Physiotherapy intervention practice patterns used in rehabilitation after distal radial fracture Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVES: To identify the type and frequency of interventions used by physiotherapists in rehabilitating patients after a distal radial fracture; and, to examine whether any patient or therapist characteristics had an effect on the frequency of interventions administered. DESIGN: Observational study. SETTING: Four metropolitan outpatient physiotherapy departments. PARTICIPANTS: 14 physiotherapists reported on 160 distal radial fracture consultations. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Physiotherapists recorded the type of interventions and time spent administering interventions during each distal radial fracture consultation. RESULTS: A combined site response rate of 70% was achieved (160/204). The most common interventions were exercise (155/160), advice (144/160), passive joint mobilisation (88/160) and massage (60/160). Patient characteristics and physiotherapist experience had little impact on the type and frequency of interventions reported by physiotherapists. CONCLUSIONS: Exercise and advice were the most frequently administered interventions for patients after a distal radial fracture irrespective of physiotherapist or patient factors. During rehabilitation, these interventions aim to restore wrist mobility and are consistent with both fracture management principles and a self management approach. Due to the routine use of exercise and advice there is a need for further research to provide high quality evidence that these interventions improve outcomes in patients after a distal radial fracture.

publication date

  • September 2013