INTRODUCTION:To evaluate the development in patient-reported quality of life (QOL) and muscle strength in the period from surgery to 12 months postoperatively after intramedullary nailing of a tibial shaft fracture.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:The design was a prospective, follow-up cohort study. QOL was measured with the questionnaire Eq5D-5L and compared to norm data from a reference population. Recordings of pain and contralateral muscle strength (isometric maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) for knee flexion and extension were collected at 6 weeks, 3, 6, and 12 months postoperatively. Ipsilateral MVCs were recorded at 6 and 12 months.
RESULTS:Forty-nine patients were included. The mean age at the time of fracture was 43.1 years (18-79 years). Twelve months postoperatively, the mean Eq5D-5L index was 0.792 (95 % CI 0.747-0.837). Throughout the 12 months postoperatively, patients reported worse QOL compared to the reference population. Six and 12 months after surgery patients demonstrated decreased muscle strength in the injured leg compared to the non-injured leg for knee extension and flexion (P < 0.001). Twelve months postoperatively, increasing relative difference in muscle strength during knee extension show a fair correlation to worse QOL (R = 0.541, P < 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS:Throughout the 12 months postoperatively, patients reported worse QOL compared to the reference population. Muscle strength in the non-injured leg improved over time and was higher after 6 and 12 months compared with the injured leg.