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UGA study suggests key to avoiding ankle re-injury may be in the hips and knees
Date:10/17/2011

Athens, Ga. Nearly all active people suffer ankle sprains at some point in their lives, and a new University of Georgia study suggests that the different ways people move their hip and knee joints may influence the risk of re-injury.

In the past, sports medicine therapists prescribed strengthening and stretching exercises that targeted only ankle joints after a sprain. The study by UGA kinesiology researchers, published in the early online edition of the journal Clinical Biomechanics, suggests that movements at the knee and hip joints may play a role in ankle sprains as well.

"If you have ankle sprains, you may have a problem with the way you move, and we think we can change movement through rehabilitation," said Cathleen Brown, lead author of the study and assistant professor in the department of kinesiology in the College of Education.

Past studies on ankle sprains have shown that some people are able to return to sports or physical activities without a problem. Brown and her team, which includes associate professor Kathy J. Simpson, also in the kinesiology department, want to know why some recover completely.

"One theory for explaining those divergent paths is that a person comes up with good strategies to move, land, balance and not get re-injured," Brown said.

For the study, 88 participants were divided into three groups: an uninjured control group, active people who still experienced problems after an ankle sprain and "copers," or people who had been injured but no longer felt pain or weakness in their ankle. Participants dressed in an Avatar-like body suit that sent data to cameras and computers detailing the exact position of ankle, knee and hip joints. Each person stood 27.5 inches away from an in-ground metal platform and jumped to reach a target, then landed on one foot without assistance.

Of the three groups, the uninjured group bent their knees and swayed their hips side-to-side more oft
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Contact: Cathleen Brown
browncn@uga.edu
706-542-9257
University of Georgia
Source:Eurekalert

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