Background: Functional ankle instability (FAI) is a common injury. Traditional training improved the reported balance impairment and subjective sense of instability in athletes with FAI.
Objective: This study aims to compare the effects of traditional and virtual reality training on a subjective sense of instability and balance in athlete with FAI.
Material and Methods: In this single-blinded matched randomized clinical trial design, Fifty-four basketball players were randomly assigned in the virtual reality (n=27) or control (n=27) groups. All athletes performed 12 sessions Wii exercises or traditional training in the virtual reality and the control group, respectively, for three days a week. To assess the subjective-sense of instability and balance, we used Cumberland Ankle Instability Tool (CAIT) and Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT), respectively. Measures were taken at pre- and post-test and one month after training as a follow-up. The between-group comparisons were done by the analysis of Covariance.
Results: At the pre-test, the CAIT score was 22.37, 22.04 in the control and virtual reality groups, respectively and at the post-test, these scores increased to 26.63, 27.26. The involved limb showed significant differences in posteromedial and posterior directions of the SEBT and CAIT score in the post-test and in the posterior direction and CAIT score in the follow-up. The virtual reality group had better performance than the control group but the effect size is small (cohen’s d <0.2).
Conclusion: Based on our results, both training protocols were effective in reducing the subjective-sense of instability and improved balance in athletes with FAI. Moreover, virtual reality training was very attractive for the participants.