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Reduced gait and postural stability under challenging conditions in fallers with upper limb fracture

Abstract : Background While most fractures are caused by falls, not all falls result in fractures. Risk factors for falls are well established, but only weak associations have been demonstrated for risk factors for fractures. Conflicting results on the implication of bone mineral density (BMD) suggest that other risk factors should be studied, such as gait and balance disorders. Aims Gait and postural stability in challenging conditions were, therefore, compared between fallers with and without fracture. Methods We enrolled 80 adults aged 55 and older who fell in the previous year. We compared gait and posture after obstacle crossing between fallers with an upper-limb fracture (n = 38), and fallers without fracture (n = 42). Data on BMD, body mass index, handgrip strength, fear of falling, number of comorbidities, number of falls, global cognition, executive functioning and education level were collected. Results Compared to fallers without fracture, fallers with fracture had significant lower gait velocity (Likelihood-Ratio = 4.93; P = 0.03) and lower postural stability during stabilization after obstacle crossing (Likelihood-Ratio = 10.99; P < 0.001). In addition, fallers with fracture had lower handgrip strength (Likelihood-Ratio = 9.92; P = 0.002), lower education level (Likelihood-Ratio = 8.32; P = 0.004), poorer executive functions (Likelihood-Ratio = 5.81; P = 0.02, higher fear of falling (Likelihood-Ratio = 5.55; P = 0.02) and were more likely women (Likelihood-Ratio = 17.55; P < 0.001), compared to fallers without fracture. Discussion This study demonstrated that the main difference between fallers with upper-limb fracture and fallers without fracture is mobility in dynamic condition. Poor executive function and low muscular strength could also be involved. Conclusions These factors should be taken into account when assessing risk factors for fracture and implementing preventive programs.
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Submitted on : Friday, October 4, 2019 - 9:03:10 AM
Last modification on : Sunday, January 16, 2022 - 3:17:20 AM



Antoine Langeard, Kristell Pothier, Nathalie Chastan, Christian Marcelli, Chantal Chavoix, et al.. Reduced gait and postural stability under challenging conditions in fallers with upper limb fracture. Aging Clinical and Experimental Research, Springer Verlag, 2019, 31 (4), pp.483-489. ⟨10.1007/s40520-018-0992-z⟩. ⟨hal-02305312⟩



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