gms | German Medical Science

7th EFSMA – European Congress of Sports Medicine, 3rd Central European Congress of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Annual Assembly of the German and the Austrian Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Austrian Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

26.-29.10.2011, Salzburg, Austria

Effectiveness of treatment with brace versus tape in acute lateral ankle sprains: A quasi randomized controlled trial

Meeting Abstract

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7th EFSMA – European Congress of Sports Medicine, 3rd Central European Congress of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Salzburg, 26.-29.10.2011. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2011. Doc11esm073

doi: 10.3205/11esm073, urn:nbn:de:0183-11esm0735

Published: October 24, 2011

© 2011 Kemler et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Objective: Ankle sprains are the most frequently reported sports injuries [1] often leading to pain and other impairments including chronic physical limitations and impingement. Another frequently reported problem is the recurrence of an ankle sprain. The risk of re-spraining within a period of 3 years after the initial ankle sprain was reported to range from 3 to 34%.[2] Since the nineties functional treatment of ankle sprains is highly recommended [3]. Nowadays, the regular treatment of an ankle sprain includes ankle taping, while the use of an ankle brace to prevent re-injuries is conventional [4]. The purpose of this quasi randomized controlled clinical trial is to investigate the effect of a 4-week treatment with an ankle brace (type Push Med, soft brace) compared to the treatment with an ankle tape on recurrent sprain and residual problems within one year in patients with an acute lateral ankle sprain.

Material/Methods: Patients with an acute lateral ankle sprain caused by an inversion trauma were included and sequentially randomized to the treatment group (ankle brace) or control group (ankle tape). A sports physician conducted the baseline measurements consisting of an anamnesis and a physical exam during which the ankle was examined for swelling, discoloration by haematoma, limited dorsoflexion and tenderness. Also, several tests were performed to measure passive and active ankle stability. After the baseline measurements patients had to fill in online questionnaires aimed at re-injuries and residual complaints at week 5, 9, 13, 26 and 39 post-trauma. After 52 weeks a final assessment by a sports physician took place.

Results: No significant differences were found for re-injuries. The objective residual complaints; swelling, functional outcome and active stability and the subjective residual complaint pain showed no significant differences either. Patients in the brace group scored worse on passive stability determined by the anterior drawer test (p=0.019).

Conclusion: Regarding the risk of re-injury and residual complaints, the effectiveness of a 4-week treatment with an ankle brace (type Push Med) is equal to the effectiveness of a 4-week treatment with ankle tape after an acute lateral ankle sprain. Consequently, the physician or paramedic has a choice between ankle tape and brace in which the preference of the patient can be taken into account.


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