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Common fall-risk indicators are not associated with fall prevalence in a high-functioning military population with lower limb trauma

      Highlights

      • Service members with lower limb trauma are high functioning but still fall.
      • Typical fall-risk indicators are not associated with falls in this population.
      • Research needs to identify relevant fall-risk indicators for injured Service members.

      Abstract

      Background

      Persons with lower limb trauma are at high risk for falls. Although there is a wide range of measures used to assess stability and fall-risk that include performance measures, temporal-spatial gait parameters, and nonlinear dynamic stability calculations, these measures are typically derived from fall-prone populations, such as older adults. Thus, it is unclear if these commonly used fall-risk indicators are effective at evaluating fall-risk in a younger, higher-functioning population of Service members with lower limb trauma.

      Methods

      Twenty-one Service members with lower limb trauma completed a battery of fall-risk assessments that included performance measures (e.g., four-square-step-test), and gait parameters (e.g., step width, step length, step time) and dynamic stability measures (e.g., local divergence exponents) during 10 min of treadmill walking. Participants also reported the number of stumbles and falls over the previous 4 weeks. Negative Binomial and Quasibinomial Regressions were used to evaluate the strength of associations between fall-risk indicators and self-reported falls.

      Finding

      Participants reported on average stumbling 6(4) times and falling 2(3) times in the previous 4 weeks. At least one fall was reported by 62% of the participants. None of the fall-risk indicators were significantly associated with fall prevalence in this population of Service members with lower limb trauma (p > 0.1).

      Interpretation

      Despite the high number of reported falls in this young active population, none of the fall-risk indicators investigated effectively captured and quantified the fall-risk. Further research is needed to identify appropriate fall-risk assessments for young, high-functioning individuals with lower limb trauma.

      Keywords

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