Patient Reported Pain and Disability Following a Distal Radius Fracture: A Prospective Study

Emily Lalone1, *, Joy MacDermid2, Ruby Grewal3, Graham King4
1 Western Univeristy - Mechanical and Materials Engineering, 1151 Richmond Street, London, Ontario N6A 5B9, Canada
2 McMaster University - School of Rehabilitation Science, Rm 429, IAHS Victoria, Hamilton, Ontario L8S 1C7, Canada
3 The University of Western Ontario - Roth|McFarlane Hand and Upper Limb Center, St Joseph's Health Center 268 Grosvenor Street, London, Ontario N6A 4L6, Canada
4 Roth|McFarlane Hand and Upper Limb Centre - Orthopedic Surgery, London, Ontario, Canada

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© 2017 Lalone et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Western Univeristy Mechanical and Materials Engineering, 1151 Richmond Street, London, Ontario N6A 5B9, Canada; Tel: 5196612111; E-mail:



Fractures of the distal radius are common. Few studies investigating the extended long term outcomes of participants following a distal radius fracture (especially beyond 2 years) and they have relied on subjective measures or single objective tests to measure participant’s final outcome.


The objective of this study was to describe the pain and disability in long-term follow-up of participants after a distal radius fracture. Participants who had previously participated in a prospective study, where baseline and standardized one-year follow-up were performed, were contacted to volunteer to participate in this follow-up (FU) study. Sixty-five participants (17 males, 48 females) with an average age of 57 (SD 13) years at the time of injury and 67 (SD 13 years) at follow-up were evaluated at an average of 11(SD 6) years (range 2-20 years).


The majority of patients (85%) participants reported no change or had less pain and disability (PRWE) (<5 point difference) at their long-term follow-up compared to their one year PRWE scores. One year PRWE scores were found to be predictive (19.1%) of the variability in long term PRWE score (p=0.02). Age, gender, and mechanism of fall were not significant predictors of worsened outcome.


The majority of people that are experiencing no or low patient reported pain and disability one year following a DRF can expect to retain their positive outcome 10-20 years later. This study did not identify how to predict worsened outcome.

Keywords: Distal radius fracture, Patient-rated Wrist Evaluation (PRWE), Prospective cohort, Long term follow-up.