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Randomized Controlled Trial Comparing Early Mobilization vs Six Weeks of Immobilization in a Walking Cast Following Total Ankle Replacement

Lookup NU author(s): Jayasree Ramaskandhan, Dr Simon Kometa, David Rawlings, Malik Siddique


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© 2023 the American College of Foot and Ankle SurgeonsRehabilitation for patients after total ankle replacement traditionally involves weeks of immobilization in a plaster cast followed by progressive mobilization. In a small randomized trial, we compared teh outcomes of patients who received a 3-component cementless, unconstrained, mobile-bearing prosthesis and were initially immobilised in a plaster cast for 6 weeks to thoese who received the same prosthesis but were allowed to mobilise early. Gait, clinical, patient-reported, and radiologic outcomes were measured. The study included 20 patients, 10 in the plaster cast group and 10 in the early mobilization group, and the demographics of the groups did not differ significantly. All patients were followed-up for 24 months. There were no significant differences between the 2 groups 2 years after surgery in ankle dorsiflexion, spatiotemporal gait characteristics, American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society ankle-hindfoot scores, Timed Up and Go Test times, WOMAC (pain, stiffness, function) scores, SF-36 (quality-of-life) scores, or patient satisfaction (pain relief, daily-living, recreational activities, and overall) (all p > .05). Bone mineral density decrease of the medial malleolus and increase at middle tibia, calculated with DEXA scans, was significantly better in early mobilization than plaster cast group at one and 2 years postoperatively, but this was also the case preoperatively. The lack of differences in outcomes suggests that early ankle mobilization may be a safe and reliable method to enhance recovery following ankle arthroplasty with a 3-component cementless, unconstrained, mobile-bearing prosthesis. Compared to traditional plaster casting, patients who are engaged in early mobilization after arthroplasty may enjoy similar functional, mobility, quality-of-life, pain relief, activity level, and satisfaction outcomes.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ramaskandhan J, Kakwani R, Kometa S, Hewart P, Rawlings D, Chockalingam N, Siddique M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery

Year: 2023

Volume: 62

Issue: 4

Pages: 595-600

Print publication date: 01/07/2023

Online publication date: 02/01/2023

Acceptance date: 02/04/2022

ISSN (print): 1067-2516

ISSN (electronic): 1542-2224

Publisher: Academic Press Inc.


DOI: 10.1053/j.jfas.2022.12.005

PubMed id: 36710141


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