What is the quality of clinical practice guidelines for the treatment of acute lateral ankle ligament sprains in adults? A systematic review

T A Green, Grant WILLSON, Donna Martin, Kieran Fallon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
44 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Acute lateral ankle ligament sprains (LALS) are a common injury seen by many different clinicians. Knowledge translation advocates that clinicians use Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs) to aid clinical decision making and apply evidence-based treatment. The quality and consistency of recommendations from these CPGs are currently unknown. The aims of this systematic review are to find and critically appraise CPGs for the acute treatment of LALS in adults. Methods: Several medical databases were searched. Two authors independently applied inclusion and exclusion criteria. The content of each CPG was critically appraised independently, by three authors, using the Appraisal of Guidelines for REsearch and Evaluation (AGREE II) instrument online version called My AGREE PLUS. Data related to recommendations for the treatment of acute LALS were abstracted independently by two reviewers. Results: This study found CPGs for physicians and physical therapists (Netherlands), physical therapists, athletic trainers, physicians, and nurses (USA) and nurses (Canada and Australia). Seven CPGs underwent a full AGREE II critical appraisal. None of the CPGs scored highly in all domains. The lowest domain score was for domain 5, applicability (discussion of facilitators and barriers to application, provides advice for practical use, consideration of resource implications, and monitoring/auditing criteria) achieving an exceptionally low joint total score of 9% for all CPGs. The five most recent CPGs scored a zero for applicability. Other areas of weakness were in rigour of development and editorial independence. Conclusions: The overall quality of the existing LALS CPGs is poor and majority are out of date. The interpretation of the evidence between the CPG development groups is clearly not consistent. Lack of consistent methodology of CPGs is a barrier to implementation. Systematic review: Systematic review registered with PROSPERO (CRD42015025478).

Original languageEnglish
Article number394
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalBMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2019


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