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Best Way to Regain Function After Ankle Sprain

Posted on: 09/21/2006
Ankle sprains are often treated with some type of support. Is there one that works best for first-time acute sprains? In this study, bracing versus using an elastic wrap was compared for grade I and II ankle sprains.

Patients were divided into groups based on how severe the sprain was and the treatment given. Each patient was seen for the first time within 72 hours of the ankle injury.

Grade I ankle sprains were treated with an elastic Ace wrap, an Air-Stirrup ankle brace, or an Air-Stirrup ankle brace with an Ace wrap. Grade II sprains had one extra treatment method: a fiberglass walking cast. The cast was worn for 10 days and then the Ace wrap was used.

Patients with Grade III ankle sprains were treated with the Air-Stirrup ankle brace or the walking cast for 10 days. An elastic wrap was used after 10 days for all grade III sprains.

Everyone was enrolled in the same rehab program starting during the first week after the sprain. Patients were followed until they were pain free, had full motion, and could return to sports. Other activities used to measure results included stair climbing, hopping, jumping, and toe raises.

The results showed an earlier return to preinjury level of function and activity with the Air-Stirrup and Ace wrap combination. When used together, these two supports resulted in a faster return of motion, activity, and function. This was true for all three types of sprains. Sprains treated with casting and Ace wrap took longer to recover compared to casting alon

Bruce D. Beynnon, PhD, et al. A Prospective, Randomized Clinical Investigation of the Treatment of First-Time Ankle Sprains. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. September 2006. Vol. 34. No. 9. Pp. 1401-1412.

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