Forth Valley needs volunteers to trial new treatment for broken ankles

Forth Valley patients who have broken an ankle are being invited to take part in a new national trial to determine whether using a special plaster cast is as good as surgery.

By Allan Crow
Friday, 21st May 2021, 4:49 pm

The Fractured Ankles Management Evaluation (FAME) is open to anyone aged between l6 and 60 to sign up to help discover if special type of plaster cast provides the same outcomes and avoids the need for surgical treatment involving plates and screws.

Several have already come forward.

The study is being overseen by the Oxford Clinical Trials Research Unit within Oxford University and involves around 30 hospitals across the UK - including Forth Valley Royal Hospital.

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Xray of broken ankle

Patients who agree to take part will be put into one of the two treatment groups by a computer programme to make sure that the groups are similar and the comparison is fair.

After the operation, or the plaster cast treatment, they will have the usual additional treatment and follow-up that is currently standard practice.

Researchers will ask them about their health and abilities and return to work and usual activities, as well as any complications and specific costs.

The answers will be collected at the outset, and at eight weeks, four months and one year after the injury.

Terence Savaridas, NHS Forth Valley consultant trauma and orthopaedic surgeon, who is leading the study locally, said: “In most hospitals, simple ankle breaks are treated with a plaster cast or a walking boot.

“If the break is more complicated with broken bones out of place or, if they won’t stay in line when walking in a boot or plaster, an operation is performed to fix the bones in place with mental screws and plates.

“We can assess the effects of treatment based on functional outcomes - how well patients are and what they can do after a certain recovery time - as well as the costs of the different treatments.

"The FAME trial will help us to identify if younger patients can benefit from this special plaster cast treatment and, if outcomes are similar, it will avoid the potential risks and complications involved with surgical fixation which requires the use of metal plates and screws.”

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