Study design: Assessor-blinded within-subject randomized controlled trial. Objective: To determine the effects of 6 months of regular passive movements on ankle joint mobility in people with spinal cord injury. Setting: Community, Australia. Methods: A total of 20 people with tetraplegia living in the community had one ankle randomized to a control group and the other to an experimental group. Carers administered passive movements to participants' experimental ankles for 10 min, 10 times a week for 6 months. The control ankles were left untreated. The primary outcome was passive ankle dorsiflexion range of motion. Results: Adherence was high (mean adherence rate of 96%). Ankle dorsiflexion range of motion decreased by a mean (s.d.) of 2° (4) in control ankles and increased by 2° (4) in experimental ankles. The mean (95% confidence interval, CI) effect on ankle dorsiflexion range of motion was 4° (95% CI, 2-6°). Conclusion: Regular passive movements have small effects on ankle joint mobility. It is unclear if these effects are clinically worthwhile.
- Spinal cord injury