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AIMS: The purpose of this study was to identify factors associated with limitations in function, measured by patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs), six to nine months after a proximal humeral fracture, from a range of demographic, injury, psychological, and social variables measured within a week and two to four weeks after injury. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We enrolled 177 adult patients who sustained an isolated proximal humeral fracture into the study and invited them to complete PROMs at their initial outpatient visit within one week of injury, between two and four weeks, and between six to nine months after injury. There were 128 women and 49 men; the mean age was 66 years (sd 16; 18 to 95). In all, 173 patients completed the final assessment. Bivariate analysis was performed followed by multivariable regression analysis accounting for multicollinearity using partial R2, correlation matrices, and variable inflation factor. RESULTS: Many variables within a week of injury and between two and four weeks after injury correlated with six- to nine-month PROMs in bivariate analysis. Kinesiophobia measured within a week of injury (Tampa Scale for Kinesiophobia-11: partial R2 = 0.14; p = 0.000) and self-efficacy measured between two and four weeks (Pain Self-efficacy Questionnaire-2: partial R2 = 0.266; p < 0.001) were the strongest predictors of limitations (measured by Patient Reported Outcome Measurement Information System Upper Extremity Physical Function Computer Adaptive Test (PROMIS UE)) at six to nine months in multivariable analysis. Similar findings were observed with other types of PROM. Regression models accounted for a substantial amount of variance in all PROMs at both timepoints (e.g. 66% of the overall variance within one week, and 70% within two to four weeks for PROMIS UE at six to nine months). CONCLUSION: Recovery from a proximal humeral fracture appears to be enhanced by overcoming fears of movement or reinjury within a week after injury and greater self-efficacy (developing resilience and more effective coping strategies) within a month. Such factors are modifiable using enhanced communication skills and cognitive behavioural treatments. These findings could be a catalyst for the routine assessment and treatment of psychological and social factors in the management of patients with fractures. Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2019;101-B:715-723.

Original publication




Journal article


Bone joint j

Publication Date





715 - 723


Disability, Limitations, Outcomes, Proximal humerus fracture, Psychosocial factors, Recovery