Physiotherapy after volar plating of wrist fractures is effective using a home exercise program.

Krischak GD, Krasteva A, Schneider F, Gulkin D, Gebhard F, Kramer M

The objective of this study was to determine the effect of 2 different postoperative therapy approaches after operative stabilization of the wrist fractures. Participants with fractures of the distal radius after internal fixation with locking plates underwent treatment by a physical therapist with 12 sessions and an unassisted home exercise program and compared with a control group. After a 6-week period of postoperative treatment, the patients performing an independent home exercise program using a training diary showed a significantly greater improvement of the functionality of the wrist. Grip strength reached 54% and ROM in extension and flexion 79% of the uninjured side. Ulnar and radial abduction was also higher in this group. In contrast, patients who were treated by a physical therapist achieved grip strength equal to 32%, and ROM in extension and flexion of 52% of the uninjured side. Patients who were performing the home training after operation recorded an improved wrist function with a nearly 50% lower value in the PRWE score.

In the postoperative rehabilitation of wrist fractures, instructions in a home exercise program are an effective alternative to prescribed physical therapy treatment.

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2009, 90(4), 537-44

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