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Ankle pain remains after sprains

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Patients who suffer an ankle sprain can still experience pain and instability years after the injury.

Dutch researchers reviewed 31 studies that followed the progress of ankle-sprain sufferers who had received standard treatment for the injury, such as physical therapy and ankle bracing.

Although the majority of patients said their pain improved considerably after two weeks, several of the studies showed that up to a third of patients were still having pain after a year, and as many as a quarter were still in pain after three years.

Up to half of patients in some of the studies also reported lasting ankle stability problems. The authors said more research should investigate the risk factors for poor recovery from ankle sprain.

American Journal of Medicine (2008) 121: 324-331

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