UK researcher to study ankle sprains, chronic pain with $1M Army grant

Kyle Kosik, Ph.D., is assistant research professor in the Department of Athletic Training and Clinical Nutrition.
Kyle Kosik, Ph.D., is assistant research professor in the Department of Athletic Training and Clinical Nutrition.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 3, 2024) — The University of Kentucky has received a $1 million grant from the Army Medical Research and Development Command for a College of Health Sciences examination into chronic pain after the most common joint injury sustained by military personnel and the general public — a lateral ankle sprain.

Funded by the Army Medical Research and Development Command, the goal of the research is to identify the prevalence of chronic ankle pain after a lateral ankle sprain and examine its relationship with health care utilization patterns, subsequent musculoskeletal injury and the development of new co-comorbidities.

The study will also identify the susceptibility and resiliency factors underlying the transition from acute to chronic pain by assessing pain-generating pathways, clinician-based outcomes and patient-reported outcomes after a lateral ankle sprain.

The research, conducted by Kyle Kosik, Ph.D., assistant research professor in the Department of Athletic Training and Clinical Nutrition, began in 2020 when a member of Kosik’s team started to investigate the immediate treatment for acute pain for a lateral ankle sprain.

“A lateral ankle sprain is the No. 1 reason for lost duty days within the United States Military and over two million people report to the emergency department annually for this common joint injury,” Kosik said. “Although viewed as a short-term injury, nearly half of all people never fully recover after an ankle sprain and experience chronic pain that interferes with a variety of activities that military personnel must perform or activities of daily living. Therefore, this grant is significant because it will be the first study to assess trajectory of chronic pain.” 

The grant aims to prospectively evaluate risk and protective factors that contribute to the development of chronic pain within the first year after a lateral ankle sprain — a vital component to developing personalized therapies at critical windows of opportunity to prevent pain from becoming chronic, Kosik said.

“This research will help active-duty service members return to duty pain-free by identifying early modifiable factors that can be targeted with current treatment strategies,” he said. “Additionally, this study will provide insight into the critical time points to intervene for reducing the risk of developing chronic ankle pain.” 

The total amount of the award is $1,066,469.

Research reported in this publication was supported by the Army Medical Research and Development Command under Award Number HT94252311054. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Army Medical Research and Development Command or the Department of Defense.

In conducting research using animals, the investigator(s) adheres to the laws of the United States and regulations of the Department of Agriculture. ( In the conduct of research utilizing recombinant DNA, the investigator adhered to NIH Guidelines for research involving recombinant DNA molecules. ( In the conduct of research involving hazardous organisms or toxins, the investigator adhered to the CDC-NIH Guide for Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories. (

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