About the AFTER Trial

What will happen if I take part?

Initial assessment: If you are happy to take part in this study, a researcher will ask you some simple questions and check your medical history to confirm that you are eligible. If you are eligible and still want to take part, we will ask you to sign and date a consent form. We will also ask you to complete a short questionnaire that asks about you, your health and level of activity, and your ankle. This questionnaire should take you no more than 10 minutes to complete. 

Treatment allocation: A researcher will then enter your details into a computer. A computer program will allocate you to one of the treatment groups. You will have equal chance of being allocated either treatment, rather like the toss of a coin. This is important because this way, we can test the different treatments fairly and nobody can influence which group you are put into. Your usual healthcare professional, the researcher, or physiotherapist, will not be able to affect which treatment you get and you will not be able to choose.  At this point you will be told which treatment you have been assigned to.

The two sorts of treatments that are being used in this study are:

  • Best practice advice - this involves having an appointment where a physiotherapist examines your ankle and then gives you advice and exercises to be followed at home. This option is known as the ‘usual care’ as it is commonly provided in the NHS for people with broken ankles.
    • You will receive one session with a physiotherapist lasting 20- 60 minutes
    • Advice on managing your broken ankle and a simple set of exercises to do at home.
    • A booklet containing advice on how to progress your ankle exercises.
    • For patients who are struggling, another session or two may be offered.
  • Progressive exercise - this includes the same treatment as the best practice advice group, plus further sessions with a physiotherapist to advise on technique and progression through the exercises. This programme is delivered within several sessions over 16 weeks.
    • You will receive up to 6 sessions with a physiotherapist over 16 weeks. The first session will last 20 to 60 minutes. In the 1st session, the physiotherapist will give you advice on managing your broken ankle and a set of exercises to do at home.
    • follow-up sessions of 20 to 30 minutes with the physiotherapist to advise you on progression of your exercises
    • a booklet containing advice on how to progress your ankle exercises
    • an exercise plan to sign to support you to do the exercises you are given by the physiotherapist.
    • an exercise diary to complete at home

Fully trained NHS physiotherapists will give you your treatment.