Author(s): Dillingham C, Horodyski M, Struk AM, Wright T
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Abstract Purpose. To determine recovery timeline of unstable distal radius fractures treated by open reduction and internal fixation with a locking volar plate. Methods. Data was collected prospectively on a consecutive series of twenty-seven patients during routine post-operative visits at 2 and 6 weeks, and 3, 6, 12 and 24 months. Range of motion measures and grip strength for both wrists were recorded. Results. Greatest gains were made within the first 3 months after surgery. Supination and pronation returned more quickly than flexion or extension, with supination and pronation both at 92\% of the uninjured wrist at 3 months. Only flexion improved significantly between 3 and 6 months. All wrist motions showed some improvement until 1 year. Grip strength returned to 94\% of the uninjured wrist by 12 months. Conclusions. Range of motion improvement will be greatest between 2 weeks and 3 months, with improvement continuing until 12 months. Grip strength should return to near normal by one year. Function and pain will improve, but not return to normal by the end of 12 months. Clinical Relevance. These results provide the surgeon with information that can be shared with patients on the anticipated timeline for normal recovery of function and strength.
This article was published in Adv Orthop
and referenced in Journal of Trauma & Treatment