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Background: Chronic ankle instability (CAI) has previously been linked to altered lower limb kinematics and muscle activation characteristics during walking, though little research has been performed analysing the full time-series across the stance and swing phases of gait. Research Question: The aim of this study was to compare trunk and lower limb kinematics and muscle activity between those with chronic ankle instability and healthy controls. Methods: Kinematics and muscle activity were measured in 18 (14 males, 4 females) healthy controls (age 22.4 ± 3.6 years, height 177.8 ± 7.6 cm, mass 70.4 ± 11.9 kg, UK shoe size 8.4 ± 1.6), and 18 (13 males, 5 females) participants with chronic ankle instability (age 22.0 ± 2.7 years, height 176.8 ± 7.9 cm, mass 74.1 ± 9.6 kg, UK shoe size 8.1 ± 1.9) during barefoot walking trials, using a combined Helen Hayes and Oxford foot model. Surface electromyography (sEMG) was recorded for the tibialis anterior and gluteus medius. Full curve statistical parametric mapping was performed using independent and paired-samples T-tests. Results: No significant differences were observed in kinematic or sEMG variables between or within groups for the duration of the swing phase of gait. A significantly increased forefoot-tibia inversion was seen in the CAI affected limb when compared to the CAI unaffected limb at 4-16% stance (p = 0.039). No other significant differences were observed. Significance: There appears to be no differences in muscle activation and movement between CAI and healthy control groups. However, participants with CAI exhibited increased inversion patterns during the stance phase of gait in their affected limb compared to their unaffected limb. This may predispose those with CAI to episodes of giving way and further ankle sprains.


Originally published in Gait and Posture 64: 114-118.