STUDY DESIGN: A prospective case control study.
OBJECTIVES: To investigate the risk of a fall by using functional mobility tests in patients with lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) via a comparison with patients with knee osteoarthritis (KOA).
SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: LSS is a degenerative arthritic disease in the spine that results in decreasing function, impaired balance, and gait deficit, with increased levels of leg and back pain. This physical impairment may result in an increased risk of fall later in the disease process, as shown in KOA. However, there has been no study regarding the association between the risk of a fall and LSS.
METHODS: The study was an age- and weight-matched case control study consisting of two groups: one group consisting of 40 patients with LSS who were scheduled to undergo spine surgery (LSS group) and the other group consisting of 40 patients with advanced osteoarthritis in both knees, scheduled to undergo TKA on both knees (KOA group). For both groups, four functional mobility tests, such as a Six-Meter-Walk Test (SMT), Sit-to-Stand test (STS), Alternative-Step Test (AST), and Timed Up and Go Test (TUGT), were performed.
RESULTS: There was no difference in demographic data between both groups except for body mass index. For the SMT and STS, the patients in the LSS group spent significantly more time performing these tests than the patients in the KOA. For the AST, however, patients in the KOA group presented a statistically worse performance in functional mobility, compared with the LSS group. The mean TUGT time was not statistically different between the two groups.
CONCLUSIONS: The current study highlights that patients with symptomatic LSS have a risk of a fall comparable with the patients who had degenerative KOA based on the results of functional mobility tests (SMT, STS, AST, and TUGT).