It’s no surprise that ankle fractures, one of the most common lower extremity fractures, can have a massive effect on gait. Prolonged degeneration of gait performance can leave anyone susceptible to pain, weakness and injury. Managing a patient’s gait during the rehabilitation stages of an injury is a critical to ensure healthy patterns are taught or relearned, as one study showed earlier this year. Clinicians put post-surgical ankle fracture patients to the test to analyze the changes in gait parameters and functional outcomes in patients with bimalleolar fractures who followed surgery and rehabilitation compared to healthy controls” (Suciu et al. 2016).
The relationship between gait and rehabilitation of ankle fracture
The study was conducted with one group of 30 patients and two gait analyses:
- Once the patients were able to bear weight
- Twelve weeks after an exercise-based rehabilitation program
Researchers found excellent results from their protocol. In the weight bearing assessment, there were significant differences in all parameters between the patient group and the controls favoring the experimental group. In the second assessment, a 12-week rehabilitation program including elastic resistance exercises and balance board exercises, multiple factors were evaluated. The results from the second assessment showed improved gait patterns
The final say on rehab after ankle fractures
Patients completed a functional questionnaire following each evaluation. Questionnaire results improved significantly from the first to second assessment; the median value of the questionnaire increased by about 50 percent. All in all, the study revealed significant improvements of all temporal and spatial gait parameters, as well as the functional outcomes in patients with surgically treated ankle fractures after twelve-week rehabilitation (Suciu et al. 2016).
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Suciu et al. 2016. Gait analysis and functional outcomes after twelve-week rehabilitation in patients with surgically treated ankle fractures. Gait Posture. 49:184-9.