Physiotherapy for sprained ankles

Does physiotherapy improve recovery from ankle sprains?

After initial treatment, sprained ankles are usually managed in general practice by supporting the ankle with a bandage or tape. Exercises may be advised, but the benefit of having them supervised by a physiotherapist is uncertain.

The Department of General Practice at a Dutch university found 11 trials comparing conventional treatment with treatment plus supervised exercises. The exercises were for strength, mobility and balance following acute lateral sprains.

Only four studies had pain as an outcome measure. There was no evidence exercises led to less pain than conventional treatment.

The evidence that exercises improve long-term joint stability was conflicting. Exercises did not significantly reduce the number of repeat sprains. One study found improved short-term function with exercises, but another found no benefit. There was no difference