Changes in motor function in Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients after travel restrictions due to COVID-19.
Muscle & nerve. 2021;(3):357-361
INTRODUCTION/AIM: This retrospective study aimed to quantify the changes in motor function in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) due to the government-imposed travel restrictions associated with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. METHODS Twelve DMD patients were enrolled in this investigation (mean ± SD age: 9.8 ± 3.6 y). Their physical characteristics and motor function were evaluated approximately 3 mo before, immediately before, and approximately 3 mo after the travel restrictions were decreed. Statistical comparisons were performed of the changes in motor function before and after the travel restrictions. RESULTS The change in range of motion (ROM) of ankle dorsiflexion was significantly decreased after the travel restrictions. Changes in body mass index and other motor function parameters were not significant. DISCUSSION An apparent decrease in the amount of physical activity due to travel restrictions in response to COVID-19 negatively affected ankle dorsiflexion ROM but not other motor functions. A more sedentary lifestyle and lack of regular physical therapy services most likely contributed to this reduction. The use of remote rehabilitation tools with the involvement of physiotherapists may help mitigate such changes and prevent more severe physical decline.