‘Removable splints better than cast after ankle surgery’

July 16th, 2008 - 1:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 16 (IANS) People recover faster after ankle surgery if they are provided with a removable cast or splint to enable them to exercise, instead of having their foot plastered. In case of stable fracture, encouraging them to walk soon after surgery is also beneficial. But it may expose them to problems with the surgical wound, the study said.

Ankle fracture is common among young men and older women. In half of the cases, surgery is required to realign the bones, and the lower leg and foot are immobilised in a cast.

But plasters can lead to pain, stiffness, weakness and swelling in the ankle.

Researchers found that removable casts or splints allowing the ankle to be exercised after surgery reduced pain and increased mobility, compared to a traditional plaster cast.

But early exercise on the ankle also led to increased but minor problems with the surgical wound and changes in skin sensation.

“Getting a patient to exercise soon after surgery has significant benefits, but the increased risks to the wound show that you need to make sure that a person can do this safely before supplying them with a removable cast or splint instead of a standard cast,” said Christine Lin, lead author of the study.

The findings of the study have appeared in the latest update of the journal The Cochrane Library.

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