This simple test can help predict your risk for an ankle sprain
- By Elizabeth Quinn, About.com Guide
- Updated March 07, 2013
- About.com Health’s Disease and Condition content is reviewed by the Medical Review Board
An ankle sprain is one of the most common sports injuries for athletes who play field or court sports. In fact, according to one of the largest descriptive epidemiological studies of ankle sprain in the United States, the majority of sports ankle sprains occur during basketball, with football, soccer and running following far behind.
Researchers found that a simple, inexpensive screening tool can predict which athletes may be more likely to have an ankle injury and developed a simple training routine to help reduce that risk.
The study found that athletes who were unable to complete a simple single-leg balance exercise were two-and-a-half times more likely to have an ankle sprain during the subsequent season than those who could complete the test.
In this study, 230 college and high school athletes who participated in football, soccer and volleyball were screened during their sports physicals using the Single-leg balance test.
The Single-Leg Balance Test
The single-leg balance test required that the athletes close their eyes for ten seconds while standing barefoot on one foot, keeping the other knee bent and not touching the weight-bearing leg. The test was considered “positive” if the athlete was unable to perform the test on either one or both legs.
The participants were followed through the sports season to record any incidence of ankle sprains during sports participation. Over a 14-week season, these 230 athletes reported 28 ankle sprains. The study results indicated that athletes with a positive single-leg balance test result were significantly more likely to be among those reporting an ankle sprain.
The researchers concluded that although the single-leg balance test served as a predictor of ankle injury, the exact mechanism responsible for this increased risk of injury remains unknown.
- T H Trojian, D B McKeag. Single leg balance test to identify risk of ankle sprains. Br J Sports Med 2006; 40:610-613 Published Online 10 May 2006
- Waterman B, et al. Incidence of ankle sprain the United States. AAOS 2010 Annual Meeting; Abstract 715.[http://www2.aaos.org/aaos/archives/education/anmeet/anmt2010/podium/715.htm]
Consider hosting an “ankle screening” night, where you test your clients using the simple test above. Then – set a follow-up test date after 3 months or (better) 6 months of regular willPower and other foot fitness activities. Please be sure to share your findings with us. We highly encourage willPower ATHLETIX® instructors to screen all athletes prior to beginning a willPower program. Be sure to set a date for re-assessment once your athletes have engaged in the willPower program for 6-8 weeks.