Orthopedic inpatients' ability to accurately reproduce partial weight bearing orders

Serena Yu, Tony McDonald, Christabel Jesudason, Kathy Stiller, Thomas Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Partial weight bearing is often prescribed for patients with orthopedic injuries. Patients' ability to accurately reproduce partial weight bearing orders is variable, and its impact on clinical outcomes is unknown. This observational study measured patients' ability to reproduce partial weight bearing orders, factors influencing this, patients' and physiotherapists' ability to gauge partial weight bearing accuracy, and the effect of partial weight bearing accuracy on long-term clinical outcomes. Fifty-one orthopedic inpatients prescribed partial weight bearing were included. All received standard medical/nursing/physiotherapy care. Physiotherapists instructed patients in partial weight bearing using the hand-under-foot, bathroom scales, and/or verbal methods of instruction. Weight bearing was measured on up to 3 occasions during hospitalization using a force-sensitive insole. Factors that had the potential to influence partial weight bearing accuracy were recorded. Patients and their physiotherapists rated their perception of partial weight bearing accuracy. Three-month clinical follow-up data were retrieved from medical records. The majority of patients (72% or more) exceeded their target load, with mean peak weight bearing as high as 19.3 kg over target load (285% of target load). Weight bearing significantly increased over the 3 measurement occasions (P<.001) and was significantly associated with greater body weight (P=.04). Patients and physiotherapists were unable to accurately gauge partial weight bearing accuracy. The incidence of clinically important complications at 3 months was 9% and not significantly associated with partial weight bearing accuracy during hospitalization (P≥.45). Patients are unable to accurately reproduce partial weight bearing orders when trained with the hand-under-foot, bathroom scales, or verbal methods of instruction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e10-e18
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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