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AIMS: Ankle fractures are common, mainly affecting adults aged 50 years and over. To aid recovery, some patients are referred to physiotherapy, but referral patterns vary, likely due to uncertainty about the effectiveness of this supervised rehabilitation approach. To inform clinical practice, this study will evaluate the effectiveness of supervised versus self-directed rehabilitation in improving ankle function for older adults with ankle fractures. METHODS: This will be a multicentre, parallel-group, individually randomized controlled superiority trial. We aim to recruit 344 participants aged 50 years and older with an ankle fracture treated surgically or non-surgically from at least 20 NHS hospitals. Participants will be randomized 1:1 using a web-based service to supervised rehabilitation (four to six one-to-one physiotherapy sessions of tailored advice and prescribed home exercise over three months), or self-directed rehabilitation (provision of advice and exercise materials that participants will use to manage their recovery independently). The primary outcome is participant-reported ankle-related symptoms and function six months after randomization, measured by the Olerud and Molander Ankle Score. Secondary outcomes at two, four, and six months measure health-related quality of life, pain, physical function, self-efficacy, exercise adherence, complications, and resource use. Due to the nature of the interventions, participants and intervention providers will be unblinded to treatment allocation. CONCLUSION: This study will assess whether supervised rehabilitation is more effective than self-directed rehabilitation for adults aged 50 years and older after ankle fracture. The results will provide evidence to guide clinical practice. At the time of submission, the trial is currently completing recruitment, and follow-up will be completed in 2024.

Original publication




Journal article


Bone jt open

Publication Date





499 - 513