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No physiotherapy for sprained ankles

Press Association logoPress Association 16/11/2016

People with sprained ankles may not benefit from physiotherapy, researchers say.

Some ankle sprains are better dealt with at home with basic self management, a new study suggests.

The research, published in The BMJ, found that for simple sprains physiotherapy did not lead to "clinically important improvements" after six months compared to self care.

A group of Canadian researchers assessed 503 patients, aged 16-79 years, presenting to emergency departments with mild or moderate ankle sprain injuries between 2009 and 2013.

They were either given physiotherapy and home care or just home care with instruction for basic management of the injury at home.

This included information on ankle protection, rest, ice, application of compression bandage, elevation, use of painkillers, graduated weight bearing activities and information about expected recovery.

They found that 43 per cent of participants in the physiotherapy group and 38 per cent in the control group had not reached "excellent recovery" by six months.

The authors concluded: "In the acute management of patients with grade 1 and 2 ankle sprains presenting to an emergency department within 72 hours of injury, a standard intervention of early supervised physiotherapy plus usual care does not lead to clinically important improvements in functional recovery up to six months after injury compared with usual care alone."

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