Chronic stroke survivors with low hip bone density are particularly prone to fractures. This study shows that fear of falling is independently associated with falls in this population. Thus, fear of falling should not be overlooked in the prevention of fragility fractures in these patients.
Introduction: Chronic stroke survivors with low bone mineral density (BMD) are particularly prone to fragility fractures. The purpose of this study was to identify the determinants of balance, mobility and falls in this sub-group of stroke patients.
Methods: Thirty-nine chronic stroke survivors with low hip BMD (T-score <-1.0) were studied. Each subject was evaluated for the following: balance, mobility, leg muscle strength, spasticity, and fall-related self-efficacy. Any falls in the past 12 months were also recorded. Multiple regression analysis was used to identify the determinants of balance and mobility performance, whereas logistic regression was used to identify the determinants of falls.
Results: Multiple regression analysis revealed that after adjusting for basic demographics, fall-related self-efficacy remained independently associated with balance/mobility performance (R2 = 0.494, P < 0.001). Logistic regression showed that fall-related self-efficacy, but not balance and mobility performance, was a significant determinant of falls (odds ratio: 0.18, P = 0.04).
Conclusions: Fall-related self-efficacy, but not mobility and balance performance, was the most important determinant of accidental falls. This psychological factor should not be overlooked in the prevention of fragility fractures among chronic stroke survivors with low hip BMD.