Changes in fall risk and functional status in women aged 50 years and older after distal radius fracture: A prospective 1-year follow-up study
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STUDY DESIGN: Prospective cohort study. INTRODUCTION: Few studies have evaluated the course of recovery after distal radius fracture (DRF) when functional decline and fracture risk may be affected. PURPOSE OF THE STUDY: The purpose of this study was to determine changes in overall functional status over the first year after a DRF in women aged 50 years and older. METHODS: Seventy-eight women were assessed for balance, balance confidence, lower extremity strength, gait speed, fall history, physical activity levels, and self-reported wrist pain and function (Patient-Rated Wrist Evaluation) at weeks 1, 3, 9, 12, 26, and 52 after DRF. Descriptive data were generated for all variables; a 3-way mixed analysis of variance with repeated measures was used to compare differences between participants aged 50-65 years and 65 years and older. RESULTS: There was a significant improvement in functional status measures for both age categories except single-leg balance and fast gait speed, from 1 week after fracture extending up to 1 year after fracture (ranging from 6.1% improvement to 25% improvement, P < .05). There was no significant time × age interaction, as both age groups had the same pattern of recovery; however, there was significantly lower functional status in the older group across all time points. CONCLUSION: Regardless of age, monitoring and addressing functional status including upper limb function, overall strength, balance, confidence, usual gait speed, and physical activity right up to 1 year after fracture is an important consideration for clinicians treating women recovering from DRF. Given the high future fracture risk for these women, identifying functional recovery patterns can help to direct future research and determine preventative strategies.
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