Brown Crowell In this fast paced world, there may be very few who pay heed to the position of their foot while walking. But now a sign of caution has sprung up. A study conducted by University of Georgia kinesiology scientists reveals that the position of the foot just before it touches the ground while running and walking is seemingly linked to risks of ankle sprains.

The study put forth that people who demonstrated prior ankle sprains seemed to have relatively lower clearance heights between their feet and the floor while running. They also appeared to point their toes more downward while walking.

“Almost everyone who is physically active will suffer an ankle sprain at some point. Many people develop repetitive ankle injuries that are painful, can decrease performance, and increase the risk of ankle osteoarthritis. We were able to identify factors in foot positioning prior to contact with the ground that may pre-dispose some people to these repetitive injuries. These findings can help clinicians develop rehabilitation programs that address movements that may have been ignored in the past,” commented the study’s lead author Cathleen Brown Crowell, an assistant professor in the UGA College of Education’s department of kinesiology.

As part of the analysis, information was gathered for more than 30 male recreational athletes. Some had a history of persistent ankle sprains while some were devoid of it. An equipment known as motion capture examined joint movements and pressures involved while the participants were running or walking. This study focused all three potential movements at the ankle and was inclusive of participants who had varied kinds of ankle displacement problems too.

The motion capture equipment may not be accessible in rehabilitation clinics. However the results are applicable to active persons involved in physical activities that ought to sprain their ankles. These findings show that there are differences in movements at the foot and ankle among the injured persons. These people may show responsiveness to interventions other than the usual stretching and strengthening of muscles.

These outcomes can be presumably applied to clinical procedures too. Furthermore, steps to check if targeted therapies that affect the way people run and walk could be used to treat and prohibit ankle sprains are underway. Ankle sprains can lead to chronic instability and carry on for a lifetime too.

The study is published in the June online edition of the American Journal of Sports Medicine.