Patients with distal radius fractures (DRF) often have limited range-of-motion (ROM) in multiple planes of movement. No studies have comprehensively examined the impact of various ROM limitations on physical function.
We performed a multi-center, longitudinal study of 138 patients with conservatively managed DRF. ROM measures were taken at initial evaluation, and at 4 and 8 weeks later. Self-reported physical function was indexed by the Quick Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (QuickDASH).
Wrist extension, active thumb opposition and a full composite grip were amongst the strongest ROM measures associated with functional scores over time. However, wrist radial deviation and forearm pronation were non-significantly associated with functional scores.
Given that ROM is potentially modifiable, the identification of important ROM measures associated with QuickDASH scores can potentially facilitate patient education and refine interventions to optimize functional recovery. Well-designed randomized intervention studies are however needed to confirm these association findings.