The Biomechanics of the Dynamic Defence Mechanism
Context: It has been suggested that muscle fatigue can lead to injury, however, research investigating this phenomenon in functional ankle instability (FAI) subjects is lacking. Aim: The purpose of this thesis was to research postural sway and muscular latency in FAI subjects and healthy controls, both before and immediately after localised and globalised fatigue protocols. Subjects: All subjects used in this project were males, between the ages of 18 and 25 years, and participated in regular (>2 x week) aerobic exercise. Subjects were categorised into healthy subjects, or subjects with a history of FAI using the FAI questionnaire. Methods: Neuromuscular control was analysed in FAI subjects and healthy controls through measures of muscular latency and postural sway. These measures were repeated both before and immediately after localised and globalised fatigue protocols. Results: The induction of localised and globalised fatigue had no effect on muscle latency in the FAI or healthy subjects. However, postural sway was significantly increased in the FAI subjects, following localised and globalised fatigue, with globalised fatigue also significantly increasing postural sway in the healthy subjects. The globalised football-specific fatigue protocol caused the greatest deficits in the FAI subjects, but also the healthy controls. Conclusions: In terms of muscle latency individuals that participate in sports, as well as sports clinicians and coaches, should not be concerned about the theorised relationship between the onset of fatigue and an increased injury risk at the ankle. However, in terms of postural sway the globalised football-specific fatigue protocol caused the greatest deficits. This highlights that the fatigued individual may be at greater risk of musculoskeletal injury during prolonged exercise that involves multiple joints, such as a football match.