Ankle sprain: Exercise and bracing may give best results

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  • Exercise and bracing superior for preventing recurrent ankle sprain and chronic ankle instability (CAI) vs surgery.

Why this matters

  • Acute ankle sprain has poor long-term prognosis, with up to 70% of patients reporting persistent residual symptoms and injury recurrence.
  • This meta-analysis can help physicians adopt best treatment strategies for their patients.

Key results

  • Exercise interventions significantly decreased the risk of sustaining a recurrent ankle sprain (OR, 0.59).
  • High dose of exercise (>900 min) showed 52% reduction in risk for injury.
  • External support interventions showed significant decrease in risk of sustaining a recurrent ankle sprain (OR, 0.38).
  • A surgical intervention had higher risk for complication and greater financial cost.
  • For pharmacological treatment, due to short follow-up time, no conclusion could be made.

Study design

  • This meta-analysis included 46 studies assessing the treatment strategies for acute ankle sprain and CAI from inception to January 2016.
  • Funding: Not declared.


  • Data extraction was conducted by 1 author only.