Does a not-so-recent ankle sprain influence interjoint coordination during walking?

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Abstract

Background:

Ankle sprains are common joint injuries in daily and sports activities, whose underlying mechanisms have been amply studied. If joint structures are directly damaged, neuromuscular activity can be affected, particularly in the time domain.

Background:

This study aims to establish whether previous ankle injury correlates with changes in the inter-joint synergy of the entire lower limb and in the muscle activity pattern during walking.

Methods:

Three-dimensional walking-gait analysis was conducted on twenty-four adults. Ten of them had never suffered from ankle sprain; fourteen had suffered from ankle sprain at least once during the three preceding years.

Methods:

Continuous Relative Phase (CRP) between the moving limbs assessed inter-joint coordination, and muscular activity was recorded by EMG.

Findings:

CRP between ankle and knee and between ankle and hip indicates that both joints moved in tight synchronization in the same direction on the injured side, whereas there was a time lag between joints on the healthy side for each sprained participants or on both side for the control group.

Findings:

Start-time and/or duration of muscular activity of tibialis anterior, soleus and peroneus longus occurred earlier and were longer on the injured side, respectively.

Interpretation:

Our findings suggest that ankle sprain modifies inter-joint coordination and muscular activity of the injured limb, inducing not an entirely new pattern of coordination but an alteration of the existing pattern. CRP revealed slight modifications in the extant inter-joint coordination which may not be captured by other kinematic variables, which opens perspectives on therapy and relapse prevention.

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