Do Foot Impairments Contribute to Functional Limitation in Individuals with LAS & CAI?

Research Paper Title

Foot impairments contribute to functional limitation in individuals with ankle sprain and chronic ankle instability.


To investigate the clinical measures of foot posture and morphology, multisegmented joint motion and play, strength, and dynamic balance in recreationally active young adults with and without a history of a lateral ankle sprain (LAS), copers, and chronic ankle instability (CAI).


Eighty recreationally active individuals (healthy: n = 22, coper: n = 21, LAS: n = 17, CAI: n = 20) were included. Foot posture index (FPI), morphologic measures, joint motion (weight-bearing dorsiflexion (WBDF), rearfoot dorsiflexion, plantar flexion, inversion, eversion; forefoot inversion, eversion; hallux flexion, extension), joint play (proximal and distal tibiofibular; talocrural and subtalar, forefoot; 1st tarsometatarsal and metatarsophalangeal), strength (dorsiflexion, plantar flexion, inversion, eversion, hallux flexion, lesser toe flexion), and Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT) (anterior, posteromedial, posterolateral) were assessed. Level of evidence is II.


There were no group differences in FPI or morphological measures. LAS and CAI groups had decreased ankle dorsiflexion (p = 0.001) and greater frontal plane motion (p < 0.001), first MT plantar flexion, and sagittal excursion (p < 0.001); increased talocrural glide (p = 0.02) and internal rotation (p < 0.001) and decreased forefoot inversion joint play (p < 0.001); and decreased strength in all measures (p < 0.001) except dorsiflexion compared to healthy controls. The LAS group also demonstrated decreased distal tibiofibular (p = 0.04) and forefoot general laxity (p = 0.05) and SEBT performance (anterior: p = 0.02; posteromedial: p < 0.001; posterolateral: p < 0.001).


Individuals with LAS or CAI have increased pain, impaired physiologic and accessory joint motion, ligamentous tenderness, and strength in the foot and ankle. Clinicians should assess the multiple segments of the ankle-foot complex when caring for individuals with an LAS or CAI.


Fraser, J.J., Koldenhoven, R.M., Jaffri, A.H., Park, J.S., Saliba, S.F., Hart, J.M. & Hertel, J. (2018) Foot impairments contribute to functional limitation in individuals with ankle sprain and chronic ankle instability. Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy: Official Journal of the ESSKA. doi: 10.1007/s00167-018-5028-x. [Epub ahead of print].


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