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Erik Wikstrom, PhD, ATC
Associate Professor & Katherine Smith Gunter Scholar,
Department of Exercise & Sport Science

Previous Education
Ph.D., University of Florida, 2007
M.Ed., University of Florida, 2003
B.S., Roanoke College, 2001

Contact Information:
Email:  |  X: @ea_wikstrom

Dr. Wikstrom’s primary research interest is on the impact of musculoskeletal injury on sensorimotor control of the lower extremity with particular emphasis on the coordination of balance following ankle joint injury. His current research focuses on evaluating how ankle joint injury alters sensorimotor function, developing interventions to restore post-injury impairments, and understanding mechanisms that could slow the progression from ankle joint injury to ankle osteoarthritis. Dr. Wikstrom’s research has been funded by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Research and Education Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Defense among others.

PubMed Link:

Awards and Honors
Fellow of the National Athletic Trainer’s Association, 2019
Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, 2011
David H. Perrin Doctoral Dissertation Award, National Athletic Trainers’ Association Research and Education Foundation, 2010


Lab Video:



The Team


Visiting Scholar


Serkan Uzlasir, PhD

Educational Background
B.S. Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation, Hacettepe University 2005
M.S. Sports Physiotherapy, Hacettepe University 2016
Doctorate, Sports Physiotherapy, Hacetteppe University, 2010

Contact Information:
X: @ptuzlasir_s


My research interests focus on patients with chronic ankle instability (CAI) and rehabilitation to restore the consequences of injury.  I have a particular interest in the effects of stroboscopic vision as a rehabilitation tool as well as quantifying electromyography and the biomechanics of the lower extremity.


PubMed Link:

Doctoral Students

Raed Alamri, PT, M.Sc.

Educational Background
B.S. Physiotherapy, Umm Al Qura University 2018
M.S. Rehabilitation Science, Concordia University-Wisconsin 2021

Contact Information:


Raed’s research interest lie in understanding the underlying mechanisms that contribute to impaired muscle function in individuals with chronic ankle instability, and developing innovative interventions to enhance muscle function in this population.”

Research Assistants


Joshua Mohess, BS

Study Coordinator

B.A. in EXSS at UNC- Chapel Hill, 2023

Contact Information:

Joshua’s research interests are focused on early detection of chronic ankle instability and enhancing rehabilitation techniques. Joshua is also interested in using AI for data cleaning and building risk models.


Matt Regan, BS

Medical Student Research Assistant

B.S. Chemistry, Davidson College 2019

Contact Information:


Matt is currently in the School of Medicine class of __.  His research interests include sports medicine and injury prevention.


Sarah Albert

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Year: Junior

B.S. Neuroscience, Minors in Chemistry and Sports Medicine

Contact Information:

Sarah is interested in research methodology and biomechanical instrumentation used to understand sports related injuries and chronic ankle instability. Sarah is also interested in looking at and identifying potential risk factors and, in turn, preventative measures for the long-term consequences of ankle injuries.


Shay Rooney

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Year: Senior

B.S. Exercise & Sport Science

Contact Information:

Shay is interested in the prevention and rehabilitation of sports related lower extremity injuries.  Shay is also interested in understanding how ankle sprains and other injuries lead to the development of osteoarthritis.


Lab Group Alumni

Jaeho Jang, Assistant Professor at University of Texas- El Paso.  Graduated in 2023

Kimmery Migel, Assistant Professor at High Point University.  Graduated in 2023

Kyeongtak Song, Assistant Professor at Yonsei University.  Graduated 2019



Current Grant Funding & Research Projects

Advancing the Management and Assessment of Talar Cartilage Health (MATCH) to Mitigate PTOA Development (Principle Investigator), Awarded by the NATA Research & Education Foundation (NATA REF).  2020-2022

Addressing Neuromuscular Deficits for Improved Outcomes in Ankle Sprain Rehabilitation (Co-Principle Investigator), Awarded by the Department of Defense (Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program).  2018-2022


Volunteer to be part of our research!


Below are current research studies that are ongoing and are actively recruiting participants. If you are interested and meet the general criteria listed below, please request additional information from our study coordinators.


SMART Ankle Sprain Rehab Study


Target Population: Patients between 18-45yrs. with acute lateral ankle sprains (n=50)

  • 1st time sprain within 72 hours

Time Commitment: 3-8 week intervention, Completion, 6- and 12- month assessments

Outcomes of Interest:

  • Brain and ankle MRI
  • Neural Excitability
  • Questionnaires
  • Gait Biomechanics

Compensation: $100 gift card

Study Status: Recruiting

Study Coordinator: Erik Wikstrom

IRB Approval: 18-1538




Effect of Local Muscle Vibration on Chronic Ankle Instability


Target Population: Patients between 18-35yrs. with chronic ankle instability (n=30) and uninjured controls (n=30)

Time Commitment:    Uninjured controls: 1, 30-minute session

Chronic ankle instability: 3, ~60 minute sessions

Outcomes of Interest:

  • Muscle strength
  • Muscle activation
  • Balance
  • Muscle quality and architecture derived from ultrasound images

Compensation: NA

Study Coordinator: Raed Alamri

IRB Approval: 23-1380