Abnormal Electrical Potentials in Lower Limb Muscles After Ankle Sprain Grades I, II and III

Date of Award

Fall 10-1999

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Rehabilitation Sciences


Physical Therapy

Committee Director

John L. Echternach

Committee Member

Martha Walker

Committee Member

Michael Tamburello

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.P45 A57


Fibrillation and positive sharp wave potentials have been found after ankle sprain in muscles around the injured joint. The purpose of this study was to better define and explain the reaction of the muscles around the ankle joint after grades I, II and m ankle sprains. Methods: Fifteen subjects (9 males and 6 females, mean age of 33.2 years) with ankle sprains voluntarily participated in this study. A stress x-ray was done to determine the grade of ankle sprain. Nerve conduction velocity and EMO studies were done three weeks after the injury. None of the patients in this study manifested any signs of sensory loss. Results: the subjects had normal latencys and conduction velocities for motor and sensory nerves of the involved ankle. Forty-seven percent of the subjects had fibrillation potentials in the abductor hallucis muscle and 40% had these potentials in the abductor digiti minimi muscle. Thirty-three percent of patients had sensitive sharp wave potentials in the abductor hallucis muscle, whereas 27% had the positive sharp waves in the abductor digiti minimi muscle. The results showed abnormal potentials in muscles supplied by both the peroneal and tibial nerves. There were no statistical differences among the three grades of ankle sprain groups. Conclusions: A greater than predicted percentage of subjects had fibrillation potentials and/or positive sharp waves in the small muscles of the foot following ankle sprain. Abnormalities in muscles innervated by two separate nerves indicates a cause other than direct nerve traction.


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