The objective of this study was to establish the presence of postural deficits in patients with chronic ankle instability (CAI) and to evaluate the effect of an 8-week balance training program on dynamic postural control. A total of 43 subjects with CAI and 31 controls took part in this case-control study. Participants with CAI performed an 8-week home-based balance training, including 3 sessions a week. As main outcome measure, postural control was quantified after a vertical drop by means of the dynamic postural stability index (DPSI). Perceptual outcomes were documented using the FADI, FADI-Sport and VAS scales. At baseline, subjects with CAI exhibited higher anterior/posterior and vertical postural instability, a poorer DPSI, and lower subjective stability scores compared to the control group. Following balance training, all subjective stability scores improved significantly, although no changes were noted for the stability indices.
In conclusion, subjects with CAI have an impaired postural control. As a treatment modality, balance training displays the ability to improve the subjective feeling of instability in subjects with CAI. However, there was no effect on dynamic postural control. Further research on the explanatory mechanisms of balance training is called for, and other training modalities should be considered.