Probiotic treatment has been shown to improve bone formation, increase bone mass density and prevent bone loss. We aimed to assess the effect of probiotic treatment on functional recovery in elderly patients with a distal radius fracture. A total of 417 elderly patients with an acute distal radius fracture were enrolled in this double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. They were randomised to receive skimmed milk containing either a commercial probiotic (Lactobacillus casei Shirota) or placebo daily for a period of 6 months after the fracture. Treatment outcomes were the DASH (disabilities of the arm, shoulder and hand) score, pain, complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) score, active range of motion and grip strength, all of which were measured on a monthly basis. Throughout the duration of the study, DASH score, pain, CRPS score, wrist flexion and grip strength of patients receiving probiotics exhibited a significantly faster pace of improvement than those on placebo, with treatment outcomes of patients receiving Lactobacillus casei Shirota at month 4 at comparable levels with those of patients receiving placebo at month 6. In elderly patients with a fracture of the distal radius, administration of the probiotic could greatly accelerating the healing process.
Keywords: Lactobacillus casei Shirota; complex regional pain syndrome; disabilities of the arm shoulder and hand; distal radius fracture; probiotics.