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A survey of current consultant practice of treatment of severe ankle sprains in emergency departments in the United Kingdom
  1. M W Cooke1,
  2. S E Lamb2,
  3. J Marsh1,
  4. J Dale1
  1. 1Centre for Primary Health Care Studies, University of Warwick, UK
  2. 2Interdisciplinary Research Centre in Health, Coventry University, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr M Cooke
 Centre for Primary Health Care Studies, University of Warwick, Gibbett Hill Road, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK;


Objective: To determine current consultant practice in larger UK emergency departments in the management of severe ankle sprains.

Design: Questionnaire study to all UK emergency departments seeing more than 50 000 new patients per year.

Results: 70% response rate. Most popular treatment was ice, elevation, Tubigrip, and exercise, each of which was reported as used in most cases by over 70% of respondents. Crutches, early weight bearing, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs were each reported as used in most cases at over half of responding departments. Physiotherapy was usually only used in selected cases. Rest was usually advised for one to three days (35%). Follow up was only recommended for selected patients.

Conclusions: The results of this survey suggest that there is considerable variation in some aspects of the clinical approach (including drug treatment, walking aids, periods of rest) taken to the management of severe ankle sprains in the UK, although in some areas (for example, not routinely immobilising, early weight bearing as pain permits, use of physiotherapy, use of rest, ice, and elevation) there was concordance.

  • ankle sprains
  • ligament injury

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  • Funding: none.

  • Conflicts of interest: none declared.

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