Sleep disturbance is an extremely common complaint following orthopaedic trauma. In a new study presented at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), researchers assessed the functional status of 1,095 patients following acute fractures to the proximal humerus (shoulder), distal radius (wrist), ankle and tibial plateau (shinbone), using standard orthopaedic tests and assessments.
In "Sleep Disturbance Following Fracture is Related to Emotional Well Being Rather than Functional Results," patient sleep difficulty was compared to the overall functional and emotional status of each patient at baseline, and at three, six and 12 months following treatment. The rate of sleep difficulty was calculated as the percentage of patients reporting moderate, severe or complete difficulty sleeping at each interval. At 12 months follow up, poor sleep was independently associated with poor emotional status, but not poor functional status.
According to the study authors, the mental health status of patients with sleep difficulty in the later stages of fracture healing should be carefully assessed in order to provide the highest level of care. In addition, orthopaedic trauma surgeons should counsel patients on the expectations of difficult sleeping following acute fractures.