Study Design Cross-sectional.
Objectives To examine differences in ankle function between injured and uninjured limbs in individuals with a history of ACL reconstruction (ACLR).
Background Anterior cruciate ligament injury is a debilitating lower extremity injury. Most individuals undergo ACLR to restore joint function. Rehabilitation protocols for post-ACLR patients are extensive and focus on restoration of knee range of motion, strength, balance and proprioception. However, these protocols often do not directly assess other regions of the lower extremity, particularly the ankle. Proper ankle function is an important factor in overall lower limb function and warrants further investigation in the post-ACLR population.
Methods and Measures A total of 11 (8 females) physically active individuals (age:23.27±4.47, height:166.01±10.48 cms, weight:72.24±15.28 kgs) with a history of unilateral ACLR reported to the laboratory for one testing session. Self-reported ankle function was assessed via the Quick Foot and Ankle Ability Measure (Quick-FAAM). Ankle dorsiflexion range of motion (DROM) was measured by the weight bearing lunge test in centimetres (cms) and isokinetic plantarflexion and dorsiflexion strength (Nm/kg) was assessed with the isokinetic dynamometer. Median (interquartile range) were calculated for each measure and differences between the uninjured and post-ACLR limbs were examined with separate Wilcoxon signed-rank tests.
Results There were significant differences between the uninjured limb (100.00 (0.00)) and post-ACLR (91.66 (16.67)) limb on the Quick-FAAM (p=0.037). No significant differences were observed between the uninjured limb (8.5 (2.50)) and the injured limb (7.75 (2.0)) for DROM (p=0.859) or dorsiflexion isokinetic strength for the uninjured limb (0.29 (0.11)) and post-ACLR limb (0.30 (0.06), p=0.959) or plantarflexion isokinetic strength for the uninjured limb (0.77 (0.40)) and post-ACLR limb (0.66 (0.39), p=0.859).
Conclusion Post-ACLR participants self-reported decreased ankle function in the injured limb compared to the uninjured limb. No other differences in ankle function outcomes were identified. Clinicians should continue to evaluate ankle function during ACL rehabilitation and modify protocols as needed.
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