Background Persistent complaints are very common after a lateral ankle sprain. Aim To investigate possible associations between structural abnormalities on radiography and MRI, and persistent complaints after a lateral ankle sprain. Design and setting Observational case control study on primary care patients in general practice. Method Patients were selected who had visited their GP with an ankle sprain 6-12 months before the study; all received a standardised questionnaire, underwent a physical examination, and radiography and MRI of the ankle. Patients with and without persistent complaints were compared regarding structural abnormalities found on radiography and MRI; analyses were adjusted for age, sex, and body mass index. Results Of the 206 included patients, 98 had persistent complaints and 108 did not. No significant differences were found in structural abnormalities between patients with and without persistent complaints. In both groups, however, many structural abnormalities were found on radiography in the talocrural joint (47.2% osteophytes and 45.1% osteoarthritis) and the talonavicular joint (36.5% sclerosis). On MRI, a high prevalence was found of bone oedema (33.8%) and osteophytes (39.5) in the talocrural joint; osteophytes (54.4%), sclerosis (47.2%), and osteoarthritis (55.4%, Kellgren and Lawrence grade >1) in the talonavicular joint, as well as ligament damage (16.4%) in the anterior talofibular ligament. Conclusion The prevalence of structural abnormalities is high on radiography and MRI in patients presenting in general practice with a previous ankle sprain. There is no difference in structural abnormalities, however, between patients with and without persistent complaints. Using imaging only will not lead to diagnosis of the explicit reason for the persistent complaint.

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British Journal of General Practice
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van Ochten, J., Mos, M. C. E., Van Putte-Katier, N., Oei, E., Bindels, P., Bierma-Zeinstra, S., & van Middelkoop, M. (2014). Structural abnormalities and persistent complaints after an ankle sprain are not associated: An observational case control study in primary care. British Journal of General Practice, 64(626), e545–e553. doi:10.3399/bjgp14X681349