Karin Ydreborg, Christina Engstrand, Ingrid Steinvall, Eva-Lena Larsson; Hand Function, Experienced Pain, and Disability After Distal Radius Fracture. Am J Occup Ther 2014;69(1):6901290030. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.013102
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OBJECTIVE. We sought to explore differences in range of motion (ROM), grip strength, and self-reported pain and disability over time after plate-fixation surgery for distal radius fracture.
METHOD. We used a prospective repeated-measures research design with four measure points for a study sample of 101 patients. The Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) Questionnaire; the Global Assessment Scale; and the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure were used to assess ROM, grip strength, and pain level.
RESULTS. ROM and grip strength improved over time. Pain improved until 6 mo after surgery but greatly deteriorated from 6 to 24 mo. Concurrently, overall discomfort (global index) from the wrist extensively improved from 12 to 24 mo. DASH score decreased 20.1 points from 6 wk to 6 mo and remained stable until 24 mo.
CONCLUSION. Even when ROM and grip strength were almost fully regained at 12 mo, pain at rest and during activity was still an issue at 24 mo.
DRF treated with plate fixation enables early postoperative mobilization.
Postoperative hand therapy can contribute to recovery of ROM and grip strength during the first year after surgery.
Twelve months after surgical treatment of DRF with plate fixation, ROM and grip strength were almost fully regained.
Occupational therapy practitioners need to be aware of the risk of long-term pain issues among patients with DRF with plate fixation, especially among patients in need of plate removal.
It is important to provide patients with information about the possible lengthy effect of a DRF.
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