Best Evidence Topics
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Does hydrotherapy help improve post ankle fracture symptoms?

Three Part Question

In [adults presenting with pain and reduced function after sustaining an ankle fracture who have been managed either conservatively or surgically] will [hydrotherapy] improve [pain and function]

Clinical Scenario

In the physiotherapy department you see two 50-year-old female patients who have both sustained ankle fractures 12 weeks ago and are mobilising with crutches. One has been conservatively managed and the other has had an open reduction–internal fixation. You wonder whether hydrotherapy would be a viable treatment option for either patient. A literature search is required in order to ascertain whether hydrotherapy is an appropriate intervention for either patient.

Search Strategy

AMED 1985 to June 2013

Embase 1980 to 2013 Week 24

Ovid MEDLINE 1946 to June Week 2 2013

Cochrane Database

[lower OR OR OR OR OR tibia$.mp OR fibula$.mp] AND fracture$.mp] AND [hydrotherap$.mp]

Search Outcome

Twelve studies were found, none of which were appropriate to answer the three-part question

Clinical Bottom Line

At present there is a dearth of evidence to answer the clinical question.