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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

The effect of taping versus semi-rigid bracing on patient outcome and satisfaction in ankle sprains: a prospective, randomized controlled trial

Sacha Lardenoye1, Ed Theunissen1, Berry Cleffken13, Peter RG Brink1, Rob A de Bie2 and Martijn Poeze1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Surgery, Division of Traumasurgery, Maastricht University Medical Center+, P Debyelaan 25, 6202 AZ, Maastricht, The Netherlands

2 Department of Epidemiology, Maastricht University, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD, Maastricht, The Netherlands

3 Department of Surgery, Maasstad Ziekenhuis, Maasstadweg21, 3079 DZ, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2012, 13:81  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-81

Published: 28 May 2012



Functional treatment is a widely used and generally accepted treatment for ankle sprain. A meta-analysis comparing the different functional treatment options could not make definitive conclusions regarding the effectiveness, and until now, little was known about patient satisfaction in relation to the outcome.


Patients with acute ankle sprain received rest, ice, compression and elevation with an compressive bandage at the emergency department. After 5-7 days, 100 patients with grade II and III sprains were randomized into two groups: one group was treated with tape and the other with a semi-rigid ankle brace, both for 4 weeks. Post-injury physical and proprioceptive training was standardized. As primary outcome parameter patient satisfaction and skin complications were evaluated using a predefined questionnaire and numeric rating scale. As secondary outcome parameter the ankle joint function was assessed using the Karlsson scoring scale and range of motion.


Patient-reported comfort and satisfaction during treatment with a semi-rigid brace was significantly increased. The rate of skin complication in this group was significantly lower compared to the tape group (14.6% versus 59.1%, P < 0.0001). Functional outcome of the ankle joint was similar between the two treatment groups, as well as reported pain.


Treatment of acute ankle sprain with semi-rigid brace leads to significantly higher patient comfort and satisfaction, both with similar good outcome.