Turkish Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2015 , Vol 61 , Num 4

Impaired Balance and Fall Risk in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients

Neslihan Bilge METLİ 1 ,Aydan KURTARAN 1 ,Müfit AKYÜZ 1
1 Ankara Fizik Tedavi ve Rehabilitasyon Eğitim ve Araştırma Hastanesi, Ankara, Türkiye DOI : 10.5152/tftrd.2015.69379 Objective: This study evaluated the history of falling, fear of falling and fall risk in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and investigated the relationship of these with functional status, balance, disability, walking speed, and disease activity.

Material and Methods: Sixty-five patients with RA and 43 healthy volunteers were included in the study. Their fall history within the last year was questioned. The Steinbrocker functional class system was used to identify the patients. The fear of falling was assessed using the Tinetti Falls Efficacy Scale (Tinetti FES). The Tinetti Balance and Gait Tests, Berg Balance Scale, 10-Meter Walk Test, Timed Up and Go Test, One-Leg Stand Test, and Functional Reach Test were performed. Disability was evaluated in the health assessment questionnaire (HAQ).

Results: Twenty-eight subjects in the patient group reported one or more falls within the last year. These subjects were older and had longer RA disease duration, greater fear of falling, higher HAQ scores, and functional class. According to the Tinetti total score, 28 (43.1%) patients had a low-fall risk, 22 (33.8%) had a medium-fall risk, and 15 (23.1%) had a high-fall risk.

Conclusion: The most important factors related to fall risk were the Steinbrocker Functional Class and the Tinetti FES score. Keywords : Rheumatoid arthritis, impaired balance, fall risk