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Podiatrists key to advising patients on ankle sprain self-care

Monday 21st November 2016
A new study has revealed the benefits of self-care for treating ankle pain. Image: luissantos84 via iStock
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Podiatrists are ideally positioned to provide advice to patients who have suffered an ankle sprain on how best to administer self-care for their injury, after a new study revealed the potential benefits of this form of treatment.

Research carried out in Canada and published in the British Medical Journal saw 503 ankle sprain patients monitored over a period of six months. This began with them visiting their local accident and emergency department for treatment for their injury, with all participants seeking this within 72 hours.

The ankle sprain sufferers were either given physiotherapy treatment or were provided with tips on helping their ankle to recover at home with self-care.

After six months, it was found that just 38 per cent of those administering self-care had not recovered full function in their ankles, while 43 per cent of those who had received physiotherapy were in the same situation.

As a result, this suggests that self-care may be more effective than physiotherapy treatment when ankle sprains are concerned, but podiatrists could have an important part to play in educating patients about the best way to administer self-care at home.

The study found that methods such as resting the foot, applying ice and a compression bandage, keeping the foot elevated, taking painkillers and slowly starting to take part in gradual weight bearing activities all helped to aid recovery among patients administering self-care.

Furthermore, there are calls for podiatrists, physiotherapists and patients to work together in the future to decide on appropriate rehabilitative exercises that sprain sufferers can manage but that require the right amount of strength to encourage recovery.

In conclusion, the study authors explained: "In the acute management of patients with grade 1 and 2 ankle sprains presenting to an emergency department within 72 hours of injury, a standard intervention of early supervised physiotherapy plus usual care does not lead to clinically important improvements in functional recovery up to six months after injury compared with usual care alone."

Written by Angela Newbury

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