Effect on Passive Range of Motion and Functional Correlates After a Long-Term Lower Limb Self-Stretch Program in Patients With Chronic Spastic Paresis

Maud Pradines*, Marjolaine Baude, Christina Marciniak, Gerard Francisco, Jean Michel Gracies, Emilie Hutin, Nicolas Bayle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: In current health care systems, long-duration stretching, performed daily, cannot be obtained through prescriptions of physical therapy. In addition, the short-term efficacy of the various stretching techniques is disputed, and their long-term effects remain undocumented. Objective: To evaluate changes in extensibility in 6 lower limb muscles and in ambulation speed after a ≥1-year self-stretch program, the Guided Self-rehabilitation Contract (GSC), in individuals with chronic spastic paresis. Design: Retrospective study. Setting: Neurorehabilitation clinic. Participants: Patients diagnosed with hemiparesis or paraparesis at least 1 year before the initiation of a GSC and who were then involved in the GSC program for at least 1 year. Interventions: For each patient, specific muscles were identified for intervention among the following: gluteus maximus, hamstrings, vastus, rectus femoris, soleus, and gastrocnemius. Prescriptions and training for a daily, high-load, prolonged, home self-stretching program were primarily based on the baseline coefficient of shortening, defined as CSH = [(XN –XV1)/XN] (XV1 = PROM, passive range of motion; XN = normally expected amplitude). Main Outcome Measurements: Six assessments were performed per year, measuring the Tardieu XV1 or maximal slow stretch range of motion angle (PROM), CSH, 10-m ambulation speed, and its functional ambulation category (Perry's classification: household, limited, or full). Changes from baseline in self-stretched and nonself-stretched muscles were compared, with meaningful XV1 change defined as ΔXV1 >5° for plantar flexors and >10° for proximal muscles. Correlation between the composite XV1 (mean PROM for the 6 muscles) and ambulation speed also was evaluated. Results: Twenty-seven GSC participants were identified (14 women, mean age 44 years, range 29-59): 18 with hemiparesis and 9 with paraparesis. After 1 year, 47% of self-stretched muscles showed meaningful change in PROM (ΔXV1) versus 14% in nonself-stretched muscles (P <.0001, χ2). ΔCSH was –31% (95% confidence interval [95% CI] –41.5 to –15.2) in self-stretched versus –7% (95% CI –11.9 to –2.1) in nonself-stretched muscles (P <.0001, t-test). Ambulation speed increased by 41% (P <.0001) from 0.81 m/s (95% CI 0.67-0.95) to 1.15 m/s (95% CI 1.01-1.29). Eight of the 12 patients (67%) who were in limited or household categories at baseline moved to a higher functional ambulation category. There was a trend for a correlation between composite XV1 and ambulation speed (r = 0.44, P =.09) in hemiparetic patients. Conclusion: Therapists should consider prescribing and monitoring a long-term lower limb self-stretch program using GSC, as this may increase muscle extensibility in adult-onset chronic paresis. Level of Evidence: III

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1020-1031
Number of pages12
JournalPM and R
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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