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There is fair evidence (level 2b) to support the use of massage following surgical and traumatic hand injuries to increase wrist active ROM

Prepared by:

Kristen Elvery, 4th year occupational therapy student,
University of Western Sydney, Australia
(Email contact: kl_elvery@yahoo.com.au)


May 2004

Review Date:

May 2006

Clinical Question:

Is there any evidence supporting the use of massage to effectively increase wrist or hand range of motion (ROM), compared with no massage treatment, in surgical and traumatic hand injuries? *

*Specifically not burns-related injuries.

Clinical Scenario:

Much of the literature available recommends the use of massage in treating a variety of hand injuries, as it is beneficial in decreasing oedema, increasing joint movement and overall hand function. To date, these claims remain primarily unsubstantiated by scientific evidence. Clients may experience reduced range of motion (ROM) due to a scar received through trauma or surgery. Does the evidence support the use of massage as an effective intervention in this situation?

Clinical Bottom Line:

Scar massage, completed by the client and therapist regularly over a four week period, when used in conjunction with other treatment modalities, may assist in increasing active wrist ROM by an additional 9.18% (95% CI = 1.83 to 16.63).

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