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The Ankle Injury Management (AIM) trial was a pragmatic equivalence randomized controlled trial conducted at 24 hospitals in the United Kingdom that recruited 620 patients aged more than 60 years with an unstable ankle fracture. The trial compared the usual care pathway of early management with open reduction and internal fixation with initially attempting non-surgical management using close contact casting (CCC). CCC is a minimally padded cast applied by an orthopaedic surgeon after closed reduction in the operating theatre. The intervention groups had equivalent functional outcomes at six months and longer-term follow-up. However, potential barriers to using CCC as an initial form of treatment for these patients have been identified. In this report, the results of the AIM trial are summarized and the key issues are discussed in order to further the debate about the role of CCC. Evidence from the AIM trial supports surgeons considering conservative management by CCC as a treatment option for these patients. The longer-term follow-up emphasized that patients treated with CCC need careful monitoring in the weeks after its application to monitor maintenance of reduction. Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2019;101-B:1472-1475.

Original publication




Journal article


Bone joint j

Publication Date





1472 - 1475


Ankle fractures, Casts, Fracture fixation, Randomized controlled trial, Surgical, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Ankle Fractures, Ankle Injuries, Casts, Surgical, Closed Fracture Reduction, Conservative Treatment, Equivalence Trials as Topic, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Fracture Fixation, Internal, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Postoperative Care, Pragmatic Clinical Trials as Topic, Treatment Outcome