Hypoalgesic and motor effects of kaltenborn mobilization on elderly patients with secondary thumb carpometacarpal osteoarthritis: a randomized controlled trial

J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2011 Oct;34(8):547-56. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2011.08.005. Epub 2011 Sep 6.


Objective: This study evaluated the effects of Kaltenborn manual therapy on sensory and motor function in elderly patients with secondary carpometacarpal osteoarthritis (CMC OA).

Method: Twenty-nine female patients with secondary CMC OA (70-90 years old) were randomized into Kaltenborn manual therapy and sham groups. This study was designed as a double-blind, randomized controlled trial (RCT). Therapy consisted of Kaltenborn mobilization of posterior-anterior gliding with distraction in grade 3 of the carpometacarpal (CMC) joint of the dominant hand during 6 sessions over 2 weeks. Pain was measured by algometry, as the pressure pain threshold (PPT) at the CMC joint and tubercle of the scaphoid bone. The tip and tripod pinch strength was also measured. Grip strength was measured by a grip dynamometer. Measurements were taken before treatment and after 1 week (first follow-up [FU]) and 2 weeks (second FU).

Results: All values in the sham group remained unchanged during the treatment period. In the treated group, the PPT in the CMC joint was 2.98 ± 0.30 kg/cm(2), which increased after treatment to 4.07 ± 0.53, and was maintained at the same level during the first FU (3.46 ± 0.31) and second FU (3.84 ± 0.36). Similarly, the PPT in the scaphoid bone was 3.61 ± 0.29 kg/cm(2), which increased after treatment to 4.87 ± 0.37, and was maintained at the same level during the first FU (4.44 ± 0.43) and second FU (4.22 ± 0.32). In contrast, we found no differences in the tip, tripod pinch, and grip strength measurements between the treatment and sham groups.

Conclusions: This study showed that Kaltenborn manual therapy decreased pain in the CMC joint and scaphoid bone areas of elderly female patients; however, it did not confer an increase in motor function in patients with CMC OA.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carpometacarpal Joints / physiopathology*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Hand Strength
  • Humans
  • Musculoskeletal Manipulations / methods*
  • Osteoarthritis / complications
  • Osteoarthritis / physiopathology*
  • Osteoarthritis / rehabilitation*
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / prevention & control*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pinch Strength
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Scaphoid Bone / physiopathology*
  • Thumb / physiopathology*
  • Treatment Outcome