August 2017

Physical examination could help predict risk of osteoarthritis after ankle sprain

By Jordana Bieze Foster

Pain, swelling, and impaired motion within a year of an ankle sprain are associated with signs of early ankle osteoarthritis (OA), according to research from the Netherlands that could help clinicians identify and intervene early in at-risk patients.

Investigators from Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam performed physical examinations and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in 98 patients with persistent complaints following an ankle sprain. They found MRI evidence of OA (cartilage loss, osteophytes, and bone marrow edema) in the talocrural joint of 40% of patients and in the talonavicular joint of 49%.

Bone edema in the talocrural joint was significantly associated with swelling and passive plantar flexion range of motion; osteophytes in the talonavicular joint were significantly associated with passive plantar flexion range of motion and pain at the end ranges of dorsiflexion and plantar flexion.

The findings, published in the September issue of the International Journal of Sports Medicine, can help lower extremity practitioners determine which persistent complaints after an ankle sprain are most likely to be indicative of early OA, the authors wrote.


van Ochten JN, de Vries AD, van Putte N, et al. Association between patient history and physical examination and osteoarthritis after ankle sprain. Int J Sports Med 2017;38(9):717-724.

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