OTCATS: Occupational Therapy Critically Appraised Topics
Introduction Topics Project Summary EBP Links Media Releases

There is inconsistent evidence that prolonged low load stretching is effective in minimising loss of external rotation PROM following stroke

Prepared by:

Leo Ross
Email:  leo_ross@health.qld.gov.au
Townsville Hospital (Occupational Therapy Department),
Queensland, Australia.


September 2005

Review Date:

September 2007

Clinical Question:

Among people with upper limb paralysis following acquired brain impairment (including stroke), does prolonged low load stretching, result in maintained or improved upper limb PROM when compared to standard therapy?

Clinical Scenario:

Reduced passive range of motion (PROM) in the elbow, wrist and finger flexors and shoulder internal rotator muscle groups is common following acquired brain impairment (ABI). This reduced PROM/impairment is often a barrier to function, upper limb rehabilitation and occupational performance. Reduced PROM is also often associated with pain and other long term secondary complications. Prolonged low load stretching of these four upper limb muscle groups is commonly implemented by physiotherapists and/or occupational therapists to maintain PROM.  What is the evidence to support the use of this intervention for this population?

Clinical Bottom Line:

The overall effectiveness of prolonged low load stretches for the maintenance of upper limb PROM following acquired brain impairment remains unclear.

Full Document:

Click to download PDF

File Size:


Supported by the University of Western Sydney
Funded by the Motor Accidents Authority of NSW
© 2003 Annie McCluskey. Disclaimer