BACKGROUND: The majority of these stretching devices have focused on spasticity of the leg and only a few devices have been developed for spasticity of the wrist and hand. In addition, most of these devices were large and complicated, with less easy applicability for personal use.
AIM: To investigate the effect of a stretching device for spasticity of the wrist and hand in chronic hemiparetic stroke patients.
DESIGN: Prospective single blind randomized controlled clinical trial.
METHODS: Patients were randomly assigned to either the intervention group(11 patients) or the control group(10 patients). The stretching device consisted of a circular shaped plastic plate and five holders to immobilize the fingers. In position 1, finger tips were facing forward, position 2 was 90° external rotation from position 1, and position 3 was 90° external rotation from position 2. Each position was maintained for 4 minutes and a rest period of 1 minute was given, therefore, one session was performed for 14 minutes. The stretching program was conducted 3 sessions/day, 6 days/week for 4 weeks. Spasticity(modified Ashworth scale [MAS]) and motor function(Fugl-Meyer motor assessment [FMA], Active Range of Motion [AROM]) of affected wrist and hand were assessed three times(first assessment; Pre, second assessment; Post-2 weeks, third assessment; Post-4 weeks).
RESULTS: In the intervention group, significant differences in the wrist and hand MAS and FMA were observed between three assessment times(p0.05). In the control group, no differences in MAS, FMA, and AROM were observed between three assessment times(p>0.05).
CONCLUSION: Findings showed that this stretching device was effective in terms of relieving spasticity and functional recovery.
CLINICAL REHABILITATION IMPACT: This stretching device is effective in spasticity reducing and motor function improvement. Moreover, it is useful to patient because it is easy to use and portable.