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n South African Journal of Sports Medicine - The prevalence of clinical signs of ankle instability in club rugby players : original research
Background. Ankle injuries are one of the most common injuries in sport and have a high recurrence rate.
Aim. To determine the prevalence of clinical signs of ankle injuries in club rugby players in South Gauteng.
Methods. Institutional ethical clearance was obtained for the study. Of the 180 players from 9 clubs who were eligible for participation in the study, 76% (n=137) were recruited. Informed consent was obtained before players were asked to complete a battery of tests. Each player was asked to complete a demographic questionnaire and the Olerud and Molander questionnaire to determine the prevalence of clinical signs of perceived instability. The prevalence of clinical signs of mechanical instability was determined by the anterior drawer test (ADT) and talar tilt test (TTT). Balance and proprioception were assessed by the Balance Error Scoring System (BESS) and this was used to determine the prevalence of clinical signs of functional instability.
Results. The prevalence of perceived instability was 44%. The prevalence of clinical signs of mechanical ankle instability was 33%. There was an increased prevalence of mechanical instability in players who had a history of previous ankle injuries: ADT left (p=0.003); ADT right (p=0.01); TTT left (p=0.001); TTT right (p=0.08), both tests positive left (p=0.001) and both tests positive right (p=0.03). The prevalence of clinical signs of functional ankle instability depended on the surface and visual input, and was greater as the challenge or perturbation increased.
Conclusion. There was a high prevalence of clinical signs of ankle instability in club rugby players for perceived, mechanical and functional instability. Those with previously injured ankles were more likely to have unstable ankles.
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