Share this article on:

Joint Mobilization Acutely Improves Landing Kinematics in Chronic Ankle Instability

DELAHUNT, EAMONN; CUSACK, KIM; WILSON, LAURA; DOHERTY, CAILBHE

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: March 2013 - Volume 45 - Issue 3 - p 514–519
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3182746d0a
Applied Sciences

Purpose: The objective of this study is to examine the acute effect of ankle joint mobilizations akin to those performed in everyday clinical practice on sagittal plane ankle joint kinematics during a single-leg drop landing in participants with chronic ankle instability (CAI).

Methods: Fifteen participants with self-reported CAI (defined as <24 on the Cumberland Ankle Instability Tool) performed three single-leg drop landings under two different conditions: 1) premobilization and, 2) immediately, postmobilization. The mobilizations performed included Mulligan talocrural joint dorsiflexion mobilization with movement, Mulligan inferior tibiofibular joint mobilization, and Maitland anteroposterior talocrural joint mobilization. Three CODA cx1 units (Charnwood Dynamics Ltd., Leicestershire, UK) were used to provide information on ankle joint sagittal plane angular displacement. The dependent variable under investigation was the angle of ankle joint plantarflexion at the point of initial contact during the drop landing.

Results: There was a statistically significant acute decrease in the angle of ankle joint plantarflexion from premobilization (34.89° ± 4.18°) to postmobilization (31.90° ± 5.89°), t(14) = 2.62, P < 0.05 (two-tailed). The mean decrease in the angle of ankle joint plantarflexion as a result of the ankle joint mobilization was 2.98° with a 95% confidence interval ranging from 0.54 to 5.43. The eta squared statistic (0.32) indicated a large effect size.

Conclusion: These results indicate that mobilization acted to acutely reduce the angle of ankle joint plantarflexion at initial contact during a single-leg drop landing. Mobilization applied to participants with CAI has a mechanical effect on the ankle joint, thus facilitating a more favorable positioning of the ankle joint when landing from a jump.

1School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Population Science, University College Dublin, Dublin, IRELAND; and 2Institute for Sport and Health, University College Dublin, Dublin, IRELAND

Address for correspondence: Eamonn Delahunt, Ph.D., School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Population Science, University College Dublin, Health Sciences Center, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland; E-mail: eamonn.delahunt@ucd.ie.

Submitted for publication April 2012.

Accepted for publication September 2012.

© 2013 American College of Sports Medicine