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Br Med Bull. 2016 Sep;119(1):49-62. doi: 10.1093/bmb/ldw024. Epub 2016 Jun 30.

The effectiveness of home hand exercise programmes in rheumatoid arthritis: a systematic review.

Author information

1
Centre for Health Sciences Research, University of Salford, Salford, UK.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) commonly reduces hand function. We systematically reviewed trials to investigate effects of home hand exercise programmes on hand symptoms and function in RA.

SOURCES OF DATA:

We searched: Medline (1946-), AMED, CINAHL, Physiotherapy Evidence Database, OT Seeker, the Cochrane Library, ISI Web of Science from inception to January 2016.

AREAS OF AGREEMENT:

Nineteen trials were evaluated. Only three were randomized controlled trials with a low risk of bias (n = 665). Significant short-term improvements occurred in hand function, pain and grip strength, with long-term improvements in hand and upper limb function and pinch strength.

AREAS OF CONTROVERSY:

Heterogeneity of outcome measures meant meta-analysis was not possible.

GROWING POINTS:

Evaluation of low and moderate risk of bias trials indicated high-intensity home hand exercise programmes led to better short-term outcomes than low-intensity programmes. Such programmes are cost-effective.

AREAS TIMELY FOR DEVELOPING RESEARCH:

Further research is required to evaluate methods of helping people with RA maintain long-term home hand exercise.

KEYWORDS:

exercise; hand; rehabilitation; rheumatoid arthritis; upper limb

PMID:
27365455
DOI:
10.1093/bmb/ldw024
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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