Hand strengthening exercises in chronic stroke patients

Tidsskriftartikel - 2017

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STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional.

PURPOSE OF THE STUDY: This study evaluates finger flexion and extension strengthening exercises using elastic resistance in chronic stroke patients.

METHODS: Eighteen stroke patients (mean age: 56.8 ± 7.6 years) with hemiparesis performed 3 consecutive repetitions of finger flexion and extension, using 3 different elastic resistance levels (easy, moderate, and hard). Surface electromyography was recorded from the flexor digitorum superficialis (FDS) and extensor digitorum (ED) muscles and normalized to the maximal electromyography of the non-paretic arm.

RESULTS: Maximal grip strength was 39.2 (standard deviation: 12.5) and 7.8 kg (standard deviation: 9.4) in the nonparetic and paretic hand, respectively. For the paretic hand, muscle activity was higher during finger flexion exercise than during finger extension exercise for both ED (30% [95% confidence interval {CI}: 19-40] vs 15% [95% CI: 5-25] and FDS (37% [95% CI: 27-48] vs 24% [95% CI: 13-35]). For the musculature of both the FDS and ED, no dose-response association was observed for resistance and muscle activity during the flexion exercise (P > .05).

CONCLUSION: The finger flexion exercise showed higher muscle activity in both the flexor and extensor musculature of the forearm than the finger extension exercise. Furthermore, greater resistance did not result in higher muscle activity during the finger flexion exercise. The present results suggest that the finger flexion exercise should be the preferred strengthening exercise to achieve high levels of muscle activity in both flexor and extensor forearm muscles in chronic stroke patients. The finger extension exercise may be performed with emphasis on improving neuromuscular control.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 4b.

Reference

Vinstrup J, Calatayud J, Jakobsen MD, Sundstrup E, Jørgensen JR, Casaña J, Andersen LL. Hand strengthening exercises in chronic stroke patients: Dose-response evaluation using electromyography. Journal of Hand Therapy 2017;31(1):111-121.
doi: 10.1016/j.jht.2017.01.004

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