Elastic stockings or Tubigrip for ankle sprain: A randomised clinical trial

Muhammad J. Sultan, Adam McKeown, Iain McLaughlin, Nasser Kurdy, Charles N. McCollum

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    Background: Ankle sprains are common and generally believed to be benign and self-limiting. However, a significant proportion of patients with ankle sprains have persistent symptoms for months or even years. Aims: The study aimed to evaluate whether elastic stockings improve recovery following ankle sprain. Methodology: All patients within 72 h of ankle sprain were identified in Accident & Emergency or the Fracture Clinic. Consenting patients, stratified for sex, were randomised to either: (i) Tubigrip or (ii) class II below knee elastic stockings (ESs, Medi UK Ltd.) which were fitted immediately and worn until the patient was pain-free and fully mobile. The deep veins of the injured legs were imaged by duplex Doppler for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) at 4 weeks. Outcome was compared using the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Score (AOFAS) and SF12v2 for quality of life. Results: In the 36 randomised patients, the mean (95% confidence interval (CI)) circumference of the injured ankle treated by ES was 23.5 (23-24) cm initially and 22 (22-23) and 22 (21-22.5) cm at 4 and 8 weeks (p <0.001) compared with 24 (23-25) cm initially and 24 (23-25) and 24 (23-24.5) cm using Tubigrip (p <0.001). By 8 weeks, the mean AOFAS and SF12v2 scores were significantly improved by ES at 99 (8.1) and 119 (118-121) compared with 88 (11) and 102 (99-107) with Tubigrip (p <0.001). Of the 34 duplex images at 4 weeks, none had a DVT. Conclusion: Elastic compression improves recovery following ankle sprain. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1079-1083
    Number of pages4
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012


    • American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Score (AOFAS)
    • Ankle sprain
    • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
    • Elastic compression stockings
    • Quality of Life (QoL)
    • Randomised clinical trial


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