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The Influence of Profession on Functional Ankle Stability in Musicians

Susanne Rein, Tobias Fabian, Hans Zwipp, Jan Heineck, Stefan Weindel
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 25 Number 1: Page 22 (March 2010)

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Abstract: Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the influence of extensive work-related use of the feet on functional ankle stability among musicians. Methods: Thirty professional organists were compared to professional pianists and controls. All participants completed a questionnaire. Range of motion (ROM), peroneal reaction time, and positional sense tests of the ankle were measured. The postural balance control was investigated with the Biodex Stability System for the stable level 8 and unstable level 2. Statistical analysis was done with the Kruskal-Wallis test, Mann-Whitney test with Bonferroni-Holm correction, and Fisher's exact test. Results: Nine of 30 organists compared to 5 of 30 pianists and controls reported ankle sprains in their medical history. Pianists had a significant increased flexion of both ankle joints compared to organists (p</=0.01) and increased flexion of the right ankle joint compared to controls (p=0.02). The positional sense test and postural balance control showed no significant differences among groups. The peroneal reaction time of the right peroneus longus muscle was significantly increased in pianists compared to controls (p=0.008). Conclusions: Organists have shown a high incidence of ankle sprains. Despite their extensive work-related use of the ankle joints, organists have neither increased functional ankle stability nor increased ROM of their ankle joints in comparison to controls. Pianists have increased flexion of the ankle joint, perhaps due to the exclusive motion of extension and flexion while using the pedals. To minimize injuries of the ankle and improve functional ankle stability as well as balance control, proprioceptive exercises of the ankle in daily training programs are recommended.

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