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The comparative effectiveness of combined lumbrical muscle splints and stretches on symptoms and function in carpal tunnel syndrome.
To compare the effectiveness of an intensive lumbrical splint/stretch combination with 3 less intensive lumbrical splint/stretch combinations on carpal tunnel symptoms and function.
Randomized Clinical Trial.
Outpatient hand therapy clinics.
Volunteers (N=124) with mild to moderate carpal tunnel syndrome.
A 4-week home regimen of nocturnal splints (lumbrical splints or cock-up splints) combined with stretches (lumbrical intensive or general) performed 6 times daily.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
The effect of the intervention on carpal tunnel symptoms and function was examined with the Carpal Tunnel Symptom Severity and Function Questionnaire (CTQ) and Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand (DASH). We also evaluated whether subjects obtained surgery at 24 weeks.
There were significant main effects over time for all outcome measures at 4, 12, and 24 weeks. There was a significant interaction effect for the CTQ-Function and DASH at 12 weeks. Post hoc analyses indicated significant differences between the lumbrical splint/general stretch and general splint/lumbrical stretch groups and the other 2 groups. At 24 weeks, a significantly greater percentage of subjects in the general splint/lumbrical stretch group achieved a clinically important improvement on the CTQ-Function. By 24 weeks, only 25.5% of subjects had elected to undergo surgery.
A combination of a cock-up splint with lumbrical intensive stretches was the most effective combination for improvements in functional gains at 24 weeks postbaseline. Our findings support further evaluation of this combination as a method of conservative carpal tunnel syndrome treatment.
Analysis of Variance
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Combined Modality Therapy
Education, Medical, Continuing
Muscle Stretching Exercises
Range of Motion, Articular
Severity of Illness Index
Pub Type(s)Comparative Study
Randomized Controlled Trial
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't