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Biomechanical approaches applied to the lower and upper limb for the measurement of spasticity: A systematic review of the literature

Lookup NU author(s): Alexandra Haugh, Jose-de-Jesus Salazar-Torres


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Purpose: To review and characterise biomechanical approaches for the measurement of spasticity as one component of the upper motor neurone syndrome. Method: Systematic literature searches based on defined constructs and a four-step review process of approaches used or described to measure spasticity, its association with function or associated phenomena. Most approaches were limited to individual joints and therefore, to reflect this trend, references were grouped according to which body joint(s) were investigated or whether it addressed a functional activity. For each joint, references were further sub-divided into the types of measurement method described. Results: A database of 335 references was established for the review process. The knee, ankle and elbow joints were the most popular, perhaps reflecting the assumption that they are mono-planar in movement and therefore simpler to assess. Seven measurement methods were identified: five involving passive movement (manual, controlled displacement, controlled torque, gravitational and tendon tap) and two involving active movement (voluntary and functional). Generally, the equipment described was in an experimental stage and there was a lack of information on system properties, such as accuracy or reliability. Patient testing was either by cohort or case studies. The review also conveyed the myriad of interpretations of the concept of spasticity. Conclusions: Though biomechanical approaches provide quantitative data, the review highlighted several limitations that have prevented them being established as an appropriate method for clinical application to measure spasticity. © 2005 Taylor & Francis Group Ltd.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wood DE, Burridge JH, van Wijck FM, Mcfadden C, Hitchcock RA, Pandyan AD, Haugh A, Salazar-Torres JJ, Swain ID

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Disability and Rehabilitation

Year: 2005

Volume: 27

Issue: 1-2

Pages: 19-33

Print publication date: 21/01/2005

ISSN (print): 0963-8288

ISSN (electronic): 1464-5165

Publisher: Informa Healthcare


DOI: 10.1080/09638280400014683

PubMed id: 15799142


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