author: Odeen I, Knutsson E.
publication: Scand J Rehabilitation Medicine. 1981;13(4):117-21.
Clinical observations on patients with spastic paraplegia have indicated that a training regime including weight load on the lower limbs may reduce the muscular hypertonus. Due to the spontaneous fluctuations and great variability in muscle tone it is difficult to judge from clinical findings how the effects may be related to muscle stretch and weight load. Therefore, quantitative determination of the effects on muscle tone by stretch and loading was made in 9 paraplegic patients. Muscle tone was measured before and after 30 min of stretch or weight load in 8 sessions on 4 consecutive days. Stretch was obtained by bracing the foot in maximal dorsal flexion with patient in supine position. For weight load on the lower limbs, the patient stood on a tilt-table at an angle of 85 degrees with feet in 15 degrees dorsal or plantar flexion. Resistance to passive movements was determined during a series of sinusoidal ankle joint movements at three different speeds. After weight load in standing with the feet in dorsal or plantar flexion, the average reduction was 32 and 26%, respectively. After stretch in supine, the average reduction was 17%. Thus, the three procedures tested all resulted in reduction of muscle tone. The largest reductions were obtained by weight load with stretch imposed upon the calf muscles.