Intended for healthcare professionals

Sacred Cows

Double bandaging of sprained ankles

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: (Published 19 December 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:1722
  1. Sue Wilson, epidemiologist,
  2. Matthew Cooke (, senior lecturer in accident and emergency medicine
  1. Emergency Medicine Research Group, Department of General Practice, Division of Primary Care, Public and Occupational Health, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT
  1. Correspondence to: Dr Cooke

    The healthcare establishment generally ignores mundane important issues, preferring to consider popular (sexy) topics. Who wants to assess the cost effectiveness of different management strategies for sprained ankles when you could be introducing a new technology (toys for the boys)? Most of the contacts patients have with the NHS relate to non-life threatening conditions, and their management does not require state of the art technology. However, if the NHS is to operate in the most effective and efficient manner all aspects of health care must be appropriately evaluated. This short paper uses the management of sprained ankles as an example.

    The problem

    Ankle injuries are common (estimated at 600 000 attendances at accident and emergency departments per year in …

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