The Effect Of Short-Term Ankle Immobilization On Joint Stiffness And Nervous System Function

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Alyssa M. Stirling (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Alan Needle

Abstract: Ankle sprains are the most common musculoskeletal injury observed in the physically active, with high rates of recurrence tied to neuromechanical alterations. While immobilization is often the treatment of initial ankle sprains, debate remains regarding its effects. Previous research has identified alterations in corticospinal excitability following upper extremity immobilization; however it remains unknown how immobilization affects neuromechanical function at the ankle. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine the effects of short-term immobilization on stiffness and reflexive and cortical excitability of the ankle joint. Twelve able-bodied volunteers (22.5±1.4yrs,173.05±17.5cm,71.6±12.7kg) walked on a treadmill for 30 minutes while wearing either an ankle immobilizer, pneumatic leg brace, or barefoot. Joint stiffness, cortical & reflexive excitability were evaluated via ankle arthrometry(maximum anterior/posterior displacement, total inversion), transcranial magnetic stimulation (motor evoked potential at 90,110,150% of active motor threshold), and the Hoffman reflex (Hmax:Mmax Ratio), before and after walking. Findings revealed no significant change in cortical or reflexive excitability across time, conditions, and muscles. These results support the hypothesis that short-term immobilization allows for the joint to be protected from loading while possibly presenting alterations in corticospinal excitability. Further research is needed to examine how longer bouts of immobilization effect cortical and reflexive excitability.

Additional Information

Stirling, A. (2016). The Effect Of Short-Term Ankle Immobilization On Joint Stiffness And Nervous System Function. Unpublished Master’s Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2016
Excitability, immobilization, ankle

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