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A Proprioceptive Training Program Using an Uneven Terrain Treadmill for Patients with Ankle Instability

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[Technical Report, Annual Report]

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Lower limb sprains and strains are three-times more prevalent than any other acute injury in the Armed Forces, with lateral ankle sprains being the most common injury sustained during active-duty. Forty percent of individuals who experience an ankle sprain will go on to develop chronic ankle instability. Training and rehabilitation programs that incorporate proprioceptive training are particularly effective at improving outcomes and reducing re-injury rates. Proprioceptive training targets how the body receives sensory information from the environment to produce a movement. However, current techniques Bosu balls, foam mats, etc. do not help individuals train to the tasks they will encounter once they leave physical therapy and re-injury rates remain high. The proposed intervention uses a rocky uneven terrain treadmill that specifically targets aspects of the real-world environment to restore and improve short-term function and performance and reduce the long-term risk of re-injury. We aim to 1 compare the effectiveness of a targeted proprioceptive and physical rehabilitation intervention against standard of care physical therapy for persons with ankle sprains and chronic ankle instability. The intervention will use a rocky uneven terrain treadmill as part of a progressive intervention for these individuals. Two groups will be studied. Seventy-eight individuals with ankle sprains and chronic ankle instability will participate. Half of individuals will receive physical therapy as normal and will be in the control group. The other half will be in the experimental group and will receive the rocky terrain treadmill intervention in addition to their normal physical therapy. The intervention involves tasks while moving on the uneven terrain such as walking with head turns, lowlight conditions, and walking without being able to see the ground. The intervention will be progressive and participants will perform more challenging tasks as their recovery progresses.

Subject Categories:

  • Anatomy and Physiology

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[A, Approved For Public Release]