This study aimed to investigate whether measures of balance correlate with measures of ankle proprioception — ankle joint position sense and movement detection sense.Background
It is suggested that balance impairments following ankle sprains are the result of damage to the joint mechanoreceptors, which in turn, disrupts ankle proprioception. Evidence regarding the presence of balance and proprioceptive deficits in various groups of participants with a history of ankle sprain has been inconsistent; proprioception has been regarded as a significant factor in balance outcomes and the two are often used interchangeably in the literature. No study has investigated the correlation between the commonly used measures of balance and proprioception at the ankle joint.Methods and Measures
The study was a secondary analysis of existing data from two cross-sectional studies (n=80, female=54%, age (average ±standard deviation (SD)=31±10.4). Three measures of balance (star excursion balance test (%reach), response to perturbation (sec), and foot lifts during single-leg stance (no)) were correlated with two measures of proprioception (inversion/eversion movement detection sense and joint position sense (deg)). Correlations between each balance and proprioception test were calculated. The normal distribution of data was tested using Kolmogorove-Smirnova. For the normally distributed data, Pearson’s correlation coefficient was used and for the data without normal distribution, Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient was used.Results
There was no significant positive correlation (p>0.05) between any of the balance and proprioceptive measures. There was only a weak negative correlation between the movement detection sense test and number of foot lifts during single-leg stance (r=−0.30, p=0.008).Conclusion
This study found only one weak correlation between common measures of balance and ankle joint proprioception. This suggests that there is a need to re-evaluate our current understanding of the relationship between ankle sensorimotor assessments and rehabilitation.