Subclinical peroneal neuropathy: A common, unrecognized, and preventable finding associated with a recent history of falling in hospitalized patients

Louis H. Poppler, Andrew P. Groves, Gina Sacks, Anchal Bansal, Kristen M. Davidge, Jenifer A. Sledge, Heidi Tymkew, Yan Yan, Jessica M. Hasak, Patricia Potter, Susan E. Mackinnon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

PURPOSE Identification of modifiable risk factors for falling is paramount in reducing the incidence and morbidity of falling. Peroneal neuropathy with an overt foot drop is a known risk factor for falling, but research into subclinical peroneal neuropathy (SCPN) resulting from compression at the fibular head is lacking. The purpose of our study was to determine the prevalence of SCPN in hospitalized patients and establish whether it is associated with a recent history of falling. METHODS We conducted a cross-sectional study of 100 medical inpatients at a large academic tertiary care hospital in St Louis, Missouri. General medical inpatients deemed at moderate to high risk for falling were enrolled in the summer of 2013. Patients were examined for findings that suggest peroneal neuropathy, fall risk, and a history of falling. Multivariate logistic regression was used to correlate SCPN with fall risk and a history of falls in the past year. RESULTS The mean patient age was 53 years (SD= 13 years), and 59 patients (59%) were female. Thirty-one patients had examination findings consistent with SCPN. After accounting for various confounding variables within a multivariate logistic regression model, patients with SCPN were 4.7 times (95% CI, 1.4-15.9) more likely to report having fallen 1 or more times in the past year. CONCLUSIONS Subclinical peroneal neuropathy is common in medical inpatients and is associated with a recent history of falling. Preventing or identifying SCPN in hospitalized patients provides an opportunity to modify activity and therapy, potentially reducing risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)526-533
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Family Medicine
Volume14
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

Keywords

  • Accidental
  • Common peroneal
  • Falls
  • Nerve compression syndromes
  • Neuropathy
  • Peroneal nerve diseases
  • Peroneal nerve paralysis
  • Preventive medicine

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