Comparative ultrasound study of acute lateral ankle ligament injuries rehabilitated with conventional and jump stretch flex band programmes
The purpose of this study was to establish the difference in rehabilitation outcomes between the Jump Stretch Flex Band (JSFB) programme and conventional ankle rehabilitation programmes of acute lateral ankle ligament injuries. This study compares the process of healing under the guidance of ultrasound in both groups. The return to competitive level of sport dates were also documented and compared. A single blind randomised control study comparing the JSFB rehabilitation programme with conventional ankle rehabilitation programmes was used. Ultrasound examinations were done on all first time lateral ankle ligament injuries 72 hours post injury and repeated every two weeks during rehabilitation. Patients were divided into two groups: JSFB group and Control group. The JSFB group had a six (6) day head start to rehabilitation as ankles were rehabilitated following the Compression, Elevation, Mobilisation and Traction (CEMT) methods with the flexbands. Grade 1 injuries from the JSFB group were compared with grade 1 injuries from the Control group and grade 2 injuries with grade 2 injuries from both groups. The time from injury to return to sport (competitive level) was documented and ligaments were compared by means of swelling, thickness and appearance. With the JSFB programme the general fluid collection in the anterior recess for grade 1 injuries improved significantly (p = 0.0426). Fluid from the posterior recess tended to decrease more for both grade 1 and 2 injuries within the JSFB group. The thickness of the ligaments significantly increased in size (p = 0.0025 for grade 1; p = 0.0038 for grade 2), the ligament appearances tended to return to normal sooner and the return to sport time was significantly shorter (p = 0.0026 for grade 1; p = 0.0081 for grade 2). The study illustrated that with acute grade 1 and 2 lateral ankle ligament injuries the return to competitive level of sport was shorter with the JSFB programme with an earlier start to rehabilitation. Furthermore the fluid from the anterior as well as posterior recess of the ankle tended to decrease with the JSFB programme and ligaments significantly increased in size. It was perceived that ligaments returned to normal sooner with the JSFB programme than with conventional ankle rehabilitation programmes. However this was the subjective interpretation of the investigator.
Keywords: Jumps stretch flex bands, ultrasound, ankle injuries, ankle rehabilitation.