JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Limiting the use of routine radiography for acute ankle injuries.

In the diagnosis of ankle injuries routine radiography is often productive. An international survey of the average number of radiographs made of injured ankles suggested that two projections are adequate to detect fractures. This was confirmed in a prospective study of 242 patients coming to a hospital emergency department with recent ankle injuries. All the fractures could be identified on an anteroposterior or a lateral projection, although some were more obvious on an oblique view. As well, all the fractures were associated with malleolar soft-tissue swelling. Thus, radiography for acute ankle injuries could safely be restricted to patients with soft-tissue swelling, and fractures could be diagnosed using only two routine projections, though for management purposes additional projections might be needed. With a policy of limiting the use of radiography substantial cost reductions are possible.

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