Therapeutic ultrasound for acute ankle sprains.
Ankle sprains are the most common sports injury; at least one ankle ligament may be damaged (from a simple stretching to a complete rupture). Because ultrasound (high frequency sound pulses) is hypothesised to help tissue healing by increasing tissue temperature, it is often used to treat acute ankle sprains. The aim of this Cochrane review of literature was to determine the effectiveness of ultrasound therapy in patients with acute ankle sprains, compared to placebo, sham (no treatment) or other modalities (immobilisation, NSAID gel, electrotherapy).
Six randomised controlled trials, involving 606 participants, were included in this review: - Only one study, from 1977, reported effects in favour of ultrasound, when compared to immobilisation. - In other studies, ultrasound showed worse outcomes than electrotherapy or NSAID gel. - None of the trials comparing ultrasound to placebo (sham) could detect statistically significant or clinically important differences between the treatment groups. - The pooled data also resulted in non-significant differences.
In conclusion, the effects of ultrasound (versus placebo/sham) on general improvement, pain (scale, questionnaire), swelling, function (activities, ability to walk, sports, sick leave) or range of motion are considered negligible and of limited clinical importance. Based on this evidence, this review does not support the use of ultrasound therapy for acute ankle sprains. > From: Van den Bekerom et al., Cochrane Database Syst Rev (2011). All rights reserved to The Cochrane Collaboration. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
The link to the original Cochrane publication can be found here.