Bone and Joint Institute

Recovery patterns over 4 years after distal radius fracture: Descriptive changes in fracture-specific pain/disability, fall risk factors, bone mineral density, and general health status

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Journal of Hand Therapy





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© 2017 Hanley & Belfus Study Design: Descriptive/Longitudinal cohort. Introduction: Distal radius fracture (DRF) is a common fall related fragility fracture that is known to be an early and independent predictor of secondary osteoporotic (OP) fractures. Changes in falls risk status, bone status and general health has not been evaluated prospectively in a population that has sustained a DRF. Purpose of the Study: The purpose of our study was to describe the status of fracture-specific pain/disability, fall risk factors such as physical activity (PA) and fear of falling (FOF), bone mineral density (BMD) and general health status (HS) in people with a DRF and how these variables change over four years with respect to sex, age, incidence of secondary falls and secondary OP fractures. Methods: Patients (n = 94) self-reported their fracture-specific pain and disability (Patient-Rated Wrist Evaluation), PA (Rapid Assessment of Physical Activity), FOF (Modified Fall Efficacy Scale), HS (12-item Short Form Health Survey) and completed dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scan based BMD assessment (lumbar spine and total hip) at baseline (1-2 weeks post-fracture), six months and four years after DRF. Descriptive statistics and general linear models were used to describe changes in recovery patterns over four years. Results: There was significant (p<0.001) improvement in fracture-specific pain/disability (60 points), FOF (1 point) and physical HS (11 points) between baseline and 4 year follow-up. There were no significant changes in PA and BMD. When stratified with respect to age, sex, presence of subsequent falls and OP fractures, there were no significant differences in fracture-specific pain/disability, PA, FOF, and BMD at baseline, six months or four years after DRF. The physical HS was significantly (p<0.05) less/poorer among those with secondary falls (lower by 2-6 points) and fractures (lower by 5-6 points) compared to those without. Similarly, mental HS was significantly (p<0.05) poorer among people with secondary falls (lower by 2-6 points) and in 50-64 year age group (lower by 3-5 points) than those without secondary falls and in 65-80 year age group, respectively. Conclusion: Post DRF, the majority of the improvement in fracture-specific pain/disability, FOF and HS was completed at six months and very small changes were observed between the six month and four year follow-up. Level of Evidence: NA.

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