Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Patients arriving at hospital emergency departments with acute ankle sprains can expect more timely advice and follow-up care in future after researchers in Oxford developed a new tool that will aid clinical decisions on treatment.

Hands holding a foot with the ankle coloured red to show a sprain

Ankle sprains are very common and represent up to 5% of all A&E admissions in the UK; between 20% and 30% of those patients are still struggling with pain and mobility issues nine months later.

The researchers at the Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences (NDORMS) at the University of Oxford, supported by the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre and the NIHR's Health Technology Assessment programme, aimed to develop a prognostic model for identifying those people at a higher risk of poor outcome after an acute ankle sprain.

Their study on the SPRAINED (Synthesising a clinical Prognostic Rule for Ankle Injuries in the Emergency Department) prognostic model was published in the open access BMJ Open journal on Tuesday 6 November.

Dr David Keene of NDORMS, who was part of the team who led the study, said: "Many patients arrive at A&E in a lot of pain, making these injuries very difficult to assess. Currently, the majority of patients are not referred for follow-up visits to monitor progress or physiotherapy, as clinicians cannot predict who will recover and who would potentially benefit from further care.

"The new SPRAINED tool will provide clinicians with a risk score, supporting their decision-making process when providing advice to people with ankle sprains, and when deciding on ongoing management."

The tool was developed by a team of researchers, clinical practitioners and statisticians, based on data from a previous clinical trial on ankle sprains. SPRAINED was then tested on 682 patients at 10 emergency departments in the UK.

Whilst there are limitations, the research showed that the SPRAINED tool, which uses predictors that are simple to obtain during routine clinical assessment, gave a valuable insight on who could be at higher risk of a poor outcome, namely pain, lack of confidence and ongoing difficulties with the injured ankle.

Similar stories

Immunology preprint reviews launched in Nature Reviews Immunology

Kennedy Main Research

The Oxford-Mount Sinai (OxMS) Preprint Journal Club has partnered with Nature Reviews Immunology to launch a monthly Preprint Watch column.

A more tailored approach to treating psoriatic arthritis

Arthritis Botnar Funding Main

Dr Laura Coates has been awarded £1.8M from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to explore the potential for precision medicine in the choice of biologics to reduce inflammation and pain in psoriatic arthritis.

Motion-capture to help children walk: Oxford team support new gait laboratory in Ethiopia

Main Orthopaedics and trauma

The Research at Oxford on Analysis of Motion (ROAM) team at the University of Oxford have supported CURE Ethiopia Children’s Hospital to develop and open a brand new gait laboratory, the first of its kind in the country and the only other active gait lab on the African continent outside of South Africa.

Professor Eleanor Stride recognised in New Year’s Honours list 2021

Awards Main

Statutory Professor of Biomaterials is awarded Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to Engineering

Drug may boost vaccine responses in older adults

Kennedy Main

A preliminary study shows that a drug which helps immune cells self-clean may improve vaccine protection in older adults

Living reviews launched by Oxford and Cardiff in the wake of COVID-19 research

Kennedy Main Research

In a combined effort to help COVID-19 researchers the University of Oxford and Cardiff University have launched a series of “living reviews” in Oxford University Press’s new open access journal “Oxford Open Immunology”.