Rehabilitation strategies for wrist sensorimotor control impairment: From theory to practice

Christos Karagiannopoulos, Susan Michlovitz
Journal of Hand Therapy: Official Journal of the American Society of Hand Therapists 2016, 29 (2): 154-65

UNLABELLED: This clinical review discusses the organization, neuroanatomy, assessment, clinical relevance, and rehabilitation of sensorimotor (SM) control impairment after wrist trauma. The wrist SM control system encompasses complex SM pathways that control normal wrist active range of motion and mediate wrist joint neuromuscular stability for maintaining joint function. Among various known assessment methods of wrist SM control impairment, the active wrist joint position sense test is determined to be a clinically meaningful and responsive measure for wrist SM control impairment after wrist fracture. Wrist trauma may involve significant soft tissue injury (ie, skin, ligament, muscle), which could disrupt the generation and transmission of adequate proprioceptive input from wrist mechanoreceptors, thus leading to significant joint SM impairment. Various clinical examples of wrist trauma (eg, distal radius fracture, scapholunate joint injury) along with known prognostic factors (eg, pain) that may influence wrist SM control impairment recovery are discussed to illustrate this point. This article proposes promising rehabilitation strategies toward restoring wrist joint conscious and unconscious SM control impairments, integrating current research evidence with clinical practice. These strategies require more rigorous evaluation in clinical trials.


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