Posts Tagged ‘knee and hip joints’

The Key to Ankle Sprains May Be in the Hips and Knees

If you want to avoid an ankle sprain – one of the most common injuries seen at sports medicine clinic – the key may be in your hips and ankles.

A new study by Georgia kinesiologists 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, assistant professor in the department of kinesiology in the College of Education.

She is the lead author of the study published in the early online edition of the journal Clinical Biomechanics.

Previous studies on ankle sprains have shown that some people return to sports or physical activities without a problem.

The Georgia researchers set out to find out know why some people recover completely, and others do not.

They put 88 people into an Avatar-like body suit that sent data to cameras and computers detailing the exact position of ankle, knee, and hip joints.

The participants jumped off an in-ground metal platform and landed on one foot without assistance.

The key finding had to do with the landing.

Those who had uninjured ankles bent their knees and swayed their hips side-to-side more often than either of the other groups.

Those who had sprained an ankle but no longer felt pain or weakness also showed movement in those joints.

A group with lingering ankle pain appeared unable to use their knee and hip joints as well when landing on the metal surface.

“Maybe the injured people don’t use the same landing strategies, or their strategies aren’t as effective,” Brown said.

She noted that “we don’t know if they are this way because of the injury, or if they got this injury because they land this way.”

The next step is to examine the 3 joints in combination and possibly identify the particular movement patterns that could translate into new rehab techniques for ankle sprains.

There already is a precedent in preventing knee injuries.

A number of studies have unequivocally demonstrated that female athletes who participate in jumping and cutting sports are about five times more likely to sustain serious knee injuries than males.

Biomechanical studies have shown that female athletes have decreased neuromuscular strength and coordination in the muscles that stabilize the knee joint, which may be responsible for this injury increase.

Now a variety of “jump training” programs have been designed to show female athletes how to jump, and land, better so that they can increase their hamstrings strength and improve the ability to control dangerous forces at the knee.