Clinical Examination results in individuals with functional ankle instability and ankle-sprain copers

Cynthia J. Wright, Brent L. Arnold, Scott E. Ross, Jessica Ketchum, Jeffrey Ericksen, Peter Pidcoe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


Context: Why some individuals with ankle sprains develop functional ankle instability and others do not (ie, copers) is unknown. Current understanding of the clinical profile of copers is limited. Objective: To contrast individuals with functional ankle instability (FAI), copers, and uninjured individuals on both selfreported variables and clinical examination findings. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Sports medicine research laboratory. Patients or Other Participants: Participants consisted of 23 individuals with a history of 1 or more ankle sprains and at least 2 episodes of giving way in the past year (FAI: Cumberland Ankle Instability Tool [CAIT] score = 20.52 ± 2.94, episodes of giving way = 5.8 ± 8.4 per month), 23 individuals with a history of a single ankle sprain and no subsequent episodes of instability (copers: CAIT score = 27.74 ± 1.69), and 23 individuals with no history of ankle sprain and no instability (uninjured: CAIT score = 28.78 ± 1.78). Intervention(s): Self-reported disability was recorded using the CAIT and Foot and Ankle Ability Measure for Activities of Daily Living and for Sports. On clinical examination, ligamentous laxity and tenderness, range of motion (ROM), and pain at end ROM were recorded. Main Outcome Measure(s): Questionnaire scores for the CAIT, Foot and Ankle Ability Measure for Activities of Daily Living and for Sports, ankle inversion and anterior drawer laxity scores, pain with palpation of the lateral ligaments, ankle ROM, and pain at end ROM. Results: Individuals with FAI had greater self-reported disability for all measures (P < .05). On clinical examination, individuals with FAI were more likely to have greater talar tilt laxity, pain with inversion, and limited sagittal-plane ROM than copers (P < .05). Conclusions: Differences in both self-reported disability and clinical examination variables distinguished individuals with FAI from copers at least 1 year after injury. Whether the deficits could be detected immediately postinjury to prospectively identify potential copers is unknown.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)581-589
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Athletic Training
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2013



  • Chronic ankle instability
  • Giving way
  • Laxity
  • Range of motion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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