Early intervention for ankle sprains

January 01, 0001

Early intervention for ankle sprains

These Irish investigators examined an accelerated intervention utilizing early therapeutic exercise after acute ankle sprains with a standard protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation intervention. They performed a randomized controlled trial in an emergency department and a sports injury clinic involving patients with an acute grade 1 or 2 ankle sprain (n=101). Assessments were made at baseline and at one, two, three, and four weeks after injury. Ankle function and rate of reinjury were assessed at 16 weeks.

The researchers found: "An overall treatment effect was in favour of the exercise group. This was significant at both week 1 (baseline adjusted difference in treatment 5.28) and week 2 (4.92). Activity level was significantly higher in the exercise group as measured by time spent walking (1.2 hours v 1.6), step count (5621 steps v 7886), and time spent in light intensity activity (53 minutes v 76). The groups did not differ at any other time point for pain at rest, pain on activity, or swelling. The reinjury rate was 4% (two in each group)."

The researchers concluded: "An accelerated exercise protocol during the first week after ankle sprain improved ankle function; the group receiving this intervention was more active during that week than the group receiving standard care."

This study suggests that early exercise may improve outcomes in ankle sprains.

For the full abstract, click here.

BMJ 340:c1964, 10 May 2010
© 2010 Bleakley et al.
Effect of accelerated rehabilitation on function after ankle sprain: randomised controlled trial. Chris M Bleakley, Seán R O’Connor, Mark A Tully, et al. Correspondence to C M Bleakley: [email protected]

Category: M. Musculoskeletal. Keywords: ankle sprain, PRICE, exercise, physical therapy, early exercise, randomized controlled trial, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Paul Schaefer, Toledo, Ohio. Posted on Global Family Doctor 4 June 2010

Pearls are an independent product of the Cochrane primary care group and are meant for educational use and not to guide clinical care.