Predictors of Upper-Extremity Physical Function in Older Adults

Document Type: RESEARCH PAPER

Authors

1 Orthopaedic Hand and Upper Extremity Service Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA

2 Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA

3 Massachusetts General Hospital, Behavioral Med Services, Boston, USA

Abstract

 
Background:
Little is known about the influence of habitual participation in physical exercise and diet on upper-extremity physical function in older adults. To assess the relationship of general physical exercise and diet to upper-extremity physical function and pain intensity in older adults.
 
Methods:
A cohort of 111 patients 50 or older completed a sociodemographic survey, the Rapid Assessment of Physical Activity (RAPA), an 11-point ordinal pain intensity scale, a Mediterranean diet questionnaire, and three Patient- Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) based questionnaires: Pain Interference to measure inability to engage in activities due to pain, Upper-Extremity Physical Function, and Depression. Multivariable linear regression modeling was used to characterize the association of physical activity, diet, depression, and pain interference to pain intensity and upper-extremity function.
Results:
Higher general physical activity was associated with higher PROMIS Upper-Extremity Physical Function and lower pain intensity in bivariate analyses. Adherence to the Mediterranean diet did not correlate with PROMIS Upper-Extremity Physical Function or pain intensity in bivariate analysis. In multivariable analyses factors associated with higher PROMIS Upper-Extremity Physical Function were male sex, non-traumatic diagnosis and PROMIS Pain Interference, with the latter accounting for most of the observed variability (37%). Factors associated with greater pain intensity in multivariable analyses included fewer years of education and higher PROMIS Pain Interference.
Conclusions:
General physical activity and diet do not seem to be as strongly or directly associated with upper-extremity physical function as pain interference.

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