Fractures of the distal radius are common. Few studies investigating the extended long term outcomes of participants following a distal radius fracture (especially beyond 2 years) and they have relied on subjective measures or single objective tests to measure participant’s final outcome.
The objective of this study was to describe the pain and disability in long-term follow-up of participants after a distal radius fracture. Participants who had previously participated in a prospective study, where baseline and standardized one-year follow-up were performed, were contacted to volunteer to participate in this follow-up (FU) study. Sixty-five participants (17 males, 48 females) with an average age of 57 (SD 13) years at the time of injury and 67 (SD 13 years) at follow-up were evaluated at an average of 11(SD 6) years (range 2-20 years).
The majority of patients (85%) participants reported no change or had less pain and disability (PRWE) (<5 point difference) at their long-term follow-up compared to their one year PRWE scores. One year PRWE scores were found to be predictive (19.1%) of the variability in long term PRWE score (p=0.02). Age, gender, and mechanism of fall were not significant predictors of worsened outcome.
The majority of people that are experiencing no or low patient reported pain and disability one year following a DRF can expect to retain their positive outcome 10-20 years later. This study did not identify how to predict worsened outcome.