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01-12-2020 | Research | Uitgave 1/2020 Open Access

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research 1/2020

Quality of life, function and disability in individuals with chronic ankle symptoms: a cross-sectional online survey

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research > Uitgave 1/2020
M. M. Al Mahrouqi, D. A. MacDonald, B. Vicenzino, M. D. Smith
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Supplementary information

Supplementary information accompanies this paper at https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s13047-020-00432-w.

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Chronic ankle conditions affect approximately 20% of Australian adults. Although there is a plethora of research on chronic hip and knee conditions, there is limited understanding of the impact of ankle problems. Thus, the significance of chronic ankle conditions is not clear. The aim of this study was to compare self-reported function, disability, instability, physical activity and quality of life (QoL) between adults with and without ankle symptoms. A secondary aim was to explore factors associated with QoL.


Individuals with symptoms of ankle pain and stiffness (symptomatic individuals) and controls with no ankle pain or stiffness (asymptomatic individuals) completed a cross-sectional online survey. The survey included the Ankle Osteoarthritis Scale (AOS), Foot and Ankle Ability Measure (FAAM), Cumberland Ankle Instability Tool (CAIT), International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ), Assessment of QoL (AQoL-6D), and questions about ankle injury history.


A total of 394 individuals (270 symptomatic and 124 asymptomatic) with mean age of 48.8 (standard deviation (SD): 12.1) years and body mass index of 28.7 (7.7) kgm− 2 completed the survey. Standardized mean differences (SMD) were large to very large (1.45 to 3.20) for greater disability (AOS) and instability (CAIT), and poorer function (FAAM) in symptomatic compared to asymptomatic individuals. Individuals with ankle symptoms had higher body mass index and lower QoL (medium effect: SMD > 1). There were no differences in self-report physical activity between groups. Lower activities of daily living (ADL) function (FAAM-ADL) best explained QoL in a multiple regression model (R2 = 0.66, p = 0.001).


Individuals with ankle symptoms reported ankle instability, greater disability, compromised function and worse QoL compared to asymptomatic individuals. There was a strong relationship between ankle function and QoL. Ankle-specific ability during ADL best explained the reduced QoL in individuals with ankle symptoms. Clinicians and researchers should consider ankle function as an antecedent to poorer QoL in patients who have ankle symptoms.

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