The immediate effects of two manual therapy techniques on ankle musculoarticular stiffness and dorsiflexion range of motion in people with chronic ankle rigidity: A randomized clinical trial
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OBJECTIVE: Ankle rigidity is a common musculoskeletal disorder affecting the talocrural joint, which can impair weight-bearing ankle dorsiflexion (WBADF) and daily-life in people with or without history of ankle injuries. Our objective was to compare the immediate effects of efficacy of Mulligan Mobilization with Movement (MWM) and Osteopathic Mobilization (OM) for improving ankle dorsiflexion range of motion (ROM) and musculoarticular stiffness (MAS) in people with chronic ankle dorsiflexion rigidity. DESIGN: A randomized clinical trial with two arms. METHODS: Patients were recruited by word of mouth and via social network as well as posters, and analyzed in the neuro musculoskeletal laboratory of the “Université Catholique de Louvain-la-Neuve”, Brussels, Belgium. PARTICIPANTS: 67 men (aged 18–40 years) presenting with potential chronic non-specific and unilateral ankle mobility deficit during WBDF were assessed for eligibility and finally 40 men were included and randomly allocated to single session of either MWM or OM. INTERVENTIONS: Two modalities of manual therapy indicated for hypothetic immediate effects in chronic ankle dorsiflexion stiffness, i.e. MWM and OM, were applied during a single session on included patients. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Comprised blinding measures of MAS with a specific electromechanical device (namely: Lehmann’s device) producing passive oscillatory ankle joint dorsiflexion and with clinical measures of WBADF-ROM as well. RESULTS: A two-way ANOVA revealed a non-significant interaction between both techniques and time for all outcome measures. For measures of MAS: elastic-stiffness (p= 0.37), viscous-stiffness (p= 0.83), total-stiffness (p= 0.58). For WBADF-ROM: toe-wall distance (p= 0.58) and angular ROM (p= 0.68). Small effect sizes between groups were determined with Cohen’s d ranging from 0.05 to 0.29. One-way ANOVA demonstrated non-significant difference and small to moderate effects sizes (d= 0.003–0.58) on all outcome measures before and after interventions within both groups. A second two-way ANOVA analyzed the effect of each intervention on the sample categorized according to injury history status, and demonstrated a significant interaction between groups and time only for viscous stiffness (p= 0.04, d=-0.55). CONCLUSION: A single session of MWM and OM targeting the talocrural joint failed to immediately improve all measures in subjects with chronic ankle dorsiflexion stiffness. Despite this, there was an increase in viscous stiffness in people with history of ankle injury following both manual techniques, the value of which remains unclear even if it might help to prevent future abnormal ankle joint movements.
The final publication is available at IOS Press through http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/BMR-170963
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