Manual therapy in addition to physiotherapy does not improve clinical or economic outcomes after ankle fracture

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, 2008, 40 (6), pp. 433 - 439
Issue Date:
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Objective: The primary aim of this study was to determine the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of adding manual therapy to a physiotherapy programme for ankle fracture. Design: Assessor-blinded randomized controlled trial. Participants: Ninety-four adults were recruited within one week of cast removal for isolated ankle fracture. Inclusion criteria were: they were able to weight-bear as tolerated or partial weight-bear, were referred for physiotherapy, and experienced pain. Ninety-one participants completed the study. Methods: Participants were randomly allocated to receive manual therapy (anterior-posterior joint mobilization over the talus) plus a standard physiotherapy programme (experimental), or the standard physiotherapy programme only (control). They were assessed by a blinded assessor at baseline, and at 4, 12 and 24 weeks. The main outcomes were activity limitation and quality of life. Information on costs and healthcare utilization was collected every 4 weeks up to 24 weeks. Results: There were no clinically worthwhile differences in activity limitation or quality of life between groups at any time-point. There was also no between-group difference in quality-adjusted life-years, but the experimental group incurred higher out-of-pocket costs (mean between-group difference = AU$200, 95% confidence interval 26-432). Conclusion: When provided in addition to a physiotherapy programme, manual therapy did not enhance outcome in adults after ankle fracture. © 2008 Foundation of Rehabilitation Information.
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