Chronic adaptations, including persistent sensorimotor deficits, remain in individuals with a history of ankle instability, resulting in altered postural control strategies during functional tasks such as gait, running, or landing. However, we do not know the contribution of the altered somatosensory input on postural control strategies during a dynamic balance task such as the Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT).
The purpose of this study was to characterize postural control strategies with and without disrupted somatosensory input during a dynamic balance task in people without chronic ankle sprain.
This study was a crossover study design. Twenty healthy young adults (10 men, 10 women; age = 23.9 ± 3.0 years, height = 174.2 ± 7.4 cm, mass = 71.2 ± 16.7 kg) performed the posteromedial reach test during the SEBT while standing on the ground and on foam. We measured the maximum reach distance (MRD); joint angles of the ankle, knee, hip, and trunk in the sagittal, frontal, and transverse planes; and position and displacement of the center of mass (COM) and center of pressure (COP) during the posteromedial reach task.
The MRD was shorter when standing on the foam than on the ground (p < 0.001). There was a condition by phase interaction for ankle dorsiflexion; tibia internal rotation; and trunk flexion (p < 0.001; p = 0.03; p = 0.01, respectively). The COM and COP were positioned more laterally on the foam (p < 0.001). The COM and COP anterior-posterior displacements were more anterior during the foam condition (p = 0.017).
By using a foam pad to disrupt somatosensory information, participants demonstrated altered strategies to control the joint kinematics, COM, and COP, as a function of posteromedial distance. Ankle and trunk movement strategies may influence the posteromedial reach distance. This model may simulate changes that occur with chronic ankle instability.

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