Individuals with distal radius fractures (DRF) may experience difficulty with gripping an object, painful wrist movements, sensorimotor difficulties, and swelling around the wrist and hand. A comprehensive review of the existing evidence concerning the measurement properties of common physical impairment measures can provide a valuable resource to guide hand therapy practice while managing DRF. The primary objective was to locate and assess the quality of literature on the measurement properties for the measures of physical impairment used in individuals with DRF.
Two reviewers searched PubMed, CINAHL, and EMBASE. A combination of DRF, measurement properties, and physical impairments were used as keywords, and articles were independently assessed using the Consensus-Based Standards for the Selection of Health Measurement Instruments critical appraisal tool. Primary studies were included if they examined at least 1 of the following: reliability, validity, responsiveness, or indices of true and meaningful changes for measures of physical impairment in the DRF sample. A total of 19 articles were included in this review. The quality of the studies ranged from 46% to 92%. This review suggests that measures such as assessment of grip strength and supination and pronation range of motion (ROM), using various goniometric devices, showed good intrarater and interrater reliability, construct validity, and responsiveness in individuals with DRF.
Acceptable reliability and responsiveness were reported in grip and wrist ROM assessments for measuring changes in wrist and hand function after DRF; however, wrist ROM assessed using traditional goniometric techniques were less reliable in individuals with DRF.
This study provides insight into which objective tools might be better suited for measuring outcomes related to DRF.