Progression of Ankle Plantarflexion Contractures and Functional Decline in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy: Implications for Physical Therapy Management

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Purpose:This study characterizes the progressive loss of ankle dorsiflexion range of motion in boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), the relationship to functional decline, and the implications for physical therapy management.Methods:Longitudinal data for 332 boys with DMD were extracted from medical records and analyzed. Summary statistics for age, number of visits, ankle dorsiflexion measures, and North Star Ambulatory Assessment (NSAA) scores were computed.Results:Ankle dorsiflexion motion ranged from −32.5 to 25 degrees. Progression of ankle contractures is demonstrated by a trend line: slope −1.43 per year. NSAA score was estimated to decline approximately 0.23 points per 1 degree of ankle dorsiflexion lost.Conclusions:The results of this study describe the progression of ankle contractures and functional decline in DMD. The findings may help inform decisions regarding interventions to support participants with DMD and their families.

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