Sex differences, hormone fluctuations, ankle stability, and dynamic postural control

Hayley Ericksen, Phillip A. Gribble

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Context: Hormonal fuctuation as a risk factor in anterior cruciate ligament injury has been investigated with conflicting results. However, the influence of hormone fluctuations on ankle laxity and function has not been thoroughly examined. Objective: To examine the potential hormone contributions to ankle laxity and dynamic postural control during the preovulatory and postovulatory phases of the menstrual cycle using an ankle arthrometer and the Star Excursion Balance Test in healthy women. The cohort group consisted of male control participants. Design: Cohort study. Setting: Research laboratory. Patients or Other Participants: Twenty healthy women (age = 23.8 ± 6.50 years, height = 163.88 ± 8.28 cm, mass = 63.08 ± 12.38 kg) and 20 healthy men (age = 23.90 ± 4.15 years, height = 177.07 ± 7.60 cm, mass = 80.57 ± 12.20 kg). Intervention(s): Ankle stability was assessed with anterior-posterior and inversion-eversion loading. Dynamic postural control was assessed with the posteromedial reaching distance of the Star Excursion Balance Test. Main Outcome Measure(s): Female participants used ovulation kits for 3 months to determine the time of ovulation; during their preovulatory and postovulatory phases, they were tested in the laboratory with an ankle arthrometer and the Star Excursion Balance Test. Male participants were tested on similar dates as controls. For each dependent variable, a time by side by sex repeated-measures analysis of variance was performed. Statistical significance was set a priori at P < .05. Results: For anterior-posterior laxity, a side main effect was noted (F1.38 = 10.93, P =.002). For inversion-eversion laxity, a sex main effect was seen (F1.38 = 10.75, P =.002). For the posteromedial reaching task, a sex main effect was demonstrated (F1.38 = 8.72, P =.005). No influences of time on the dependent variables were evident. Conclusions: Although women presented with more ankle inversion-eversion laxity and less dynamic postural control, hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle (preovulatory compared with postovulatory) did not affect ankle laxity or dynamic postural control, 2 factors that are associated with ankle instability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-148
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Athletic Training
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2012


  • Ankle arthrometry
  • Ankle instability
  • Star Excursion Balance Test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


Dive into the research topics of 'Sex differences, hormone fluctuations, ankle stability, and dynamic postural control'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this