Several trials indicate that reducing immobilisation time alone a

Several trials indicate that reducing immobilisation time alone after an upper limb fracture without therapy intervention could be beneficial (Davis and Buchanan 1987, Dias et al 1987, McAuliffe

et al 1987). A theme that emerged from the review was that the trials that reported contrary findings or lack of effect included more severe fractures that had been surgically managed (Agorastides et al 2007, Krischak et al 2009). In these trials the group that selleck screening library received more exercise (ie, supervised exercise in addition to home exercise program or earlier commencement of exercise) had poorer observed outcomes than the group that received less exercise (ie, home exercise program alone or delayed exercise). These results lead to the speculation that the amount of inflammation and tissue damage from the severity of the fracture and surgery might mean that a period of relative rest or controlled movement learn more may be an important part of recovery during rehabilitation. However, further research that controls for co-interventions and closely monitors the amount of exercise completed would be needed to confirm this. Another theme that emerged was that exercise may be more likely to lead to reduction in impairment,

particularly range of movement, than improvements in activity limitations. A number of trials reported short-term improvements in range of movement in the group receiving more exercise (Lefevre-Colau et al 2007, Wakefield and McQueen, 2000, Watt et al 2000), but there were few examples CYTH4 where the improvements carried over into an improved ability to complete daily activities. Given the principle of specificity of training, it is perhaps not surprising that exercises for upper limb fracture rehabilitation that focus on repeated movements or repeated contractions

might lead, when effective, to increased range of movement and increased strength. A couple of trials attempted to address this possible limitation by implementing ‘activity-focused’ exercises, but the content of the interventions were not well described and the investigators did not detect any beneficial effect (Christensen et al 2001, Maciel et al 2005). The findings of this review are similar to two previously published systematic reviews that concluded there was insufficient evidence to determine which rehabilitation interventions may be useful for the management of distal radial fractures (Handoll et al 2006) and proximal humeral fractures (Handoll et al 2003). The current systematic review adds to the literature by focusing on exercise and including recently published studies (Agorastides et al 2007, Hodgson et al 2007, Kay et al 2008, Krischak et al 2009). A strength of this systematic review was its comprehensive search strategy which included eight electronic databases, citation tracking, and manual reference list checks with no included trials identified outside the database searches.

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