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Aircast Air-Stirrup better alternative for ankle sprains than tubular bandage

It has been estimated that there is one ankle injury per 10,000 people each day¹. Traditionally, A&E departments around the world have tended to deal with the majority of acute ankle sprains by recommending the use of a tubular bandage with the traditional R.I.C.E treatment. However, according to a new study published in The Lancet², ankle sprains could be better treated with a short period of immobilisation in a below-the-knee cast (plaster or synthetic material) or an Air-Stirrup® Ankle Brace.

Prof. S.E. Lamb, an expert in rehabilitation at the UK’s University of Warwick conducted a randomised, controlled trial assessing 584 patients with acute ankle sprain from eight UK emergency departments. Prof. Lamb said: "Contrary to popular clinical opinion, a period of immobilisation was the most effective strategy for promoting rapid recovery. This was achieved by the application of a below-the-knee cast. The Aircast brace was a suitable alternative. Tubular compression, which is currently the most commonly used of all the supports investigated, was, consistently, the worst treatment."

The study recommended the use of a cast or the semi-rigid Aircast Air-Stirrup over a period of 10 days and discouraged the use of tubular bandages.

This study also noted that 46 patients turned down the opportunity to join the trial when told that they might be given a non-removable cast with a further 23 participants withdrawing from the cast group after randomisation either because they didn’t want to wear a cast or because staff were unavailable to apply the cast, or because the participant was unable to return to the hospital for cast removal. The issues of convenience, personal hygiene and comfort all played a part in this opt-out and it was also noted that non-removable casts were not universally accepted in a number of clinics. In addition, the report showed that 13.6% of the cast group used private physiotherapists versus 8.2% for the Aircast group.

For A&E departments the world over, the issues of cost, practicality, technical department administration, patient acceptance and patient benefit are always a time-consuming conundrum, rarely providing a happy win-win situation. But this new study certainly seems to confirm that the Aircast Air-Stirrup offers an undeniable patient benefit (8% improvement over other methods).

Since 1978, the Aircast Air-Stirrup has been growing in popularity as the "standard of care" for the functional management of ankle injuries and has been cited in over 100 medical journals for its superior performance in helping to heal ankle injuries.

The Aircast Air-Stirrup features anatomically designed shells lined with the patented Duplex™ aircell system. This exclusive system incorporates two pre-inflated overlapping aircells, distal and proximal, which provide support and produce graduated compression during ambulation. The compression promotes efficient oedema reduction as well as helping to accelerate rehabilitation.

¹ Kannus P, Renstrom P. Treatment for acute tears of the lateral ligaments of the ankle. Operation, cast, or early controlled mobilization. J Bone Joint Surg Am 73:305–312, 1991
² Mechanical supports for acute, severe ankle sprain: a pragmatic, multicentre, randomised controlled trial Prof SE Lamb DPhil, JL Marsh PhD, Prof JL Hutton PhD, R Nakash PhD, Prof MW Cooke PhD, on behalf of The Collaborative Ankle Support Trial (CAST Group) The Lancet, Volume 373, Issue 9663, Pages 575 - 581, 14 February 2009   

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