Impaired postural control is associated with worse scores of the Health Assessment Questionnaire disability index among women with rheumatoid arthritis
Satu Luoto, Kirsi Riikonen, Mervi Siivola, Kari Laiho, Markku Kauppi, Marja Mikkelsson
Objective: To explore the relationship between functional status and different domains of postural control, and to make recommendations about the use of postural control tests in clinical practice among women with rheumatoid arthritis.
Subjects: A total of 91 women with rheumatoid arthritis and 110 controls. The patients were grouped according to the total score of the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ): HAQ1 = 0 (good, n = 21); HAQ2 = 0.1 to < 1 (impaired, n = 44); HAQ3 = 1–3 (severely impaired, n = 26).
Methods: Postural control tests: timed one-leg stance test (OLST), timed up and go test (TUG), and posturography tests on a force-plate.
Results: A poorer performance in the OLST and TUG tests was associated with higher, i.e. worse, HAQ scores. The results of the force-plate measurements were more complex. The results for healthy controls provided some clarifying information, but did not alter the main results.
Conclusion: It is recommended that both OLST and TUG tests are included in the postural control assessment design for patients with arthritis. It seems that the force-plate measurements are not as good for screening postural control impairments associated with functional disability, but they may still have their use in, for example, monitoring the effect of intervention or rehabilitation.
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