Effects of obesity on rehabilitation outcomes after orthopedic traumas

Heather K. Vincent*, Amanda N. Seay, Kevin R. Vincent, James W. Atchison, Kalia Sadasivan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: This study examined whether differences existed in inpatient rehabilitation outcomes and therapy participation in nonobese and obese patients with orthopedic trauma. DESIGN: This was a retrospective study of 294 consecutive patients admitted to an inpatient rehabilitation hospital. Main outcomes included participation in therapy sessions, Functional Independence Measure (FIM) ratings, walking distance and stair climb, length of stay, FIM efficiency (FIM score gain/length of stay), and discharge to home. Data were stratified by patient body mass index values (nonobese, <30 kg/m; or obese, ≥30 kg/m). RESULTS: There were no differences in therapy participation or length of stay between groups. Both total and motor FIM ratings at discharge were lower in obese patients compared with nonobese patients (P < 0.05). FIM efficiency was significantly lower in the obese than in the nonobese group (2.6 ± 1.5 vs. 3.1 ± 1.5 points gained per day; P = 0.05). Walking distance and stair climb ability were similar between groups by discharge. Even morbidly obese patients attained some improvement with independence in walking. CONCLUSIONS: Obese patients make significant functional improvement during rehabilitation, but at a lesser magnitude and rate as their nonobese counterparts. Even with morbid obesity, small but important functional gains can occur during rehabilitation for orthopedic trauma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1051-1059
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • Musculoskeletal
  • Obesity
  • Outcomes
  • Rehabilitation
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of obesity on rehabilitation outcomes after orthopedic traumas'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this