range in these athletes at a late stage of their rehabilitation.

Keywords: Flexibility; Injury; Intra-rater; Measurement; Reliability.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Ankle Injuries / physiopathology
  • Ankle Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Ankle Joint / physiopathology*
  • Athletes*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Weight-Bearing / physiology*
  • Young Adult