Effects of motor imagery on hand function during immobilization after flexor tendon repair

Martin W. Stenekes*, Jan H. Geertzen, Jean-Philippe A. Nicolai, Bauke M. de Jong, Theo Mulder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether motor imagery during the immobilization period after flexor tendon injury results in a faster recovery of central mechanisms of hand function.

DESIGN: Randomized controlled trial.

SETTING: Tertiary referral hospital.

PARTICIPANTS: Patients (N=28) after surgical flexor tendon repair were assigned to either an intervention group or a control group.

INTERVENTION: Kinesthetic motor imagery of finger flexion movements during the postoperative dynamic splinting period.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The central aspects of hand function were measured with a preparation time test of finger flexion in which subjects pressed buttons as fast as possible following a visual stimulus. Additionally, the following hand function modalities were recorded: Michigan Hand Questionnaire, visual analog scale for hand function, kinematic analysis of drawing, active total motion, and strength.

RESULTS: After the immobilization period, the motor imagery group demonstrated significantly less increase of preparation time than the control group (P=.024). There was no significant influence of motor imagery on the other tested hand function (P>.05). All tests except kinematic analysis (P=.570) showed a significant improvement across time after the splinting period (P</=.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Motor imagery significantly improves central aspects of hand function, namely movement preparation time, while other modalities of hand function appear to be unaffected.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)553-559
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Volume90
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr-2009

Keywords

  • Hand
  • Imagination
  • Rehabilitation
  • Reaction time
  • Tendons
  • MENTAL PRACTICE
  • CEREBRAL REORGANIZATION
  • BRAIN PLASTICITY
  • MOVEMENT
  • CORTEX
  • REHABILITATION
  • ACTIVATION
  • EXECUTION
  • STRENGTH
  • REPRESENTATIONS

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