Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Dissertation


Ankle--Wounds and injuries;


Lateral ankle sprains (LAS) represent the most common orthopedic injury treated by athletic trainers, yet there is no consensus regarding the measurement of the effectiveness of care (e.g. outcomes). Further compounding this problem is the repetitive nature of LAS, often referred to as "functional" or "chronic" ankle instability (FAI, CAI, respectively). Although a common entity in practice and research, FAI is inconsistently defined and assessed. Essentially, athletic trainers are neglecting to address one of the most important issues identified in their profession (outcomes) for the most common injury for which they provide care (LAS). Therefore, the purpose of this research was to develop a model for ankle function which allows researchers and clinicians to better assess patient outcomes following ankle injury.

The Delphi method involving one round of telephone interviews and four rounds of online surveys with 16 content experts was used to gather feedback regarding the definition, functional characteristics, and assessment techniques of a healthy ankle, an unhealthy ankle, and FAI/CAI. Additionally, 10 female and nine male elite athletes were interviewed to determine their functional limitations following foot and ankle injury and their perceptions of an ankle outcomes instrument.

A consensus was reached for the definition of a healthy ankle: "A person with a healthy ankle(s), either through self-report or clinician measurement, presents with full functional capacity and participation status, without pathology, pain, or impairments relative to the ankle(s)." Additionally, 11 functional characteristics of a healthy ankle and 32 functional characteristics of an unhealthy ankle, along with 33 assessment techniques were agreed upon. The definition of FAI was established as: "a recurrent sense of giving way of the ankle." However, a consensus was not reached for the definition of chronic ankle instability. Athletes consistently indicated that the items on the instrument need to be difficult and sport-specific.

By creating a model of ankle health, and identifying the functional limitations that elite level athletes suffer due to foot and ankle injury, this study provides the framework for establishing accurate outcomes assessment of individuals with high levels of physical ability, and thereby facilitates the implementation of evidence-based practice in athletic training.

Year of Submission


Year of Award

2001 Award

Degree Name

Doctor of Education


School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services

First Advisor

Todd Evans, Committee Co-Chair

Second Advisor

Sam Lankford, Co-Chair

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (vi, 184 pages)



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