Rehabilitation strategies for lateral ankle sprain do not reflect established mechanisms of re-injury: A systematic review

Jente Wagemans, C M Bleakley, Jan Taeymans, Kevin Kuppens, Alexander Schurz, Heiner Baur, Dirk Vissers

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1 Citation (Scopus)
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1) determine the primary impairment addressed by each exercise included in exercise-based rehabilitation programs for patients with an acute ankle sprain; 2) Determine whether prescribed exercises incorporate complex tasks associated with ankle sprain injury mechanisms?
We searched databases CINAHL, Web of Science, SPORTDiscus, Cochrane Register of Controlled Trials, PEDro, Google Scholar for RCT’s including patients with acute ankle sprains, managed through exercise-based rehabilitation. Risk of bias was assessed by the Risk of Bias 2 tool. Exercises were analysed based on: the primary impairment(s) addressed; direction of movement; base of support; weightbearing status; flight phase. (PROSPERO: CRD42020210858)
We included fourteen RCT’s comprising 177 exercises. Neuromuscular function was addressed in 44% of exercises, followed by performance tasks (23%), and muscle strengthening (20%). Exercises were limited to movements across the sagittal plane (48%), with 31% incorporating multiplanar movements. Weight bearing exercises were almost divided equally between single-limb (59/122) and double leg stance exercises (61/122). Eighteen percent of all exercises incorporated a flight phase.
Rehabilitation after LAS comprises simple exercises in the sagittal plane that do not reflect mechanisms of re-injury. Future interventions should incorporate more open chain joint position sense training, multiplanar single limb challenges, and jumping and landing exercises.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-83
Number of pages9
JournalPhysical Therapy in Sport
Early online date23 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 31 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding: This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd


  • Ankle
  • Rehabilitation
  • Ankle injuries
  • Exercise


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