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Single leg balance test to identify risk of ankle sprains
  1. T H Trojian1,
  2. D B McKeag2
  1. 1University of Connecticut Health Center/Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Hartford, Connecticut, USA
  2. 2IU Center for Sports Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Thomas H Trojian
 University of Connecticut Health Center/Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Department of Family Medicine, 99 Woodland Street, Hartford, CT 06105, USA; ttrojian{at}


Background: Ankle sprains are a common and potentially disabling injury. Successful prediction of susceptibility to ankle sprain injury with a simple test could allow ankle sprain prevention protocols to be initiated and help prevent disability in the athletic population.

Objective: To investigate the ability of the single leg balance (SLB) test, carried out at preseason physical examination, to predict an ankle sprain during the autumn sports season.

Design: Prospective cohort study

Setting: High school varsity athletics and intercollegiate athletics.

Main outcome measure: Ankle sprains in athletes with positive SLB tests.

Results: The association between a positive SLB test and future ankle sprains was significant. Controlling for confounding variables, the relative risk for an ankle sprain with a positive SLB test was 2.54 (95% confidence interval, 1.02 to 6.03). Athletes with a positive SLB test who did not tape their ankles had an increased likelihood of developing ankle sprains. The relative risk for ankle sprain for a positive SLB test and negative taping was 8.82 (1.07 to 72.70). A history of previous ankle injury was not associated with future ankle sprains in this study. The κ value for interrater reliability for the SLB test was 0.898 (p<0.001).

Conclusions: An association was demonstrated between a positive SLB test and ankle sprain. In athletes with a positive SLB test, not taping the ankle imposed an increased risk of sprain. The SLB test is a reliable and valid test for predicting ankle sprains.

  • ATC, certified athletics trainer
  • PPE, preparticipation examination
  • SLB, single leg balance
  • ankle injury
  • musculoskeletal equilibrium
  • posture
  • proprioception
  • risk factors

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  • Published Online First 10 May 2006

  • Competing interests: none declared