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Treatment of acute ankle sprains: evidence on the use of an ankle brace is unclear
  1. Irene L C Heijnders1,2,
  2. Chung-Wei Christine Lin1
  1. 1Musculoskeletal Division, The George Institute for Global Health, Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Dr Chung-Wei Christine Lin, Musculoskeletal Division, The George Institute for Global Health, PO Box M201, Missenden Road, NSW 2050, Australia; clin{at}

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  • Kemler E, van de Port I, Backx F, et al. A systematic review on the treatment of acute ankle sprain: brace versus other functional treatment types. Sports Med 2011;41:185–97.


Ankle sprains are common, with an incidence of 60–70 per 10 000.1 Functional treatment (ie, brace, bandage or tape that allows some exercise or walking) appears more efficacious than cast immobilisation after ankle sprain,2 ,3 but the optimal type of functional treatment is unclear. A 2002 Cochrane systematic review reported a significantly shorter period in returning to work and sports if ankle braces rather than elastic bandages were used.3 However, this review included few studies and more studies are now available.4


The aim was to evaluate the effectiveness of ankle braces when compared with other functional treatment for acute ankle sprains.

Searches and inclusion criteria

The search was conducted in four databases (PubMed, EMBASE, CINAHL and CENTRAL) and the reference lists of included studies. All randomised and quasi-randomised controlled trials, published between 1990 and April 2009, written in English, Dutch or German, which compared the treatment of acute ankle sprain with braces and other functional treatment, were included. Studies had to report on one or more outcome measures (detailed below). Search terms consisted of …

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  • Contributors IH selected the systematic review and wrote the first draft of the manuscript. IH and CL contributed to interpretation of the data and revision of the final manuscript, and are guarantors.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.