According to a recent study in the July 19, 2019 edition of the Clinic Rehabilitation Journal, adding a scapular exercise program to a patient who has a distal radial fracture can provide a significant benefit towards their recovery.
Here are the details of the study:
OBJECTIVE: To determine the effectiveness of a scapular exercise programme in addition to a physical therapy treatment in patients with distal radius fracture.
DESIGN: A single-blinded randomized controlled trial was conducted.
SETTING: Clinical Hospital San Borja Arriaran, Santiago, Chile.
PARTICIPANTS: A total of 102 patients above 60 years of age with extra-articular distal radius fracture were randomly divided into two groups.
INTERVENTIONS: The control group (n = 51) received a six-week physical therapy treatment; the intervention group (n = 51) received the same treatment plus a scapular exercise programme.
OUTCOME MEASURES: The two groups were assessed at baseline and after the six-week treatment. The arm function was assessed with the disabilities of the arm, shoulder and hand (DASH) questionnaire; secondary outcomes were measured by the patient-rated wrist evaluation (PRWE) questionnaire and visual analogue scale (VAS).
RESULTS: A total of 102 patients, 51 in the control group (40 women; mean age of 65.3 ± 4.8 years) and 51 in the intervention group (42 women; mean age of 67.2 ± 5.4 years), were analysed. At the end of the treatment, the difference between groups for the DASH was 16.7 points (P < 0.001), 1.5 points (P = 0.541) for the PRWE, 0.2 cm (P = 0.484) for the VAS at rest, and 1.7 cm (P < 0.001) for the VAS at movement. All differences were in favour of the intervention group.
CONCLUSION: In the short term, adding a scapular exercise programme provides a significant clinical benefit in arm function and pain relief with movement in patients above 60 years of age with extra-articular distal radius fracture treated conservatively.