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CASE REPORT
Delayed conservative treatment of an acute lateral ankle sprain in a non-athlete female following walking boot immobilisation

Abstract

Lateral ankle sprains are a common injury with an estimated occurrence rate of 23 000 per day in the USA. Prolonged immobilisation and delayed referral to physical therapy are associated with poorer outcomes. The patient was a 49-year-old woman working as a surgical technologist. She sustained an inversion injury to her left ankle while descending from a stool. Her primary care physician examined her, issued a Controlled Ankle Movement (CAM) walking boot and immobilised her ankle for 6 weeks. Patients with grade I and II lateral ankle sprains who are treated with early mobilisation and referral to physical therapy have demonstrated earlier return to function compared with patients who are treated with prolonged immobilisation and delayed referral. Nevertheless, it remains common for individuals who have sustained a lateral ankle sprain to be immobilised. This case study highlights the importance of early mobilisation and early physical therapy referral for patients with lateral ankle sprains.

  • orthopaedics
  • physiotherapy (rehabilitation)
  • ankle sprains
  • ankle instability
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