BMJ 2016 Nov 16;355:i5650
Most ankle sprains are simple grade 1 (stable) or 2 (mild joint laxity) sprains, but often result in some persistent impairment. Physical therapy’s role in improving recovery is unclear.
n= 504 (ages 16-79) presenting with grade 1 or 2 presenting within 72 hours of injury
Randomized to usual care (evaluation, home mgmt (RICE)) or to usual care + PT (up to seven half-hour sessions + home exercise plan).
Intention-to-treat analysis (yeah!).
Percentage reporting “excellent recovery” at 3 mos was 37% in usual care group and 43% in PT group, not a statistically significant difference. Similarly, no difference at 1 mo or at 6 mos. Subgroup analyses (boo!) also did not show differences.
Take-home point: Don’t refer mild ankle sprains to PT. PT makes no difference in these injuries.