Original Research

Predisposing factors to lateral ankle injury in male comrades marathon runners

J. Hiemstra, N. Naidoo
South African Journal of Physiotherapy | Vol 65, No 1 | a75 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajp.v65i1.75 | © 2009 J. Hiemstra, N. Naidoo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 January 2009 | Published: 06 January 2009

About the author(s)

J. Hiemstra, Department of Physiotherapy, University of KwaZulu-Natal
N. Naidoo, Department of Physiotherapy, University of KwaZulu-Natal

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Introduction: More than two million people experience ankle ligament traumaeach year in the United States. Half of these are severe ligament sprains, however verylittle is known about the factors that predispose individuals to these injuries. The purpose of this study, (which was conducted as an undergraduate research project),was to find a correlation between the characteristics of height, weight and limbdominance and lateral ankle ligament injuries. Method: A  retrospective study was conducted on 114 ultra distance runners whoparticipated in the 2006 Comrades Marathon. During race registration, the runners’ height and weight were measuredafter answering a questionnaire regarding their training. Results: 114 runners responded to the questionnaire. From this cohort, 38 (33.3%) had sustained previous lateral ankle injuries. Of these 38 injuries, 47.4% of the injuries occurred on the runner’s dominant limb and 36.8% occurred on thenon-dominant side. 15.8% of the runners sustained previous ankle injuries to both ankles. There was a low negative correlation coefficient of 0.24 with regards to weight as a risk factor. This indicated that the power of the correlationwas 5.93%. The study demonstrates that there is no correlation between an increase in weight and an increase in theincidence of ankle injury. The correlation coefficient indicated a low correlation between an increase in height and the incidence of ankle injury. However, the power of the correlation at 18.37% makes inaccurate any attempt to predict the height at which a runner would be at most risk for lateral ankle injury. Conclusion: Height and weight are not risk factors predisposing subjects to lateral ankle injury. In addition, the studyillustrated that there was no effect of limb dominance on the incidence of lateral ankle injury.


ankle sprain; height; weight; limb dominance


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