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J Rehabil Med. 2009 Mar;41(4):231-6. doi: 10.2340/16501977-0312.

Shortened constraint-induced movement therapy in subacute stroke - no effect of using a restraint: a randomized controlled study with independent observers.

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  • 1Rehabilitation Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.



To examine the effect of using a mitt during shortened constraint-induced movement therapy for patients in the subacute phase after stroke.


Twenty-four patients with stroke (mean age 57.6 (standard deviation (SD) 8.5) years; average 7 weeks post-stroke) with mild to moderate impaired hand function.


The patients were randomized to mitt use or no mitt use on the less affected hand for 90% of waking hours for 12 days. All patients received 3 h of arm and hand training per day for 2 weeks. Assessments were made by blinded observers using the modified Motor Assessment Scale, the Sollerman hand function test, the 2-Point Discrimination test and Motor Activity Log test.


Patients in both groups showed significant improvements in arm and hand motor performance and on self-reported motor ability after 2 weeks of therapy and at 3 months follow-up. However, no statistically significant differences between the groups were found in any measures at any point in time.


In this study, no effect of using a restraint in patients with subacute stroke was found. Thus, this component in the constraint-induced therapy concept seems to be of minor importance for the outcome.

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