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Effect of Counterforce Forearm Bracing on Wrist Extensor Muscles Performance

Chan, H. L. MSc; Ng, Gabriel Y. F. PhD

American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation: April 2003 - Volume 82 - Issue 4 - p 290-295
doi: 10.1097/01.PHM.0000057223.04648.39
Research Articles: Pain

Chan HL, Ng GYF: Effect of counterforce forearm bracing on wrist extensor muscles performance. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 2003;82:290–295.

Objectives We examined (1) the effect of a counterforce forearm brace on isokinetic strength, stretch reflex, passive stretching, and proprioception of the forearm muscles in healthy subjects and (2) the effect of different strap tensions of the brace on the above variables.

Design The dominant hand of 15 healthy subjects were tested under four randomized conditions: (1) no brace, (2) brace with minimal tension, (3) brace with 2.5 kg force tension, and (4) brace with 5 kg force tension. The tests included isokinetic wrist extensors strength, passive stretching to the wrist extensors until onset of pain, joint proprioception, and reflex latency of forearm extensor muscles. A repeated measures multivariate analysis of variance test was used to analyze the data, and significant results were further analyzed with post hoc linear contrasts with α at 0.0083.

Results There was no difference in isokinetic strength, proprioception, and stretch reflex latency among the four conditions. For passive stretching, there was a significant difference (P = 0.001) in that using a brace produced a higher pain threshold than without a brace.

Conclusion A forearm counterforce brace has no effect on strength, proprioception, and stretch reflex latency, but it increases the pain threshold.

From the Department of Physical Therapy, Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong (HLC); and the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong (GYFN).

Presented at the Annual Congress of Hong Kong Physiotherapy Association meeting, Hong Kong, November 24–25, 2001.

All correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to Gabriel Y. F. Ng, PhD, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong.

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.