Barriers and facilitators associated with musculoskeletal complaints in individuals with upper limb absence: focus group results and a scoping review

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Downloads (Pure)


PURPOSE: To guide better prevention and treatment and to develop research priorities, this study aims to create an overview of facilitators and barriers for the development and persistence of musculoskeletal complaints (MSCs) in individuals with upper limb absence (ULA).

METHODS: Exploratory mixed methods design. A focus group (FG) was organized with individuals with ULA about MSCs and associated factors. An inductive approach was employed to the transcript and the studies. A scoping review was performed to systematically identify barriers and facilitators. The International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health was used to create an integrated overview of the results.

RESULTS: Eleven participants participated in the FG, eight of them currently sustained or had sustained MSCs in the last year. Ten studies were included in the scoping review. The final overview consisted of 66 associated factors. Participants of the FG predominantly mentioned psychosocial factors, whereas the literature dominantly reported biomechanical factors.

CONCLUSIONS: The extensive overview of 66 factors showed that facilitators and barriers for MSCs are heterogeneous and aids in a better understanding of the complex nature of MSCs. Several biomechanical and psychosocial factors contribute to MSCs, but the association with a prosthesis remains unclear.Implications for rehabilitationMusculoskeletal complaints (MSCs) are highly prevalent in the population with upper limb absence (ULA) and the overview of 66 factors could help in the prevention and treatment of MSCs.Psychosocial factors in the development and persistence of MSCs are underreported in literature, but are important contributors to MSCs according to patients.Wearing a prosthesis does not seem to be protective for the development or persistence of MSCs.Social support, especially from significant others and employers, is essential to help protect MSCs in those with ULA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1352-1362
Number of pages11
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue number8
Early online date19-Apr-2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr-2023

Cite this