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Rehab Not Necessary for Uncomplicated Ankle Fracture

Australian research shows similar results for either rehab program or advice only

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 7, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- A supervised exercise program does not confer additional benefits in activity limitation or quality of life compared with advice alone for patients with isolated and uncomplicated ankle fracture, according to research published in the Oct. 6 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Anne Moseley, Ph.D., of the University of Sydney, and colleagues randomly assigned 214 patients with an uncomplicated ankle fracture to either rehabilitation or advice alone after their immobilization cast was removed. Those in the advice group received a single session of information about exercise and a return to activity.

After six months, patients in both groups had achieved similar levels of activity and quality of life, the researchers reported.

"We have previously shown that recovery of activity limitation after ankle fracture is rapid in the first six months and that adding passive stretch or manual therapy to a supervised exercise program did not enhance the benefits of exercise alone," the authors write. "It is possible that the lack of treatment effect we observed in this trial is attributable to the fact that rehabilitation cannot accelerate this rapid recovery."

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