Background It is important for clinicians to find a simple yet effective rehabilitation method to improve balance in patients suffering with chronic ankle instability (CAI). A wobble board program may be a useful intervention to improve dynamic balance. The Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT) is a dynamic measure of balance and is sensitive to improvements in balance following rehabilitation.
Objective To determine if SEBT-posteromedial reach direction improved in Division I athletes with CAI following a four-week wobble board rehabilitation program.
Design Randomised-controlled trial.
Setting Athletic Training room.
Patients Eighteen patients with CAI were included; rehabilitation group: (n = 9, height = 174.76 ± 8.60 cm, body mass = 73.51 ± 6.89 kg, age = 20 ± 1 years); control group: (n = 9, height = 174.00 ± 6.88 cm, mass = 62.78 ± 5.15 kg, age = 20 ± 1 years).
Interventions The rehabilitation group completed the protocol three days a week for four weeks. Each session consisted of five 40 s sets of clockwise/counter-clockwise rotations changing directions every 10 s. Progressions were made as needed. The control group continued with normal activities.
Main outcome measurements The dependent variable was SEBT-posteromedial reach distance score (three trials averaged/normalised to leg length). Means ± standard deviations were calculated. A 2 × 2 repeated-measures ANOVA analysed changes in the dependent variable. Tukey Honest Significant Difference was used for post hoc comparisons to explain a significant interaction. Alpha level was set a priori (p = 0.05).
Results Means ± standard deviations for rehabilitation group: pre-test = 0.93 ± 0.08 and post-test = 1.02 ± 0.11. Means ± standard deviations for control group: pre-test = 0.99 ± 0.17 and post-test = 0.97 ± 0.15. We observed a significant interaction between test (pre/post) and group (rehabilitation/control) (p = 0.005). Post hoc analysis revealed a statistically significant difference between pre- and post-tests of rehabilitation group (p < 0.01), but not of control group (p > 0.05).
Conclusions A four-week wobble board rehabilitation program improved dynamic balance as measured by the SEBT-posteromedial reach direction scores in Division I collegiate athletes suffering with CAI.