Research: BURCAL and COLLEAGUES,

Listed in Issue 273

Abstract

BURCAL and COLLEAGUES, School of Health & Kinesiology, University of Nebraska-Omaha,  College of Education, Health, and Human Science conducted a randomized controlled trial To determine if augmenting a balance-training protocol with STARS (BTS) results in greater improvements than balance training (BT) alone in those with chronic ankle instability (CAI).

Background

Both balance training and selected interventions meant to target sensory structures (STARS) have been shown to be effective at restoring deficits associated with chronic ankle instability (CAI). Clinicians often use multiple treatment modalities in patients with CAI. However, evidence for combined intervention effectiveness in CAI patients remains limited.

Methodology

Objective: To determine if augmenting a balance-training protocol with STARS (BTS) results in greater improvements than balance training (BT) alone in those with CAI. Design: Randomized-controlled trial. Setting: Research laboratory. Patients: 24 CAI participants (age 21.3 ± 2.0 y; height 169.8 ± 12.9 cm; mass 72.5 ± 22.2 kg) were randomized into 2 groups: BT and BTS. Interventions: Participants completed a 4-week progression-based balance-training protocol consisting of 3 20-min sessions per week. The experimental group also received a 5-min set of STARS treatments consisting of calf stretching, plantar massage, ankle joint mobilizations, and ankle joint traction before each balance-training session. Main Outcome Measures: Outcomes included self-assessed disability, Star Excursion Balance Test reach distance, and time-to-boundary calculated from static balance trials. All outcomes were assessed before, and 24-hours and 1-week after protocol completion. Self-assessed disability was also captured 1-month after the intervention.

Results

No significant group differences were identified (P > .10). Both groups demonstrated improvements in all outcome categories after the interventions (P < .10), many of which were retained at 1-week post-test (P < .10). Although 90% CIs include zero, effect sizes favour BTS. Similarly, only the BTS group exceeded the minimal detectable change for time-to-boundary outcomes.

Conclusion

While statistically no more effective, exceeding minimal detectable change scores and favourable effect sizes suggest that a 4-week progressive BTS program may be more effective at improving self-assessed disability and postural control in CAI patients than balance training in isolation.

References

Burcal CJ, Trier AY, Wikstrom EA. Balance Training Versus Balance Training With STARS in Patients With Chronic Ankle Instability: A Randomized Controlled Trial. J Sport Rehabil.; 26(5):347-357. Sep 2017. doi: 10.1123/jsr.2016-0018. Epub Aug 24 2016.

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