Joint range of motion limitations in children and young adults with spinal muscular atrophy

Hui Yi WANG, Yun Huei JU, Shu Mei CHEN, Sing Kai LO, Yuh Jyh JONG

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Objectives: To elicit descriptive data about limited joint range of motion (ROM) in subjects with type II or III spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and to examine the relation between the number of motions with limited range and both age and functional ability.
Design: Descriptive cross-sectional study.
Setting: Neurologic pediatric outpatient clinic at a hospital in Taiwan.
Participants: Twenty-seven subjects with SMA type II (mean age, 9.8±6.5y) and 17 with SMA type III (mean age, 12.2±8.7y).
Intervention: Measurement with transparent goniometers of joint ROM bilaterally of the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, and ankle.
Main outcome measures: The proportion of participants with each ROM limitation compared with all participants with the same SMA type, age distribution of the participants with each ROM limitation, mean range loss of each motion limitation, and the contracture index (risk index of joint contracture).
Results: Eighty-nine percent of the participants with SMA type II experienced knee extension limitation. Approximately 50% of the participants with both types of SMA had ankle dorsiflexion limitation. The motions of knee and hip extension and ankle dorsiflexion also had a relatively high contracture index. The number of motions with limited range positively correlated (P<.001) with age and upper-extremity functional grade (the higher the functional grade, the poorer the functional ability) for SMA type II.
Conclusions: We found varying degrees of joint ROM limitation. Certain motions were noted to be high risks for the development of contractures. This risk was higher mostly in younger children. Copyright © 2004 American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1689-1693
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2004


Wang, H. Y., Ju, Y. H., Chen, S. M., Lo, S. K., & Jong, Y. J. (2004). Joint range of motion limitations in children and young adults with spinal muscular atrophy. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 85(10), 1689-1693. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2004.01.043


  • Contracture
  • Muscular atrophy, spinal
  • Range of motion, articular
  • Rehabilitation


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