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RESEARCH: How Common is Laterality-Deficits in Patients Attending Outpatient Physiotherapy with Lower Extremity Injuries?

June 10, 2022 • Research • Adriaan Louw, Brad Tracy

The EIM team is publishing again! This study looked at the left-right discrimination or laterality a clinical test of altered body schema which is abnormal in people with chronic pain.

Abstract
Introduction: Alterations in cortical body maps (body schema), have been tied to the initiation and maintenance of a pain state. One clinical test of altered body schema is left-right discrimination or laterality, which is abnormal in people with chronic pain. To date, the prevalence of these changes in clinical practice has not been studied or reported.

Materials and Methods: Patients attending outpatient physiotherapy for lower extremity injuries were recruited for the study. Following completion of consent and demographic data collection, patients completed two laterality tests of the foot. Mean score of two tests of foot laterality accuracy and speed was collected for each patient. Laterality scores were compared to current normative data to determine patients presenting with abnormal values and which clinical presenting signs and symptoms correlate to abnormal laterality scores.

Results: Forty patients (female 22), participated in the study. Fourteen patients (35%) recorded an abnormal laterality score (speed or accuracy), indicating a relative high prevalence of laterality issues in patients attending outpatient physiotherapy for lower extremity injuries. Older patients and patients identifying as female were more predictive of poor laterality score, compared to other demographic and clinical variables including duration and intensity of pain, immobilization and surgery

Conclusion: Laterality deficits are common in patients attending outpatient physiotherapy for lower extremity disorders. Older adults and patients identifying as female have a higher chance of recording an abnormal laterality score. Clinicians should recognize this, test for it and use it as a guide in their treatment planning.

Keywords: Pain; Physiotherapy; Laterality; Body Schema

Abbreviations: GMI: Graded Motor Imagery; PT: Physiotherapy; S1: Primary Somatosensory Cortex

Citation: Adriaan L, Alex B, Daniel K, Brad T, Hailey L. How Common is Laterality-Deficits in Patients Attending Outpatient Physiotherapy with Lower Extremity Injuries?. J Yoga & Physio. 2022; 9(4): 555773. DOI: 10.19080/JYP.2022.09.555773

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Adriaan Louw

Adriaan earned both an undergraduate as well as a master’s degree in physiotherapy from the University of Stellenbosch in Cape Town, South Africa. He is an adjunct faculty member at St. Ambrose University, South College and the University of Nevada Las Vegas, teaching pain science. Adriaan has taught throughout the US and internationally for 20...

Brad Tracy

Dr. Brad Tracy has 19 years of clinical experience having practiced in a variety of outpatient settings. He is a board certified orthopedic clinical specialist through the American Board of Physical Therapists Specialties (ABPTS) and is a fellow within the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists (AAOMPT). He serves as an adjunct instructor for...

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