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Can Therapeutic Exercises Improve Proprioception in Chronic Ankle Instability? A Systematic Review and Network Meta-analysis

      Abstract

      Objective

      To assess exercise therapies that aim to enhance proprioception in individuals with chronic ankle instability (CAI).

      Data Sources

      Five databases (PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, Web of Science, and EBSCO) were searched in October 2021.

      Study Selection

      Randomized controlled trials involving exercise therapy conducted on individuals with CAI were included.

      Data Extraction

      Data were extracted by 2 independent reviewers using a standardized form. Methodological quality and risk of bias were assessed with the Physiotherapy Evidence Database scale.

      Data Synthesis

      The end trial weighted mean difference and standard deviations were analyzed, and the synthetic value for the improvement in error scores of ankle joint position sense in multiple directions was evaluated.

      Results

      Eleven trials with 333 participants were eligible for inclusion in this systematic review and were included in the network meta-analysis. Foot and ankle muscle strengthening exercise showed the highest probability of being among the best treatments (surface under the cumulative ranking [SUCRA]=74.6%). The next 2 were static balance exercise only (SUCRA=67.9%) and corrective exercise (SUCRA=56.1%). The SUCRA values of proprioceptive exercise, dynamic balance exercise only, aquatic exercise, rehabilitation exercise with brace, mixed static/dynamic balance exercise, and control were at relatively low levels and scored at 49.6%, 48.8%, 47.8%, 47.7%, 44.0%, and 13.5%, respectively.

      Conclusions

      Foot and ankle muscle strengthening exercise may have a good effect when used to improve joint position sense in individuals with CAI. The more complex balance exercise intervention becomes, the less effective the proprioceptive outcome.

      Keywords

      List of abbreviations:

      CAI (chronic ankle instability), CI (confidence interval), JPS (joint position sense), SUCRA (surface under the cumulative ranking)
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