Year 2024, Volume 53, Issue 1

Effects of exercise therapy in athletes with chronic ankle instability: a systematic review

Martínez-Díez L, Izaguirre-Fernández J.


Introduction: lateral ankle sprains are one of the most common and recurrent injury on athletes. Moreover, it can be developed into a chronic ankle instability (CAI) with proprioceptive, motor, and functional consequences. Exercise therapy is hypothesized to be a global treatment with positive effects on its rehabilitation. Objective: to determine whether there is evidence in the published literature on the effectiveness of exercise therapy on athletes with CAI. Material and method: randomized controlled trials published in the last 5 years (2016-2021),which analyse the effectiveness of exercise therapy in athletes with CAI, were searched in Pubmed, Cochrane and PEDro data bases and other systematic reviews’ or meta-Analysis’ references. Afterwards, Critical Appraisal Skills Programme evaluation was used to qualify their methodological quality, which must be equal or superior to 7. Results: ten randomized controlled trials, that met the inclusion and exclusion criteria, were selected, and analysed individually. After their interventions, there are improvements on those rehabilitation groups based on strength, balance, proprioception, plyometric exercise or combined therapies. Conclusion: there is strong evidence supporting that exercise therapy improves strength, balance, motor efficiency, neuromuscular control, and self-reported functional outcomes in patients with CAI. However, there is not a consensus on the superiority of one exercise therapy above the other and it is unknown the exact duration of rehabilitation programs.

Keywords: chronic ankle instability, exercise therapy, athletes.