Stabilometry in functional instability of the ankle and its value in predicting injury

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Stabilometry is an objective method used for studying postural equilibrium quantitatively. Stabilometric recordings were made in 127 soccer players to demonstrate functional instability of the ankle joint. The presence of previous ankle joint injuries, i.e., sprains or fractures, was documented. Reference values for stabilometry were obtained from a group of 30 normally-active non-soccer players without a history of injury to the ankle joint. A pathological stabilometric value was defined as one exceeding the mean value of the reference group by 2 SD. In players with a history of previous ankle joint injury to the ankle joint injury no increased postural sway was found. On the other hand, players showing abnormal stabilometric values ran a significantly (P < 0.001) higher risk of sustaining an ankle injury during the following season compared to players with normal values. Players with a history of previous ankle joint injury did not run a higher risk compared to players without previous injury. The findings indicate that an ankle joint injury did not result in a persistent functional instability; however, such instability did increase the risk of ankle joint injury.

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