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Acute ankle sprain: an update.

American Family Physician 2006 November 16
Acute ankle injury, a common musculoskeletal injury, can cause ankle sprains. Some evidence suggests that previous injuries or limited joint flexibility may contribute to ankle sprains. The initial assessment of an acute ankle injury should include questions about the timing and mechanism of the injury. The Ottawa Ankle and Foot Rules provide clinical guidelines for excluding a fracture in adults and children and determining if radiography is indicated at the time of injury. Reexamination three to five days after injury, when pain and swelling have improved, may help with the diagnosis. Therapy for ankle sprains focuses on controlling pain and swelling. PRICE (Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) is a well-established protocol for the treatment of ankle injury. There is some evidence that applying ice and using nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs improves healing and speeds recovery. Functional rehabilitation (e.g., motion restoration and strengthening exercises) is preferred over immobilization. Superiority of surgical repair versus functional rehabilitation for severe lateral ligament rupture is controversial. Treatment using semirigid supports is superior to using elastic bandages. Support devices provide some protection against future ankle sprains, particularly in persons with a history of recurrent sprains. Ankle disk or proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation exercise regimens also may be helpful, although the literature supporting this is limited.

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