Do Topical Anti-inflammatory creams work?

Topical creams for both pain relief and anti-inflammatories have been around now for a number of years and the reserach has always been fairly limited to poor quality or potentially biased trials which has always lead us to have a healthy scepticism of their effectiveness.

A recent study in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise seems to provide some limited but good evidence however that Diclofenac topical cream can be effective at improving pain on movement when applied twice per day.

The study compared a placebo with twice or three times daily application of Topical diclofenac diethylamine (DDEA) 2.32% gel and found that 70% of the twice daily application group had significant improvements compared to only 23% in the placebo group.

Whilst this is only one study it was a well executed randomised double-blind controlled trial with reasonable patient numbers which therefore provides some evidence that these topical creams can be effective as part of a treatment plan to manage acute sports injuries.

The research subjects were individuals with uncomplicated acute ankle sprains and therefore the effect on other injuries remains unknown but it is an encouraging finding which may improve our management of acute ankle sprains.

Currently injured? Recently sprained your ankle or other joint? Our specialist Chartered Sports Physiotherapists are experts in their field and work with both elite and amateur athletes so why not book a consultation now! Call 01483 424505 or book online 24/7!

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