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Gait characteristics and quality of life perception of patients following tibial plateau fracture

Yaniv Warschawski,et al. Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery

The research work examined the changes in gait metrics and quality of life of patients following tibial plateau fracture compared to healthy controls.

The work was published in ‘Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery’. The journal has an impact factor of 1.6 and is ranked 45 out of 218 Orthopedic journals.

Abstract:

Introduction:

The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the long-term functional outcome as measured by gait patterns and quality of life assessment of patients with high-energy tibial plateau fracture compared to matched controls.

Materials and methods:

Thirty-eight patients were evaluated in a case-controlled comparison. Twenty-two patients with tibial plateau fracture were evaluated after 3.1 (1.63) years (sd) from injury. Patients underwent a computerized spatiotemporal gait test and completed the SF-12 health survey. 16 healthy subjects, matched for age and gender served as a control group. The main outcome measures for this study were spatiotemporal gait characteristics, physical quality of life and mental quality of life.

Results:

Significant differences were found in all gait parameters between patients with tibial plateau fracture and healthy controls. Patients with tibial plateau fracture walked slower by 18 % compared to the control group (p<0.001), had slower cadence by 8 % compared (p = 0.002) to the control group and had shorter step length in the involved leg by 11 % and in the uninvolved leg by 12 % compared to the control group (p = 0.006 and p = 0.003, respectively). Patients with tibial plateau fracture also showed shorter single limb support (SLS) in the involved leg by 12 % compared to the uninvolved leg and 5 % in the uninvolved leg compared to the control group (p<0.001 and p = 0.017, respectively). Significant differences were found in the Short Form (SF)-12 scores.

Physical Health Score of patients with tibial plateau fracture was 65 % lower compared to healthy controls (p<0.001), and Mental Health Score of the patients was 40 % lower compared to healthy controls (p\0.001).

Finally, significant correlations were found between SF-12 and gait patterns.

Conclusion:

Long-term deviations in gait and quality of life exist in patients following tibial plateau fracture. Patients following tibial plateau fracture present altered spatiotemporal gait patterns compared to healthy controls, as well as self-reported quality of life.

The results of this study stress the need for better rehabilitation programs for patients following tibial plateau fracture, mainly to improve gait patterns and quality of life. Improving rehabilitation might also help decrease long-term effects of this injury including degenerative changes to the knee joint (secondary knee OA). 

The full paper can be viewed by clicking here

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