Most clinically significant acute ankle injuries can be diagnosed with history, examination, and selective use of plain radiography.
Extensive validation studies have shown that the Ottawa Ankle Rules can be safely applied to adult and paediatric populations.
Selective use of plain radiography in patients with acute ankle injury is useful in identifying patients who have sustained clinically important fracture, dislocation, and osteochondral injuries. However, acute ligamentous injuries involving the anterior talofibular ligament can be diagnosed clinically and treated symptomatically.
When there are persistent symptoms (such as pain and swelling) after an acute injury, which raise suspicion of either instability or other internal derangement, such as osteochondral injury, MRI can be used if the non-urgent (or delayed or elective or similar) weight bearing x-rays show no abnormality.
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