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Exerc Sci > Volume 23(4); 2014 > Article
Exercise Science 2014;23(4): 287-296. doi: https://doi.org/10.15857/ksep.2014.23.4.287
Sensorimotor Deficits Associated with Chronic Ankle Instability
Texas State University
Sensorimotor Deficits Associated with Chronic Ankle Instability
Chronic ankle instability (CAI) is a common debilitating condition in sports medicine that contributes to dysfunction and disabilities. A significant portion of patients with ankle sprains develops CAI, resulting in recurrent injuries and an increased likelihood to develop a degenerative disease like ankle osteoarthritis. CAI may be due to either mechanical or functional insufficiencies, or both. The mechanical contributing factors are pathologic joint laxity, arthrokinematic restrictions, synovial inflammation and impingements, and degenerative changes. The functional insufficiencies include impairments in proprioception, alpha motoneuron pool excitability, reflex actions, strength, postural control, walking and running mechanics, and jumping and landing mechanics, which indicate alterations in the sensorimotor system. It may be intuitive that mechanical disruptions of the lateral ligaments in the ankle joint following an ankle sprain cause changes in joint mechanics, leading to the joint instability, but it is not clear how sensorimotor deficits arise from mechanical injury to the ankle. Recent evidence showed that deficits in postural control and alpha motoneuron recruitment might be more influential, however, each of the sensorimotor deficits play a role in CAI. Thus, the purpose of this review is to discuss the relevant literature surrounding chronic ankle instability with an emphasis on deficits in postural control and alpha motoneuron pool excitability, and to provide insight into rehabilitation for CAI patients suffering from sensorimotor dysfunction.
Key words: muscle activation, balance, ankle sprain
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