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Sports Med. 2003;33(15):1145-50.

Prevention and treatment of ankle sprain in athletes.

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Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida, USA.


The frequent nature of ankle sprains and persistent disability that often ensues has lead to considerable medical costs. As prevention of disease and injury becomes an increasingly important part of the practice of medicine today, we strive to understand and identify interventions that optimally reduce the frequency of ankle sprain and re-injury. In doing so, considerable morbidity and unnecessary medical expenditures may potentially be averted. The prophylactic use of ankle braces is fairly common. Recent critical evaluation of their effectiveness supports their use for at least 6 months following injury in athletes who have sustained a moderate or severe sprain; however, their role in primary prevention of ankle sprain is less evident. Functional ankle rehabilitation is the mainstay of acute ankle sprain treatment and in recent reviews has been deemed preferable to immobilisation or early surgery for initial treatment of acutely injured ankles. Furthermore, certain components of ankle rehabilitation, such as proprioceptive exercises, have been found to protect the joint from re-injury. Multifaceted ankle sprain prevention programmes that incorporate a variety of strategies for injury reduction are also effective in sprain prevention, although the relative importance of each component of such programmes warrants further investigation. Surgery for ankle sprain is principally reserved for patients who fail a comprehensive non-operative treatment programme and can be highly successful in treating chronic functional instability. This paper examines the current literature regarding common ankle sprain prevention strategies and provides a review of appropriate treatment schemes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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