C.M. Bleakley, Sean R O'Connor, Mark Tully, Laurence Rocke, Domhnall MacAuley, Ian Bradbury, Stephen Keegan, Suzanne M McDonough

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PROGNOSTIC FACTORS PREDICTING FUNCTIONAL OUTCOME AT FOUR MONTHS FOLLOWING ACUTE ANKLE SPRAINBleakley C.M.1, O'Connor S.R.1, Tully M.A.2, Rocke L.G.3, MacAuley D.C.1, Bradbury I.4, Keegan S.4, McDonough S.M.11University of Ulster, Health & Rehabilitation Sciences Research Institute, Newtownabbey, United Kingdom, 2Queen's University, UKCRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health (NI), Belfast, United Kingdom, 3Royal Victoria Hospital, Department of Emergency Medicine, Belfast, United Kingdom, 4Frontier Science (Scotland), Kincraig, Inverness-shire, United KingdomPurpose: To identify clinically relevant factors assessed following acute ankle sprain that predict functional recovery at four months post-injury.Relevance: Ankle sprains are one of the most common musculoskeletal injuries with an estimated 5000 new cases occurring each day in the United Kingdom. In the acute phase, ankle sprains may be associated with pain and loss of function. In the longer-term there is a risk of residual problems including chronic pain or reinjury. Few studies have sought to examine factors associated with a poor long-term prognosis.Participants: 101 patients (Age: Mean (SD) 25.9 (7.9) years; Body Mass Index (BMI): 25.3 (3.5) kg/m2) with an acute grade 1 or 2 ankle sprain attending an accident and emergency department or sports injury clinic. Exclusion criteria included complete (grade 3) rupture of the ankle ligament complex, bony ankle injury or multiple injuries.Methods: Participants were allocated as part of a randomised controlled trial to an accelerated intervention incorporating intermittent ice and early therapeutic exercise or a standard protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation intervention for one week. Treatment was then standardised in both groups and consisted of ankle rehabilitation exercises focusing on muscle strengthening, neuromuscular training, and sports specific functional exercises for a period of approximately four to six weeks. On initial assessment age, gender, mechanism of injury, presence of an audible pop or snap and the presence of contact during the injury were recorded. The following factors were also recorded at baseline and at one and four weeks post-injury: weight-bearing dorsi-flexion test, lateral hop test, presence of medial pain on palpation and a positive impingement sign. Functional status was assessed using the Karlsson score at baseline, at week four and at four months. Reinjury rates were recorded throughout the intervention phase and at four months.Analysis: A mixed between-within subjects analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to determine the effect of each factor on functional status at week four and at four months. Significance was set at a Bonferroni adjusted level of 0.0125 (0.05/4).Results: Eighty-five participants (84%) were available at final follow-up assessment. Pain on weight-bearing dorsi-flexion and lateral hop tests at week four were both associated with a lower functional score at four months post-injury (P = 0.011 and P = 0.001). No other significant interactions were observed at any other timepoint (baseline or week one). There were only two reinjuries within the four month follow-up period with a further two reported at approximately six months post-injury. We were therefore unable to determine whether any factors were associated with an increased risk of reinjury.Conclusions: Potential prognostic factors on initial or early examination after acute ankle sprain did not help predict functional recovery at four months post-injury. However, pain on weight-bearing dorsi-flexion and lateral hop tests observed at four weeks were associated with a slower rate of recovery.Implications: Some clinical tests may help identify patients at risk of poor functional recovery after acute ankle sprain. However, further work is required to examine factors which may be predictive on initial assessment.Key-words: 1. Prognostic factors 2. Recovery 3. Ankle sprainFunding acknowledgements: Physiotherapy Research Foundation, Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, Strategic Priority Fund; Department of Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland.Ethics approval: Office for Research Ethics Committee (UK).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhysiotherapy
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 23 Jun 2011


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