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Scientific Articles

Evaluation of Hand Orthoses in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

key information

source: Disability and Rehabilitation

year: 2018

authors: Weichbrodt J, Eriksson BM, Kroksmark AK



The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether treatment of boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy using hand orthoses could benefit joint mobility, grip strength, or fine motor function.


Eight boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy were provided with individually customised rest orthoses. The results were analysed using single-subject design. The study included a baseline and an intervention phase. A follow-up examination was also performed.


Boys with less than 50° passive wrist extension mobility were included. Wrist extension of the dominant hand increased in four and was maintained in four. Wrist extension in the non-dominant hand increased in five, was maintained in two and decreased in one. Thumb abduction in the dominant hand increased in six and two remained stable. In the non-dominant hand five increased and three remained stable. Grip strength and fine motor function showed also positive results.


This study indicates that the use of hand orthoses in Duchenne muscular dystrophy can delay development of contractures and improve passive wrist extension and thumb abduction. Hand orthoses can therefore be recommended for boys who start to develop contractures in the long finger flexors. Due to small sample size further studies are needed to confirm this result. Implications for rehabilitation Evaluation of hand orthoses in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Preserved hand function is of uttermost importance for performance of activities in the late stages of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Contractures of long finger flexors affect hand function and limit performance of daily activities. Hand orthoses can delay development of contractures and preserve hand function and give prerequisites for independence. The occupational therapists should measure wrist joint mobility regularly to be able to find the right time for intervention with hand orthoses in this progressive disorder.

organization: Sahlgrenska University Hospital Gothenburg, Sweden; Sahlgrenska Academy University of Gothenburg, Sweden

DOI: 10.1080/09638288.2017.1347721

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