JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL
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Joint mobilization and therapeutic exercises in the hands of patients with systemic sclerosis: A preliminary randomized controlled trial.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the effectiveness of Maitland's joint mobilization and therapeutic exercises on the functionality of the hands in patients with systemic sclerosis.

DESIGN: Randomized controlled trial.

SETTING: Tertiary university hospital.

SUBJECTS: Twenty-four patients diagnosed with systemic sclerosis according to ACR/EULAR 2013 criteria; age ⩾18 years and Cochin Hand Functional Scale (COCHIN) score ⩾10. They were randomized to physical therapy group ( n = 12) or control group ( n = 12).

INTERVENTIONS: The physical therapy group received joint mobilization and undertook therapeutic exercises, twice a week, for 12 weeks, and received a booklet with information about the disease. The control group only received the booklet about the disease.

MAIN MEASURES: The primary outcome measure was functionality of the hands (COCHIN). The secondary outcomes measures were disability (SHAQ), pain (visual analogic scale), range of motion (HAMIS and Delta finger-to-palm), grip strength (JAMAR dynamometer), and quality of life (SF12).

RESULTS: Twenty-two patients were female, with a mean age of 47.4 ± 11.1 years and 18 had limited cutaneous form. The physical therapy group showed a decrease of 11.33 points in the COCHIN in comparison with the control group ( P = 0.09). There was a significant increase in range of motion by HAMIS (3.00 ± 1.48 vs 5.42 ± 2.64, P = 0.008), reduction in pain VAS (3.42 ± 2.78 vs 7.75 ± 2.53, P < 0.001), and increase in the physical component of SF12 (38.51 ± 9.60 vs 32.65 ± 9.10, P = 0.038).

CONCLUSION: Maitland's joint mobilization and therapeutic exercises improved the functionality of the hands, reduced pain in the hands and wrists, increased range of motion, and improved quality of life in patients with systemic sclerosis.

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