Progression of Ankle Plantarflexion Contractures and Functional Decline in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy: Implications for Physical Therapy Management

Kiefer M, Bonarrigo K, Quatman-Yates C, Fowler A, Horn PS, Wong BL. Progression of Ankle Plantarflexion Contractures and Functional Decline in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy: Implications for Physical Therapy Management. Pediatric physical therapy : the official publication of the Section on Pediatrics of the American Physical Therapy Association 2019;31:61-66

Kiefer_2019_Pediatr Phys Ther. Jan;31(1);61-66

Study describing the ankle function over time in a large cohort of patients. Including a commentary commenting that the study does not provide any information of changes over time in individual patients, which would be important for care options.

 

Abstract

PURPOSE: This study characterizes the progressive loss of ankle dorsiflexion range of motion in boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), the relationship to functional decline, and the implications for physical therapy management.

METHODS: Longitudinal data for 332 boys with DMD were extracted from medical records and analyzed. Summary statistics for age, number of visits, ankle dorsiflexion measures, and North Star Ambulatory Assessment (NSAA) scores were computed.

RESULTS: Ankle dorsiflexion motion ranged from -32.5 to 25 degrees. Progression of ankle contractures is demonstrated by a trend line: slope -1.43 per year. NSAA score was estimated to decline approximately 0.23 points per 1 degree of ankle dorsiflexion lost.

CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study describe the progression of ankle contractures and functional decline in DMD. The findings may help inform decisions regarding interventions to support participants with DMD and their families.

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