In older people, hip fractures frequently result in disability and death. The authors evaluated handgrip strength, an objective measure of physical function for bedridden patients, as a predictor of walking recovery in the year following fracture surgery. This multicenter prospective cohort study was made up of 504 patients, aged 70 years or more, who were admitted to the hospital for hip fracture surgery and were previously able to walk independently. A multidimensional geriatric evaluation that included a physical examination, Short Portable Mental Status Questionnaire, Geriatric Depression Scale, Charlson Index, Basic Activities of Daily Living, and grip strength was administered at the time of admission. Follow-ups were performed every 3 months for 1 year after surgery to assess functional status and survival. The walking recovery probability was evaluated using multivariable logistic regression models. The mean age of the participants was 85.3 ± 5.5 years, and 76.1% of the participants were women. The mean grip strength was greater in men (β: 6.6 ± 0.62, P < .001) and was directly related to the Short Portable Mental Status Questionnaire results (P < .001), Basic Activities of Daily Living results (P < .001), serum vitamin D levels (P = .03), and time before surgery (P < .001), whereas it was inversely related to age (P < .001), Geriatric Depression Scale score (P < .001), and Charlson Index (P < .001). After adjusting for confounders, the grip strength was directly associated with the probability of both incident and persistent walking recovery (odds ratio highest tertile vs lowest tertile, 2.84, confidence interval, 1.76-4.59 and 2.79, confidence interval, 1.35-5.79, respectively).
The study concluded that in older patients with hip fractures, early grip strength evaluation could provide significant prognostic information relating to the patient’s future functional trajectory.