Monday, December 23, 2013

Serial casting versus stretching technique to treat knee flexion contracture in children with spina bifida: A comparative study.

Al-Oraibi S, Tariah HA, Alanazi A. (2013) Serial casting versus stretching technique to treat knee flexion contracture in children with spina bifida: A comparative study. Journal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine. 2013 Jan 1;6(3):147-53. 

BACKGROUND:

Severe knee contractures that develop soon after muscle imbalance may not improve with stretching exercises and splinting. An alternative treatment is serial casting, which has been used to promote increased range of motion.

PURPOSE:

The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of using serial casting and passive stretching approaches to treat knee flexion contracture in children with spina bifida.

METHODS:

In a pre/post randomized controlled study, ten participants were included in the serial casting group, while eight participants were included in the passive stretching intervention group. The degree of knee extension was measured at baseline, immediately after intervention, and at a one-year follow-up using a standard goniometer.

RESULTS:

Both groups showed significant improvements in the degree of flexion contracture at the post-treatment evaluation and the follow-up evaluation. The serial casting group showed significant improvements in knee flexion contracture at the post-treatment evaluation, t (9)=13.4, p < 0.001, and the one-year follow-up evaluation, t (9) = 7.46, p < 0.001. The passive stretching group also showed significant improvements in knee flexion contracture at the post-treatment evaluation, t (7) =2.6, p < 0.05, and the one-year follow-up evaluation, t (7) = 3.6, p < 0.05. However, statistically significant improvements in the serial casting group compared with passive stretching group in relation to the degree of flexion contracture were found at the immediate post-treatment evaluation, F(1, 15)=246, p=0.0001, and the one-year follow-up evaluation, F (1, 15)=51.5, p=0.0001.

CONCLUSION:

The outcomes of this study provide the first evidence that serial casting may be a useful intervention in treating knee flexion contracture in children with spina bifida. However, further investigations into serial casting, as well as investigations into the use of serial casting with other interventions, are warranted.

doi: 10.3233/PRM-130247.


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