The effect of joint mobilization on neuromuscular performance in individuals with ankle instability

The aim of this study was to examine the effects of joint mobilization and exercise training on neuromuscular performance in individuals with functional ankle instability (FAI).

This was a cross-sectional study involving forty five subjects with FAI. They were randomized into three groups: control (CG, n = 15, 27.9 ± 6.6yr), training (TG, n = 15, 26.9 ± 5.8yr) and mobilization with training group (MTG, n = 15, 26.5 ± 4.8yr). The intervention was four weeks of neuromuscular training for TG; neuromuscular training and joint mobilization for MTG. Electromyography of the peroneus longus (PL), tibialis anterior (TA), and soleus (SOL) and the reaching distance of the Y balance test (YBT), dorsiflexion range of motion (DFROM), Cumberland ankle instability tool (CAIT), and global rating scale (GRS) were the outcome measures. Two-way repeated measures MANOVA were used with the significance level p < .05.

MANOVA found significant group by time interactions on posterolateral reaching distance (p = .032), PL activation (p = .006-.03), DFROM (p < .001), CAIT (p < .001) and GRS (p < .001). The post hoc tests indicated significantly improved PL muscle activity and posterolateral reaching distance for MTG compared to TG (p = .004) and CG (p = .006).

Joint mobilization resulted in additional benefits on self-reported ankle instability severity, dorsiflexion mobility, and posterolateral balance performance in individuals with FAI, but its effects on general improvement, muscle activation, and other balance tasks remained uncertain.