The effects of stroboscopic balance training on cortical activities in athletes with chronic ankle instability

Phys Ther Sport. 2021 Jul;50:50-58. doi: 10.1016/j.ptsp.2021.03.014. Epub 2021 Apr 15.


Objectives: To investigate the effect of a 6-week stroboscopic balance training program on cortical activities in athletes with chronic ankle instability.

Design: Randomized controlled trial.

Setting: Single-center.

Participants: Thirty-nine participants were assigned to the strobe group (SG, n = 13), non-strobe group (NSG, n = 13), and control group (CG, n = 13).

Main outcome measures: Cortical activity and balance velocity were evaluated while the athletes were on the HUBER balance device. Electroencephalographic measurements of cortical activity were made at the transition from bipedal stance to single-leg stance.

Results: The SG showed significant increases in Cz theta and alpha values and COP-v (center of pressure velocity) between pretest and posttest (p < 0.001, p = 0.003, p < 0.001). Posttest Cz theta was significantly higher in the SG compared to the CG (p = 0.009) and posttest Cz alpha was significantly higher in the SG compared to the NSG (p = 0.039) and CG (p = 0.001). Posttest COP-v was significantly higher in the SG than in the CG (p = 0.031) and NSG (p = 0.03).

Conclusions: Stroboscopic training may be clinically beneficial to improve balance parameters in athletes with CAI, and may have utility in sport-specific activity phases of rehabilitation to reduce visual input and increase motor control.

Keywords: Ankle sprains; Balance; Electroencephalography; Visual perception.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Ankle Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Ankle Joint / physiopathology
  • Athletes
  • Cerebral Cortex
  • Chronic Disease / rehabilitation
  • Electroencephalography / methods
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joint Instability / rehabilitation*
  • Male
  • Postural Balance*
  • Visual Perception
  • Young Adult