What are the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) guidelines for the workup of ankle sprains?

Updated: Jan 14, 2019
  • Author: Craig C Young, MD; Chief Editor: Sherwin SW Ho, MD  more...
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The National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) noted the following regarding imaging studies [40, 41] :

  • The Ottawa Ankle Rules remain valid for determining the need for x-rays

  • Stress radiography is unreliable for detecting acute injuries to the ankle and midfoot

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scanning accurately detect talar osteochondral lesions; both techniques are also more accurate than arthrography and tenography for detecting lateral ligamentous injury, especially when arthrography and tenography are performed 48 hours post injury

  • MRI is reliable for detecting acute tears of the anterior talofibular ligament and calcaneofibular ligament; diagnostic ultrasonography is useful but less accurate and sensitive than MRI

  • MRI is highly sensitive, specific, and accurate after acute trauma for determining the level of injury to the ankle syndesmotic ligaments

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