Year of Publication

2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Dissertation

College

Health Sciences

Department

Rehabilitation Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Patrick O. McKeon

Second Advisor

Dr. Richard D. Andreatta

Abstract

Ankle sprains are among the most common injuries sustained by physically active individuals. Although ankle sprains are often considered innocuous in nature, a large percentage of individuals experience repetitive sprains, residual symptoms, and recurrent ankle instability following a single acute sprain; otherwise known as chronic ankle instability (CAI). In addition to repetitive ankle trauma, those with CAI experience reductions in functional capacity over the life span. This indicates that current intervention strategies for CAI are inadequate and require further investigation.

The objective of this dissertation was to explore differences in walking and running gait parameters between individuals with and without CAI; as well as, examine the effects of a 2-week Maitland Grade III anterior-to-posterior talocrural joint mobilization intervention on self-reported function, ankle mechanics, postural control, and walking and running gait parameters in a cohort of individuals with CAI. It was hypothesized that individuals with CAI would exhibit different gait kinematics and joint coupling variability patterns compared to healthy individuals and the joint mobilization intervention would improve patient-oriented, clinician-oriented, and laboratory-oriented measures of function in those with CAI.

Several observations were made from the results. In the first study, alterations in single joint kinematics and joint coupling variability were found between those with CAI and healthy individuals. In the second study, it was determined that the joint mobilization intervention improved patient-oriented and clinician-oriented measures of function as indicated by improved Foot and Ankle Ability Measure scores, increased weight-bearing dorsiflexion range of motion, and increased reach distances on the Star Excursion Balance Test. However, there were no changes in measures of instrumented ankle arthrometry or laboratory measures of postural control. In the third study, there were no changes in single joint kinematics or joint coupling variability during walking and running associated with the joint mobilization intervention. It can be concluded that joint mobilizations had a significant positive impact on patient-, and clinician-oriented measures of function. Though the laboratory measures did not detect any improvements, joint mobilizations did not produce deleterious effects on function. Therefore, future investigation on the effects of joint mobilization in conjunction with other, more active, rehabilitation strategies is warranted.

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