Prognosis of Physical Function Following Ankle Fracture: A Systematic Review With Meta-analysis

P.R. Beckenkamp, C.W.C. Lin, S. Chagpar, R.D. Herbert, H.P. van der Ploeg, A.M. Moseley

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•STUDY DESIGN: Systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies. •OBJECTIVES: To quantify the prognosis of physical function following ankle fracture. •BACKGROUND: Information about the course of recovery of physical function after ankle fracture is essential for patient care and health care policy. The existing data have not previously been included in a meta-analysis. •METHODS: Studies were identified using searches of electronic databases (Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, PEDro, AMED, SPORTDiscus) and gray literature to September 2012. Studies of people with traumatic ankle fracture were included. Two reviewers independently screened references for inclusion, then extracted data and evaluated risk of bias. The outcome of interest was physical function (physical activity and activity limitation). Outcomes were converted to a common 100-point scale, on which higher scores indicated better outcomes. Meta-regression was conducted using generalized estimating equations. •RESULTS: Thirty-one studies (37 articles) were included. Adults with ankle fracture, present with significant activity limitation in the short term (mean at 1 month, 31.9; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 18.8, 45.1), recovered markedly but incompletely in the short to medium term (mean at 6 months, 78.3; 95% CI: 70.1, 85.1), and showed little further improvement in the long term (mean at 24 months, 86.6; 95% CI: 78.2, 95.0). Studies with older participants and predominantly male participants tended to report worse functional outcomes. •CONCLUSION: Adults typically experience a rapid initial recovery of physical function after ankle fracture (approximately 80% function at 6 months), but, on average, recovery remains incomplete 24 months after injury. PROSPERO registration number: 42012002979.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)841-851
JournalJournal of orthopaedic and sports physical therapy
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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