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Experts doubt the effectiveness of physiotherapy for sprained ankles
When people sprain their ankles, they are usually advised to see a doctor and do physiotherapy. However, researchers found that physiotherapy often does not lead to a clinically important improvement in people with sprained ankles.
A team of Canadian scientists found that people with sprained ankles "don't really benefit from physiotherapy." The treatment of such injuries, according to the experts, can often be better done at home. The doctors published the results of their study in the medical journal "The British Medical Journal" (BMJ).
Common procedure for sprained ankles
Sprained ankles are a common problem that often arises from sports accidents. However, it is also possible to sprain your ankle if you twist unfavorably when walking. Affected people see a doctor and then usually start physiotherapy.
Physiotherapy not really more efficient than home treatment?
However, this widespread way of dealing with such injuries does not appear to be ideal. "Ankle sprain can often be treated effectively from home," the study authors say. The researchers looked at the clinically important improvements in physiotherapy after six months. There were no real benefits compared to self-treatment at home.
Study on 503 subjects with ankle injuries
The Canadian medical team examined 503 subjects aged between 16 and 79 years. They suffered from mild or moderate ankle injuries and were in an emergency room between 2009 and 2013 because of these problems.
What is part of good home treatment?
The patients were either advised to undergo physiotherapy and home care, or only home care with basic care for the injury at home, the scientists explain. This includes, for example, information about immobilization, protection of the ankle, use of ice and pain relievers and the use of compression bandages.
Physiotherapy not more effective than home treatment?
The scientists found that 43 percent of the participants in the physiotherapy group and 38 percent in the control group did not achieve an excellent recovery within six months. The authors concluded that in the acute treatment of patients with grade 1 and grade 2 sprains of the ankles in an emergency room (within 72 hours after an injury), standard intervention in early monitored physiotherapy plus usual care did not result in clinically important improvements in leads to functional restoration.
Forms of alternative interventions should be further explored
There is potential for investigating alternative interventions that would reduce morbidity in patients with these injuries, explains author Dr. Brenda Brouwer from Queen’s University. There was no clinically important effect with the standardized physiotherapy regimen that the participants were provided with. However, there is potential for the investigation of alternative interventions, the expert adds. Patients, doctors and researchers should also consider various rehabilitative exercises that can influence the success of treatment, the doctors advise. The clinical benefit of rehabilitative exercises may depend on the type, intensity and duration of the treatment. (as)