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Regular vs Intermittent Dose Ibuprofen for the Treatment of Ankle Sprains in Children

The recruitment status of this study is unknown. The completion date has passed and the status has not been verified in more than two years.
Verified June 2010 by Lawson Health Research Institute.
Recruitment status was:  Recruiting
Information provided by:
Lawson Health Research Institute Identifier:
First received: March 23, 2010
Last updated: June 2, 2010
Last verified: June 2010

Ankle sprains are common in children, and optimal pain management has not been determined.

We hypothesize that children age 7-17 years of age with acute ankle sprain randomized to receive regular dose ibuprofen will show a greater improvement in degree of pain,disability,swelling and tenderness four days following injury as compared to children who take ibuprofen only intermittently for pain relief during the same time period.

Condition Intervention
Ankle Injuries
Drug: Ibuprofen Regular Dosing
Drug: PRN dosing Ibuprofen

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: Double Blind (Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Regular vs Intermittent Dose Ibuprofen for the Treatment of Ankle Sprains in Children

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Lawson Health Research Institute:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Less Pain on Weight Bearing [ Time Frame: 4 days ]
    Pain Scale 0-10 Visual Analog Scale

  • Less Disability [ Time Frame: 4 days ]
    0-10 Visual Analog Scale

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Less Swelling [ Time Frame: 4 Days ]
  • Pain on Passive Motion [ Time Frame: 4 Days ]
  • Tenderness on examination [ Time Frame: 4 days ]

Estimated Enrollment: 90
Study Start Date: February 2010
Estimated Primary Completion Date: February 2012 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Active Comparator: Regular Ibuprofen Dosing
Regular Ibuprofen Dosing throughout 4 days of study
Drug: Ibuprofen Regular Dosing
Regular dosing
Active Comparator: PRN Ibuprofen dosing
As needed Ibuprofen dosing
Drug: PRN dosing Ibuprofen
PRN dosing Ibupofen

Detailed Description:

Acute ankle sprains are one of the most common musculoskeletal injuries in children and adolescents seeking medical attention. There are an estimated 2 million ankle injuries a year and they represent 20 percent of all sports injuries. Data from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey in 2000 showed approximately 1.375 million visits to emergency departments (ED) in the US due to ankle sprains. This represented about 1.3% of all ED visits. The majority of these injuries occur in young athletes. One epidemiological study showed the prevalence of ankle sprains to be 73% in athletes.

The majority of ankle injuries do not involve bony fractures, rather they involve the soft tissue structures of the ankle joint. An ankle sprain is a stretching, partial or complete tear of the ligaments of the ankle. The most common type of ankle sprain is a lateral sprain, usually caused by an inversion injury. Ankle sprains can be classified as a grade I to III, depending on the severity of the injury. A grade I injury is a slight stretching of the ligament; whereas, a grade III sprain is a complete tear of the ligament.

Treatment of ankle sprains is aimed at decreasing the pain and swelling and protecting the ankle ligaments from further injury. The most commonly used acute management strategy includes the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) protocol. The pharmacologic treatment of ankle sprains however, remains somewhat unclear. Analgesia with acetaminophen was historically the treatment of choice. However, with the development of over the counter NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) agents, these have become increasingly popular for the treatment of ankle sprains. NSAIDS are a heterogeneous group of drugs that have analgesic, anti-pyretic, and anti-inflammatory effects. They have been used extensively in both adults and children, with ibuprofen being the most commonly used NSAID in North America. The theoretical advantage of the anti-inflammatory action, in addition to the excellent safety profile in children, has made ibuprofen the treatment of choice for musculoskeletal pain in this population.

Controlled trials in adults of various NSAIDS in ankle sprains have shown mixed results. Although they have shown a beneficial effect compared to placebo, they have not consistently shown a benefit over other analgesic choices. Nonetheless, The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommends that NSAIDs be used to control pain and inflammation in the treatment of acute ankle sprains.

There is very little evidence for the pharmacologic treatment of ankle sprains in children. A study completed at our centre involving 80 patients with acute ankle sprains showed no beneficial effect of naproxyn over acetaminophen in the treatment of pain. However, a study from Ottawa looking at pain relief in all types of musculoskeletal injury, showed a benefit of ibuprofen over both acetaminophen and codeine for pain control. Despite the scant evidence of the benefit of NSAIDS in pediatric ankle sprains, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that NSAIDS "can help reduce swelling and pain" in the treatment of ankle sprains.

There currently are no guidelines recommending a dosing schedule of ibuprofen for acute ankle sprains in children. Whether regularly dosed ibuprofen is beneficial versus as-needed dosing of NSAIDs, remains unclear. Interestingly, an unpublished informal survey of the pediatric emergency physicians at the Children's Hospital of Western Ontario, revealed universal recommendations of RICE therapy and the use of ibuprofen for the treatment of ankle sprains. However, the recommendations for ibuprofen dosing varied widely from as-needed to regular dosing.

The purpose of this study is to examine if regular dosed ibuprofen has an advantage over as-needed dosed ibuprofen in the treatment of acute ankle sprains in children.


Ages Eligible for Study:   7 Years to 17 Years   (Child)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Ages 7-17 years who have suffered an isolated ankle sprain within the last 24 hours
  • Able to return for follow-up with research assistant in 4 days time

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Preexisting Metabolic bone disease
  • Bilateral ankle sprains
  • Fractured ankle as demonstrated on X-ray
  • Suspected Salter 1 fracture or syndesmosis injury
  • Other traumatic injuries
  • History of Gastric ulcers or renal disease
  • Known or suspected allergy/sensitivity to ibuprofen
  • Previous ankle sprain of affected ankle within last 6 months
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01092676

Contact: Rodrick Lim, MD FRCPC 519 6858500 ext 58134
Contact: Gurinder Sangha 519 6858500

Canada, Ontario
London Health Sciences Centre Recruiting
London, Ontario, Canada, N6A 5W9
Contact: Rodrick Lim    519 6858500   
Contact: Gurinder Sangha    519 6858500   
Principal Investigator: Rodrick Lim, MD         
Sub-Investigator: Gurinder Sangha         
Sub-Investigator: Michael Rieder         
Sponsors and Collaborators
Lawson Health Research Institute
Principal Investigator: Rodrick Lim, MD,FRCPC,FAAP Lawson Health Research Institute
  More Information

Responsible Party: Rodrick Lim, Children's Health Research Institute: LHRI Identifier: NCT01092676     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: R-08-502
REB 15517 ( Other Identifier: Research Ethics Board Number )
Study First Received: March 23, 2010
Last Updated: June 2, 2010

Keywords provided by Lawson Health Research Institute:

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Ankle Injuries
Leg Injuries
Wounds and Injuries
Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
Analgesics, Non-Narcotic
Sensory System Agents
Peripheral Nervous System Agents
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Anti-Inflammatory Agents
Antirheumatic Agents
Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors
Enzyme Inhibitors
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action processed this record on April 28, 2017