Indexed on: 25 May '13Published on: 25 May '13Published in: Annals of rehabilitation medicine
To describe a hand-stretching device that was developed for the management of hand spasticity in chronic hemiparetic stroke patients, and the effects of this device on hand spasticity.Fifteen chronic hemiparetic stroke patients with finger flexor spasticity were recruited and randomly assigned to an intervention group (8 patients) or a control group (7 patients). The stretching device consists of a resting hand splint, a finger and thumb stretcher, and a frame. In use, the stretched state was maintained for 10 minutes per exercise session, and the exercise was performed twice daily for 4 weeks. Spasticity of finger flexor muscles in the two groups was assessed 3 times, 4 weeks apart, using the Modified Ashworth Scale (MAS). Patients in the intervention group were assessed twice (pre-1 and pre-2) before and once (post-1) after starting the stretching program.Mean MAS (mMAS) scores at initial evaluations were not significantly different at pre-1 in the intervention group and at 1st assessment in the control group (p>0.05). In addition, no significant differences were observed between mMAS scores at pre-1 and pre-2 in the intervention group (p>0.05). However, mMAS scores at post-1 were significantly lower than that at pre-2 in the intervention group (p<0.05). Within the control group, no significant changes in mMAS scores were observed between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd assessments (p>0.05). In addition, mMAS scores at post-1 in the intervention group were significantly decreased compared with those at the 3rd assessment in the control group (p<0.05).The devised stretching device was found to relieve hand spasticity effectively in chronic hemiparetic stroke patients.