Responsiveness of the active wrist joint position sense test after distal radius fracture intervention

Christos Karagiannopoulos, Michael Sitler, Susan Michlovitz, Carole Tucker, Ryan Tierney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Study Design Prospective cohort study. Introduction The active wrist joint position sense (JPS) test has been determined to be a clinically useful test for assessing wrist sensorimotor (SM) status after distal radius fracture (DRF). Its responsiveness is yet to be determined. Purpose of the Study Primary study aim was to determine the active wrist JPS test responsiveness to detect change in wrist SM status at 8 and 12 weeks after DRF treatment intervention. Secondary aims were to compare group (nonsurgical, surgical, high, and low pain) test responsiveness; compare pain-level group participants test scores; determine the relationship between test minimal clinically important difference (MCID) value and function; compare functional outcomes across assessment times; and determine the Patient Global Impression of Change Scale intrarater reliability. Methods A total of 33 male and female participants were tested at baseline, 8, and 12 weeks after nonsurgical (n = 13) and surgical (n = 20) DRF treatment interventions. Distribution-based analysis encompassed both group- (ie, effect size, standardized response mean) and individual-based (ie, minimum detectable change) statistical indices. Anchor-based analysis determined the MCID value by linking test scores to the Patient Global Impression of Change Scale. Results The active wrist JPS test is highly responsive based on effect size (8 weeks = 1.53 and 12 weeks = 2.36) and standardized response mean (8 weeks = 1.57 and 12 weeks = 2.14). Statistically significant minimum detectable change values were 4.28° and 4.94° at 8 and 12 weeks, respectively. Clinically meaningful MCID values were 5.00° and 7.09° at 8 and 12 weeks, respectively. Between treatment type and pain-level group responsiveness levels were not significantly different. High-pain participants demonstrated significantly greater JPS deficit. Test MCID values and function were significantly associated. Discussion This is the first study to determine the active wrist JPS test responsiveness as reflected by its group- and individual-based statistical indices following DRF surgical and non-surgical interventions among low- and high-pain level participants. The statistical analysis approach, which was used to determine the aforementioned variables of the active wrist JPS test, is consistent with current research. This study's strengths included its design, methodology, and statistical approach. The study findings must be interpreted, however, within the content of several methodological limitations. Conclusions The active wrist JPS test was determined to be highly responsive to detect wrist SM status change at 8 and 12 weeks regardless of treatment type or pain level. Clinicians can use this test with confidence to measure clinically meaningful SM impairment after DRF treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)474-482
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Hand Therapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Active wrist JPS test
  • Responsiveness
  • Wrist Fractures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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