Musculoskeletal rehabilitation in the person with scleroderma

Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2010 Mar;22(2):205-12. doi: 10.1097/BOR.0b013e328335a7d2.


Purpose of review: The purpose of this review is to examine current evidence for the efficacy of rehabilitation techniques for musculoskeletal impairments in persons with scleroderma.

Recent findings: The current literature on rehabilitation techniques consists of studies evaluating the effectiveness of paraffin wax treatment, hand and face stretching exercises, connective tissue massage and joint manipulation, splints, and aerobic exercise and resistance training. Only four randomized controlled trials were found and except for those studies, the majority of studies involved small sample sizes and no control groups. However, except for splints, these studies show improvement in joint motion, hand function, and cardiopulmonary endurance.

Summary: Although the results from these small studies are promising, larger, randomized controlled studies are needed to fully determine the effectiveness of rehabilitation techniques for persons with scleroderma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Humans
  • Massage
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / complications
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / rehabilitation*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / complications
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / rehabilitation*
  • Treatment Outcome