The contributions of proprioceptive deficits, muscle function, and anatomic laxity to functional instability of the ankle

J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1995 Apr;21(4):206-15. doi: 10.2519/jospt.1995.21.4.206.


Functional instability is a common complication following an acute ankle sprain. Three potential contributing factors underlying the ankle which chronically gives way are proprioceptive deficits, muscle weakness, and ligamentous laxity. This study's purpose was to document the presence or absence of these concerns in a sample of subjects with unilateral functional ankle instability. Both ankles of 42 subjects were randomly assessed for passive movement sense into inversion and generation of peak torque by the evertors isokinetically. Thirty-four subjects were available for documentation of talar tilt of both ankles through inversion stress radiographs. Analysis found significantly greater mean values for passive movement sense and talar tilt for the involved ankles compared with the uninvolved, while no significant strength differences in peak torque of the evertors were present. Fifty-eight percent of the sample demonstrated clinical impairments in at least one of these three categories. In conclusion, deficits in passive movement sense and anatomic stability are greater concerns than strength deficits when managing the ankle with functional instability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Ankle Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joint Instability / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology*
  • Proprioception*