Physical therapy may be beneficial after an ankle sprain

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Physical therapy may be beneficial after an ankle sprain

An ankle sprain is a common injury to the soft tissues, usually the ligaments of the ankle. In a recent study published in BMJ, patients with ankle sprain achieved “excellent recovery” after 6 months, even if they received physical therapy or not. These results raised doubts about the usefulness of physical therapy in an ankle sprain.

In an attempt, researchers included 503 people with the mild or moderate ankle sprain and aged between 16 to 79 years. About half of the participants have received usual care alone, such as rest, ice, compression,  elevation of the ankle, painkillers, while the rest of the participants received   30-minute treatment sessions from a physical therapist once a week in addition to usual care. Six months post-injury, 57% of patients in the physical therapy group and 62% of the patients in the usual care group achieved excellent recovery.

The results suggested that there was not a clinically important effect with the standardized physiotherapy regimen provided to the participants.

“In my opinion, not every ankle sprain is the same, and a lot depends on age, mechanism of injury, activity level, history of prior ankle sprains,  ankle instability and presence of any additional injuries,” explained Dr Aleksey Lazarev, an an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine clinician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “Physical therapy can still play an important role in the patient’s recovery and prevention," he added.

Elizabeth Anastasio, a senior physical therapist at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City, agreed with Lazarev. She said, “in mild and moderate strains, the lateral ankle tendons and ligaments of the ankle have been overstretched and/or micro-tearing may have occurred. For this kind of injury, rest and compression from offending activities will allow the involved structures to heal and scar back down to their bony attachments”.

However, she added, “the patient should seek further and more skilled physical therapy intervention if symptoms do not resolve or improve within 1 week. In the case of more severe sprains, physical therapy is advised as ligament support and joint integrity are most likely compromised”.



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Original title of the article:

Is Physical Therapy Really Necessary After an Ankle Sprain?

Therapeutic, Ankle Sprain, Ankle Ligaments, Efficacy
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