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Below-knee cast and Aircast brace improved ankle function at 3 months in acute severe ankle sprain

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Question

In patients with acute severe ankle sprain, are mechanical supports more effective than double-layer tubular compression bandages (Tubigrip) for enhancing recovery?

Methods

Design:

randomised controlled trial.

Allocation:

concealed.

Blinding:

blinded (outcome assessors).

Follow-up period:

1, 3, and 9 months.

Setting:

8 emergency departments in the UK.

Patients:

584 patients >16 years of age (mean age 30 y, 58% men) who were unable to bear weight for ⩾3 days after sprain. Exclusion criteria were contraindications to immobilisation, injury date >7 days ago, or recent fracture (except flake fracture <3 mm).

Intervention:

below-knee cast (n = 142), Aircast brace (n = 149), Bledsoe boot (n = 149), or Tubigrip (n = 144). Before randomisation, ankles were elevated and immobilised with tubular compression bandages for 2–3 days to …

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