Objectives: Ankle injuries account for the highest percentage of injuries in netball, yet the chronic nature of ankle sprains is under reported within this population group. Chronic ankle instability (CAI) is a term used to describe certain insufficiencies that persist after an acute ankle sprain. The aim of this study was to investigate recurrent sprain, perceived ankle instability and mechanical ankle instability in a cohort of netball players. Design: Cross-sectional study. Methods: Ninety-six female netball players (24.1 ± 7.9 years) were recruited (42 club players and 54 inter-district players). Recurrent sprain was defined as two or more lifetime sprains to the same ankle. Perceived ankle instability was quantified with the Cumberland Ankle Instability Tool - Youth. Mechanical ankle instability was quantified via inversion-eversion rotations using an ankle arthrometer at torques of 3 Newton-metres. Results: Forty-seven percent of the cohort had recurrently sprained an ankle. Of the 69 players with a previously sprained ankle, 64% had a moderate-severe degree of perceived ankle instability. The total inversion-eversion angle was 31.1 ± 8.7 degrees. Club players had more cases of moderate-severe perceived ankle instability (p = 0.01) and larger inversion-eversion angles (p = 0.001) compared to inter-district players. Conclusions: Recurrent ankle sprain and perceived ankle instability are easily identifiable aspects of CAI shown to be prevalent within this cohort. Additional research is required to quantify a cut-off value for mechanical instability. Club netball players were found to have more counts of moderate-severe perceived ankle instability and larger inversion-eversion angles when compared to the inter-district netball players.
Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport / Vol. 19, No. 5, pp.379-383