Military personnel with self-reported ankle injuries do not demonstrate deficits in dynamic postural stability or landing kinematics

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Abstract

Background

The odds of sustaining non-contact musculoskeletal injuries are higher in Special Operations Forces operators than in infantry soldiers. The ankle is one of the most commonly injured joints, and once injured can put individuals at risk for reinjury. The purpose of this study was to determine if any differences in postural stability and landing kinematics exist between operators with a self-reported ankle injury in the past one year and uninjured controls.

Methods

A total of 55 Special Operations Forces operators were included in this analysis. Comparisons were made between operators with a self-reported ankle injury within one-year of their test date (n = 11) and healthy matched controls (n = 44). Comparisons were also made between injured and uninjured limbs within the injured group. Dynamic postural stability and landing kinematics at the ankle, knee, and hip were assessed during a single-leg jump-landing task. Comparisons were made between groups with independent t-tests and within the injured group between limbs using paired t-tests.

Findings

There were no significant differences in dynamic postural stability index or landing kinematics between the injured and uninjured groups. Anterior-posterior stability index was significantly higher on the uninjured limb compared to the injured limb within the injured group (P = 0.02).

Interpretation

Single ankle injuries sustained by operators may not lead to deficits in dynamic postural stability. Dynamic postural stability index and landing kinematics within one year after injury were either not affected by the injuries reported, or injured operators were trained back to baseline measures through rehabilitation and daily activity.

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