Ankle sprains are associated with a lot of pain and other symptoms such as muscle weakness, swelling, and ankle instability among others. Being the most common musculoskeletal injuries, various functional treatments are recommended in place of surgical repair and plaster cast. Some of these functional treatments include bandaging, tapping and bracing of lateral ankle ligamentous. However, this study gives evidence to the fact that basic ankle treatments depend on a matter of preference. For instance, in some countries such as the Netherlands, Acute Lateral Ankle Ligamentous Sprains (ALALS) are commonly treated through the athletic ankle tape (Petersen, Rembitzki, Koppenburg, Ellermann, Liebau, Bruggemann & Best, 2013)
In summary, this study which consisted of a non-randomised controlled trial studied a total of 157 adult patients with ALALS that was primarily caused by an inversion of trauma. The participants of the study were therefore allocated to a four-week treatment that was done using soft braces and others a similar four-week treatment done utilizing the ankle tape. At the end of the study, the researchers found out that after a period of one year, patients in the brace group showed poorer scores as compared to those in the braces group. These scores were done about the manual anterior ankle test. Therefore, with reference to the already existing literature, the researchers concluded their findings that the recurrence of ALALS and residual symptoms are apparently similar to one year when an ALALS is treated with either a four-week tapping or soft bracing.
Despite the findings and conclusions made in this study, a critique of the results is with reference to the reliability of the devices that were primarily used to measure ankle joint laxity such as the dynamic anterior ankle tester (DAAT). According to the researchers, the reliability of this device varied from the beginning to the end of the study. For instance, at the time of the study, the device was not suitable for clinical practice. In a similar regard, the pragmatic trial used in this study had various limitations. For example, during the study, different clinicians made use of different application techniques for ankle tapping. This, in essence, impacted the uniformity of the results obtained at the end of the study.
Based on the results and findings of this particular study, I choose ankle bracing as the best and most efficient ankle sprain treatment method. The reason why I chose the soft bracing method over the ankle tapping method is owing to the side effects that are associated with the tapping method. For instance, according to this particular study, participants who completed the prescribed four weeks treatment with the ankle tapping were more prone to skin irritation as compared to those whose procedure was done using braces. Besides, this study gives evidence to the various disadvantages of treatment with ankle tape. For instance, unlike the ankle bracing treatment, ankle tapping cannot be applied when swelling, and edema is present (Kemler, Van de Port, Schmikli, Huisstede, Hoes, & Backx, 2015). Also, the tapping treatment is deemed more demanding and a little more expensive than the ankle brace treatment. This cost aspect is highly attributed to the fact that the tapping treatment requires that skin care is administered before treatment and even so, skin irritation is common. Finally, tapping treatment is considered a less effective treatment method, especially in cases of ALALS since the stability of the tape, steadily decreases at an average rate of 14% in every 30 minutes of practice.
Kemler, E., Van de Port, I., Schmikli, S., Huisstede, B., Hoes, A., & Backx, F. (2015). Effects of soft bracing or taping on a lateral ankle sprain: a non-randomised controlled trial evaluating recurrence rates and residual symptoms at one year. Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, 8(1). doi:10.1186/s13047-015-0069-6
Petersen, W., Rembitzki, I. V., Koppenburg, A. G., Ellermann, A., Liebau, C., Bruggemann, G. P., & Best, R. (2013). Treatment of acute ankle ligament injuries: a systematic review. Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, 133(8), 1129-1141. doi:10.1007/s00402-013-1742-5
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