Functional recovery after reduced pediatric fractures of the forearm with respect to perceived limitations, common post-traumatic symptoms, range of motion, and dexterity: a prospective study

Anne M. Hepping*, Britt Barvelink, Joris J.W. Ploegmakers, Job van der Palen, Jan H.B. Geertzen, Sjoerd K. Bulstra, Jorrit S. Harbers, Martin Stevens

*Corresponding author for this work

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Purpose: Studies on functional recovery after pediatric forearm fractures are scarce. Outcome measures are usually (retrospectively) incorporated to compare treatments. How these parameters recover has only rarely fallen within the scope. Aim was to provide insight into “normal recovery” by evaluating how limitations, post-traumatic symptoms, range of motion (ROM) and dexterity recuperate.

Materials and methods: Prospective observational study regarding children 4 and 18 years with a reduced forearm fracture. Limitations, post-traumatic symptoms, ROM, and dexterity were evaluated 6 weeks, 3 and 6 months post-trauma. ROM of the unaffected side was used as a baseline.

Results: Of 54 participants 25.9% and 5.9% perceived limitations after 3 respectively 6 months. Pain, swelling and hypertrichosis were common symptoms. Movements distal from the elbow were restrained 6 weeks post-trauma. Supination and palmar flexion were most affected, followed by dorsal flexion and pronation. Palmar flexion and pronation were still affected after 3 months and associated with treatment invasiveness. Dexterity was diminished at 6 weeks only.

Conclusions: Mild limitations are common. Further investigation of the association between pain, reduced sensitivity and hypertrichosis with treatment invasiveness is warranted. Regarding ROM supination, pronation, palmar and dorsal flexion should be incorporated in future studies. Dexterity is an unsuitable outcome measure.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10-Oct-2022


  • Pediatric; forearm; fractures; treatment; recovery; functional limitations; posttraumatic symptoms; range of motion; dexterity

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