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Scand J Rehabil Med. 1999 Mar;31(1):55-62.

Recovery of isometric grip strength after Colles' fracture: a prospective two-year study.

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  • 1Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Uppsala University, Sweden.


Grip strength during short and sustained maximal voluntary isometric contractions was measured in 28 females and 5 males with displaced Colles' fracture involving the distal radio-ulnar joint. The patients were randomized into two groups, treated either through immobilization with plaster cast or with external fixation. The recovery of isometric grip strength was followed over a two-year period. A significant difference was registered between women with plaster casts and women with external fixators six weeks after the fracture. Regaining of grip strength occurred up to one year after the fracture. The pattern of recovery was slower for women with primary external fixation. Neither the dominant nor the non-dominant injured side regained short or sustained maximal voluntary isometric contraction. The dominant injured side showed no significant difference between sides but the non-dominant injured side remained significantly weaker. It is thus important to identify hand dominance. Pain during measurements was reduced after two years, but about one-fifth of the patients still perceived pain. The present findings may serve as guidance in physiotherapy for these patients.

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