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vol. 54
Original paper

The beneficial effects of rehabilitation on hand function in patients with rheumatoid arthritis

Krystyna Księżopolska-Orłowska
Teresa Sadura-Sieklucka
Katarzyna Kasprzak
Ewa Gaszewska
Agnieszka Rodkiewicz-Bogusławska
Beata Sokołowska

Reumatologia 2016; 54, 6: 285–290
Online publish date: 2016/12/30
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Objectives: The hand is one of the main elements of the rehabilitation of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) due to deformities, which occur in approximately 90% of patients. It is a serious problem, both in the psychological and functional aspect, connected with muscle strength reduction, a limited range of motion and non-acceptance of the changes in the shape of the limb. The study aimed to assess the effect of rehabilitation on the function of the hand in rheumatoid arthritis.

Material and methods: The study group consisted of 40 women with RA. The patients had been previously treated at the Rehabilitation Department of the National Institute of Geriatrics, Rheumatology and Rehabilitation in Warsaw. The study group underwent 3 weeks of rehabilitation involving individual therapy, exercises with equipment, patient education and physical therapy. The control group included women without a diagnosis of RA, hands pain-free and fully mobile. In both groups the hand was assessed for grip value, grip quality and manipulative ability. In the study group the basis of pain intensity was noted. The measurements were performed twice – prior to the rehabilitation and after 3 weeks of rehabilitation in women with RA and once in women without hand problems.

Results: The results obtained revealed marked limitation of hand function in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The treatment resulted in an improvement of all assessed parameters except cylindrical grip, in which only a part of the findings was statistically significant.

Conclusions: The analysis of the study material showed that appropriately adjusted and conducted hand physiotherapy in women with rheumatoid arthritis contributed to the improvement of its function by pain reduction, improved value and quality of grip, and also increased manipulative ability.

rheumatoid hand, rehabilitation, hand function

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