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1. The results of three forms of treatment (mobilisation, immobilisation for six weeks, and suture with immobilisation for six weeks) for ruptures of the lateral ligament of the ankle have been compared in previously uninjured asymptomatic patients.

2. Only suture and immobilisation ensured final mechanical stability of the ankle as assessed by stress radiography. Unstable ankles were found after both mobilisation and immobilisation, but in these groups no ankle finally displayed more than 8 degrees of relative talar tilt.

3. The mean duration of disability in patients who finally became symptom-free was: after mobilisation, twelve weeks; after immobilisation, twenty-two weeks; and after suture and immobilisation, twenty-six weeks.

4. One year after injury 58 per cent of patients treated by mobilisation, 53 per cent of patients treated by immobilisation, but only 25 per cent of patients treated by suture and immobilisation, had become perfectly symptom-free.

5. For these reasons, and because simple sprains are satisfactorily treated by mobilisation, it is suggested that mobilisation may be the treatment of choice for most, perhaps all, ruptures of the lateral ligament of the ankle.

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