Research Article

Treatment for partial tears of the lateral ligament of the ankle: a prospective trial.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981; 282 doi: (Published 21 February 1981) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981;282:606
  1. S C Brooks,
  2. B T Potter,
  3. J B Rainey


    There is debate about the most appropriate form of treatment for partial tears of the lateral ligament of the ankle, which are common after inversion injuries. A prospective trial of four forms of treatment was carried out. The forms of treatment used were: no treatment with only a minimal bandage, Tubigrip support, immobilisation in plaster-of-Paris, and physiotherapy. The end point was taken when the patient returned to work or had a low score on an objective clinical scale. Early mobilisation, with or without physiotherapy, was found to offer the most rapid return to functional activity. Patients who had had their ankle immobilised in plaster-of-Paris required more days off work and longer attendance at a follow-up clinic. Inversion injuries are common and cause absence from work and discomfort for the patient. These findings suggest that mobilisation with physiotherapy, although not practical for all patients, is the most satisfactory course of treatment.