Single Leg Balance Test ...Simple, Reliable & now Validated

Reference:Trojian TH, McKeag DB. Single leg balance test to identify risk of ankle sprains. Br J Sports Med 2006;40(7):610-613

This paper was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine with the aim to determine if the pre-season measures of the Single Leg Balance (SLB) test, could predict an ankle sprain during the school year of high school varsity male & female athletes.

The association between a positive Single Leg Balance test and future ankle sprains was significant with a relative risk of 2.54.

Athletes with a positive Single Leg Balance test who did not tape their ankles had an increased likelihood of developing ankle sprains, with a relative risk of 8.82.

Very surprisingly, a previous history of ankle injury was not associated with future ankle sprains in this study. (If the SLB test was good, past ankle sprain did not matter!)

The kappa value for inter-rater reliability for the SLB test was 0.898 (p<0.001), which is excellent!

Basic conclusion: The Single Leg Balance test is a reliable and valid test for predicting ankle sprains.

Clinical Relevance: Since we can to some extent successfully predict susceptibility to ankle injury in athletes using this simple test, we owe it to our patients to perform the test on them.

If positive, we can inform them that if they don’t initiate a proprioceptive rehab exercise program to improve their balance and if they don’t tape their ankle or wear a brace, their risk of an ankle injury goes up by almost 9 folds!

Share this evidence with your patients!

On a Side Note: I evaluate the Single Leg Balance test even on my patients with Lumbo-pelvic pain and find significant asymmetries and deficiencies in balance. Perhaps instead of teaching our patients complicated “core exercises” we just need to teach them to stand on one leg with eyes open and eyes closed.

Posted on: January 31, 2012

Categories: Foot & Ankle

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