Objective: Joint hypermobility syndrome (JHS) is characterized by an association between joint hypermobility and musculoskeletal pains, the latter occurring in the absence of any objective indicator of rheumatic disease. The lack of a recognizable disease marker makes this condition difficult to identify and manage. We previously observed that patients with JHS have impaired proprioception compared with that of a matched control group. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether a home-based exercise program could produce objective enhancement of proprioception as well as alleviate symptoms in JHS.
Methods: A threshold detection paradigm was used to assess knee joint proprioception, balance was assessed using a balance board, and quadriceps and hamstring strength were measured by an isokinetic dynamometer. A visual analog scale was used to assess musculoskeletal pain, and quality of life was evaluated by a Short Form 36 questionnaire. Assessments were performed before and after an 8-week program of progressive closed kinetic chain exercises.
Results: Following the exercise program, proprioceptive acuity increased in 16 of 18 subjects and was very significantly improved overall (P < 0.001). There was a comparable improvement in performance on the balance board (P < 0.001), and quadriceps and hamstring strength also increased significantly. Symptomatic improvement also occurred, in terms of both pain (P = 0.003) and quality-of-life (P = 0.029 for physical functioning; P = 0.008 for mental health) scores.
Conclusion: Appropriate exercises lead not only to symptomatic improvement, but also to demonstrable enhancement of objective parameters such as proprioception.
Copyright 2004 American College of Rheumatology