Background Ankle sprains account for a large majority of injuries in netball. As a result of the rules of the sport balance is believed to be an essential component game-related athletic performance. Balance allows players in shooting positions to remain stable and aim for goal but also allows all players to obstruct a pass, or shot at goal, by holding a stable defensive position whilst maintaining the ground distance rule.
Objective To determine the effect of a previous ankle sprain on the balance of netball players.
Design Cross-sectional study.
Setting Community spaces.
Participants Ninety-six female netball players. Participants were classified as uninjured, coper or CAI.
Intervention Participants performed the anterior, posterior-lateral and posterior-medial reach directions of the SEBT. Participants also performed single limb eyes-closed stance trials as well as trials of the demi-point balance test.
Main outcome measurements The dependent variables of interest were reach distances in the anterior, posterior-lateral and posterior-medial directions of the SEBT. Additionally the number of foot-lifts during 30 s of eyes-closed single limb stance was also assessed. The demi-pointe balance test was used to determine the ability of participants to stand unilaterally in a plantar flexed position for 5 s.
Results There were no differences in any balance test measures when comparing uninjured, coper and CAI netball players (p ≥ 0.05). Composite SEBT reach distance scores when normalised to leg length were 70.6 ± 6.3, 73.3 ± 7.4 and 70.9 ± 6.9 in the uninjured, coper and CAI groups, respectively. The number of foot-lifts during unilateral stance recorded in the uninjured, coper and CAI groups were 28.0 ± 11.4, 27.0 ± 10.4 and 30.3 ± 12.1, respectively. A failed demi-pointe balance test was reported in 26% of the uninjured group, 35% of the coper group and 33% of the CAI group.
Conclusions A previous ankle sprain had no effect on netball players’ ability to balance, irrespective of the presence of chronic ankle instability.