Impaired flexibility in patients with tropical spastic paraparesis/HTLV-associated myelopathy: evaluation via pendulum fleximeter

by | Apr 15, 2023 | Publications

Arq Neuropsiquiatr. 2023 Mar;81(3):271-283. doi: 10.1055/s-0043-1764417. Epub 2023 Apr 14.


BACKGROUND: Flexibility is crucial to the harmonious execution of joint movements. While skeletal muscle dysfunction in patients with HTLV-1 can interfere with mobility, it is unclear whether these patients experience reduced flexibility.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the differences in flexibility between HTLV-1-infected individuals with and without myelopathy compared with uninfected controls. We also investigated whether age, sex, body mass index (BMI), physical activity level, or lower back pain influence flexibility in HTLV-1-infected individuals.

METHODS: The sample consisted of 56 adults, of which 15 did not have HTLV-1, 15 had HTLV-1 without myelopathy, and 26 had TSP/HAM. Their flexibility was assessed using the sit-and-reach test and a pendulum fleximeter.

RESULTS: No differences in flexibility were observed between the groups with and without myelopathy and controls without HTLV-1 infection using the sit-and-reach test. The pendulum fleximeter results of individuals with TSP/HAM presented the lowest flexibility among the groups with respect to trunk flexion, hip flexion and extension, knee flexion, and ankle dorsiflexion, even after adjusting for age, sex, BMI, level of physical activity, and lower back pain using multiple linear regression models. Additionally, HTLV-1-infected individuals without myelopathy demonstrated reduced flexibility in movements: knee flexion, dorsiflexion, and ankle plantar flexion.

CONCLUSIONS: Individuals with TSP/HAM demonstrated reduced flexibility in most of the movements evaluated by the pendulum fleximeter. Additionally, HTLV-1-infected individuals without myelopathy demonstrated reduced knee and ankle flexibility, potentially representing a marker of myelopathic development.

PMID:37059437 | DOI:10.1055/s-0043-1764417

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