40% of Ankle Sprains Do Not Fully Recover

Ankle sprains are relatively common, with an annual incidence of 10 per 1,000 people.[1]  Only 11% of people with these injuries receive any supervised rehabilitation.[2]  The low utilization of physical therapy may contribute to the fact that more than 40% do not fully recover, as indicated by decreased function, persistent pain, recurrent injury, and instability.[3]

A key question to consider is whether supervised physical therapy adds to the benefits available through professional advice and independent home exercise. Exercise therapy alone can accelerate recovery but proves less effective than a program that incorporates proprioceptive training and manual therapy.[4] With ankle-sprain physical therapy, multiple treatments can be used to improve outcomes.

[1] Doherty C, Delahunt E, Caufield B, et al. The incidence and prevalence of ankle sprain injury: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective epidemiological studies.  Sports Medicine.2014; 44 (1): 123-40.

[2] Feger M, Herb C, Fraser J, et al. Supervised rehabilitation versus home exercise in the treatment of acute ankle sprains: a systematic review. Clinics in Sports Medicine. 2015; 34 (2):329-346.

[3] Gribble P, Bleakley C, Caufield B, et al. Evidence review for the 2016 International Ankle Consortium consensus statement on the prevalence, impact, and long-term consequences of lateral ankle sprains.  Br J Sports Med. 2016; doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2016-096189.

[4] Cleland J, Mintken P, McDevitt A, et al. Manual physical therapy and exercise versus supervised home exercise in the management of patients with inversion ankle sprain: A multicenter randomised clinical trial. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. 2013; 43 (7): 443-455.

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