Ankle sprains are one of the most common types of musculoskeletal injuries. Physiotherapy is routinely given to patients with ankle sprains. This study aims to evaluate the efficacy of supervised physiotherapy in patients with simple grade 1 or 2 ankle sprains.
This randomized controlled trial included a total of 503 patients aged 16 years or higher who were presented for acute medical assessment and treatment of a simple grade 1 or 2 ankle sprain. Patients with multiple injuries or limiting mobility were excluded. The patients were randomly assigned to usual care or usual care, along with supervised physiotherapy. The primary outcome of the study was recovery assessed with foot and ankle outcome score (FAOS).
The results suggested no significant difference in excellent recovery between patients in the physiotherapy group (43%) and the usual care group 37%). Per protocol analysis did not indicate a positive trend towards the benefit of physiotherapy, which further declined in the opposite direction by six months. When analyzed as a continuous change score, FAOS scores remained similar and were not statistically significant.
The research concluded that usual care enhanced by supervised physiotherapy was not associated with a clinically significant improvement in patients with an acute ankle sprain.