Effect of a 2-Week Joint Mobilization Intervention on Single-Limb Balance and Ankle Arthrokinematics in Those With Chronic Ankle Instability

A single talocrural joint mobilization treatment has improved spatiotemporal measures of postural control but not ankle arthrokinematics in patients with chronic ankle instability. However, the effects of multiple treatment sessions on these aspects of function have not been studied. So it was the authors’ objective to evaluate the effect of a 2-week anterior-to-posterior joint mobilization intervention on instrumented measures of single-limb stance static postural control and ankle arthrokinematics in adults with chronic ankle instability. Conducted in a research laboratory the study included 12 individuals with chronic ankle instability (6 males, 6 females; age = 27.4 ± 4.3 years; height = 175.4 ± 9.78 cm; mass = 78.4 ± 11.0 kg). Participants received six treatments sessions of talocrural Grade II joint traction and Grade III anterior-to-posterior joint mobilization over 2 weeks. Main Outcome Measures: Instrumented measures of single-limb stance static postural control (eyes open and closed) and anterior and posterior talar displacement and stiffness were assessed one week before the intervention (baseline), prior to the first treatment (pre-intervention), 24 – 48 hours following the final treatment (post-intervention), and one week later (1-week follow-up). Postural control was analyzed as center of pressure velocity, center of pressure range, the mean of time-to-boundary minima, and standard deviation of time-to-boundary minima in the anteroposterior and mediolateral directions for each visual condition. They did not identify any significant differences in any measures of postural control (p > 0.08) or ankle arthrokinematics (p > 0.21).

The 2-week talocrural joint mobilization intervention did not change instrumented measures of single-limb stance postural control or ankle arthrokinematics. The authors concluded, however, that despite the lack of change in these measures, their study continues to clarify the role of talocrural joint mobilization as a rehabilitation strategy for patients with chronic ankle instability.