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Title: Optimising mobility outcomes after severe ankle injury in adults
Author: Keene, David J.
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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Severe ankle injuries can result in ligament rupture or a fracture. A major problem after such injuries is limitation in mobility. Weight bearing tasks, such as walking, become a problem because of pain, deficits in joint range of motion and muscle strength. This thesis studies a key dilemma in early rehabilitation, whether to immobilise the ankle or allow joint motion to improve mobility outcomes. Studies have focused on two scenarios, severe ligament rupture, and unstable fractures managed through open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF). The analysis of gait outcomes was an important component of this thesis and a novel analytical method was developed to normalise gait velocity in the estimation of speed-dependent gait outcomes. A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted including evidence to July 2014. The reporting and design of trials was universally poor. In the 6 weeks of recovery following ankle ORIF surgery, there was insufficient evidence that early ankle movements offered a benefit to mobility recovery compared with immobilisation in a cast. Ankle movements compared with immobilisation reduced the risk of venous thrombosis/thromboembolism. However, compared with cast immobilisation, the risk of deep and superficial surgical site infection and fixation-related complications were higher when ankle movements were permitted. To investigate the role of ankle supports in rehabilitation of walking after ORIF, two randomised cross-over studies were completed. In healthy participants with non-pathological gait, a walker boot induced gait abnormalities when compared with Tubigrip (elasticated bandage). There were no important differences in gait between a stirrup brace and Tubigrip. In people who had undergone ankle ORIF 6 weeks previously, a walker boot and to a lesser extent a stirrup brace offered improvements in gait symmetry and lower pain scores when compared with Tubigrip. Finally, a secondary analysis of the Collaborative Ankle Support Trial cohort (n=584) was conducted, which concluded that, in comparison to Tubigrip, 10 days of cast immobilisation provided greater probability of recovery of a range of mobility outcomes 4 weeks following injury. This thesis contributes evidence favouring a role for ankle immobilisation in improving mobility following severe ankle injury in adults. Clinicians should be aware of the benefits and risk of harms outlined, as well as the limitations in the current evidence base.
Supervisor: Lamb, Sarah E.; Willett, Keith Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Orthopaedics ; ankle ; fractures ; sprains ; gait disorders ; orthopedic apparatus