Supervised rehabilitation versus home exercise in the treatment of acute ankle sprains: a systematic review

Clin Sports Med. 2015 Apr;34(2):329-46. doi: 10.1016/j.csm.2014.12.001. Epub 2015 Feb 14.


In competitive sports medicine, supervised rehabilitation is the standard of care; in the general population, unsupervised home exercise is more common. We systematically reviewed randomized, controlled trials comparing outcomes for supervised rehabilitation versus home exercise programs. Supervised rehabilitation programs resulted in (1) less pain and subjective instability, (2) greater gains in ankle strength and joint position sense, and (3) inconclusive results regarding prevention of recurrent ankle sprains. We recommend supervised rehabilitation over home exercise programs owing to the improved short-term patient-recorded evidence with a strength-of-recommendation taxonomy level of evidence of 2B.

Keywords: Ankle instability; Physical therapy; Therapeutic exercise.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Ankle Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Athletic Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Recovery of Function
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sprains and Strains / rehabilitation*
  • Treatment Outcome