Background Ankle sprain occurrence and functional performance deficits may be related in adolescent athletes however, there is limited research in this population.
Objective To determine if ankle sprain occurrence is associated with functional performance test (FPT) deficits in an adolescent population.
Design Cohort study.
Setting Biomechanics laboratory.
Participants Of 65 participants from a junior soccer club, 52 (30 male, 22 female; age = 15.7 ± 1.4 years; height = 163.3 ± 7.6 cm; body mass = 59.2 ± 8.5 kg; BMI% = 62.5 ± 23.4%) completed the study.
Interventions A reliable rater measured FPTs including the Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT) in the anterior (ANT), postero-medial (PM) and postero-lateral (PL) reach directions and the Single Leg Hop Test (SLHT) during summer inter-season training. Participants were monitored for ankle sprain occurrence over the 6-month competitive season via weekly communication from the coach to the researcher.
Main outcome measurements The SEBT reach distances were normalised to leg length and SLHT times were calculated in seconds. An occurrence of ankle sprain was defined as an injury diagnosed by a medical provider for which the participant missed ≥1 full day of practice or competition. Point-biserial correlations were used to assess the relationship between FPTs and ankle sprain occurrence in the 6-month time frame (α = 0.05). T-tests were used to determine differences in FPTs scores between ankle sprain occurrence and uninjured groups (α = 0.05).
Results Ankle sprains occurred for 12/52 (23%) participants. A significant relationship existed between PM reach (rpb = 0.29; p = 0.04), PL reach (rpb = 0.40; p < 0.01), and SLHT time (rpb = 0.39; p < 0.01) and ankle sprain occurrence. The injury occurrence group performed significantly worse on the PL (81.4 ± 15.9% vs 70.1 ± 17.3%; p = 0.04) and PM (71.1 ± 11.3% vs 60.2 ± 8.4%; p < 0.01) reach directions.
Conclusions Moderate relationships were observed between the PM and PL reach distance scores, SLHT time and ankle sprain occurrence longitudinally. Functional performance test deficits may be indicative of future ankle sprain occurrence in an adolescent population.