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Establishing return to play criteria after acute lateral ankle sprain injuries: An international Delphi study

Book Contribution - Book Chapter Conference Contribution

Introduction: Lateral ankle sprains are the most prevalent injury in sports with the highest recurrence rate of all musculoskeletal injuries. Most individuals return to sport (RTS) quickly after a lateral ankle sprain, likely because lateral ankle sprains are often assumed to be minor injuries and there are currently no criteria-based guidelines to guide the RTS decision making. There is need to determine and collate expert opinion to inform RTS practice. The aim of this study was to use a Delphi approach to develop consensus for RTS criteria for individuals who have sustained an acute lateral ankle sprain injury.Methods: A Delphi approach was used to establish consensus of opinion from a panel of international experts. Panelists were required to be: i) a health professional; ii) currently working with athletes competing in nationally selected representative teams or teams in Tier/Division 1 national competitions; iii) currently working in field or court sports in which the primary gross motor skills are running and jumping/landing or changing direction and there is a high prevalence of lateral ankle sprain injuries; iv) involved in making RTS decisions for individuals with an acute lateral ankle sprain injury; v) proficiency in the English language. Consensus was a priori defined as > 70 % agreement between panelists.Results: Based on responses to the first Delphi survey, assessment of the following items reached consensus to be included as RTS criteria for individuals who have sustained an acute lateral ankle sprain injury: sport specific tasks, hopping, agility, jumping, pain severity of sport specific physical activity, pain severity of the last 24 hours, ankle range of motion, ankle muscle strength, ankle muscle endurance, dynamic postural control/balance, proprioception, perceived ankle reassurance/confidence, perceived ankle instability, and psychological readiness.Discussion: Collation of expert opinion through a Delphi approach informs the development of RTS criteria for acute lateral ankle sprain injuries. Our findings indicate the need to assess performance of sport-specific and athletic skills, pain severity, ankle muscle function, ankle range of motion, balance and proprioception, ankle perception and psychological readiness when determining the ability to athletes to RTS after an acute lateral ankle sprain injury. This information provides the basis for prospective cohort studies to test the use of the proposed criteria for successful RTS after acute lateral ankle sprain injuries.
Book: 2019 ASICS SMA Conference, Novotel Twin Waters, 23rd – 26th October
Edition: Supplement 2
Volume: 22
Pages: S108-109
Number of pages: 2
Publication year:2019