Dave P. Heller1,2 , Megan Maienschein1, & Wen Liu2

1Rockhurst University, Kansas City, Missouri; 2University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas

City, Kansas

Inversion ankle sprain is the most common injury among active people. 40% of those experiencing a sprain develop ankle instability. Functional ankle instability (FAI) is ankle instability resulting from neuromuscular deficits. People with FAI exhibit decreased activity levels and quality of life. Interventions emphasizing single leg balance (SLB) and stretching are effective in attenuating characteristics of FAI such as increased perceived instability, balance deficits, and increased ankle stiffness. Yoga is a mode of exercise which involves SLB and stretching. Only one previous pilot study has studied the effect of yoga on characteristics of FAI. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of a 4-week yoga intervention consisting of poses emphasizing SLB and ankle dorsiflexion on characteristics of FAI. METHODS: 10 participants (7F, 3M; 4 FAI, 6 Healthy; 26 + 6 yo; 1.67 + 0.10 m; 76.0 + 16.0 kg) volunteered for this study. We measured perceived instability, time-in-balance during SLB, and active ankle range of motion (ROM) pre- and post-intervention. The intervention consisted of 50-minute yoga classes of poses emphasizing SLB (i.e. Tree) and ankle dorsiflexion (i.e. Downward Dog), taught by a certified yoga instructor 2 times per week for 4 weeks. We used paired t-tests to compare pre- and post- intervention values with significance set at = 0.05. RESULTS: Active eversion ROM significantly increased for all subjects (Pre: 16 + 7⁰ vs. Post: 21 + 10⁰; p = 0.03). FAI participants significantly improved time-in-balance during SLB over all conditions (Pre: 16.0 + 1.7s vs. Post: 18.2 + 1.1s; p = 0.04), when standing on tile (Pre: 20.8 + 6.2s vs. Post: 23.4 + 3.9s; p = 0.05) and with eyes closed (Pre: 13.0 + 9.6s vs. Post: 16.1 + 9.6s; p = 0.03). There were no significant results in any other measures of perceived instability, ROM, or SLB. CONCLUSION: A 4-week, bi-weekly yoga intervention consisting of poses emphasizing SLB and ankle dorsiflexion positively affected some measures of ankle ROM and SLB. This type of intervention serves the dual purpose of rehabilitating FAI while maintaining activity levels in an active population. Further research will look at the effect of this type of yoga intervention on measures of dynamic stability and ankle proprioception compared to generic yoga practice.

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