Table 1

Impact of exercise programme on hand function in patients with recent RA

StudyLoEPopulationnInterventionIntervention durationPrimary end pointDominant hand gripBaselineThree monthsRisk of bias
Manning et al111cRA of ≤5 years' duration52Education, Self-Management, and Upper Extremity
Exercise Training
2 weeksChange in Hand questionnaire DASH at week 12Measured by a hydraulic handgrip dynamometer in NewtonMean (95% IQR) 184.8 (144.1; 225.5)3-month change*: +16.8 (−8.2, 41.7)Unclear
56No intervention223.8 (184.1; 263.5)+3.7 (−20.6, 28.0)
Mathieux et al121cRA of ≤2 years’ duration30Education and practice regarding joint protection with hand and wrist exercises0.5 dayHandgrip strength at week 12Measured by an air dynamometer in kPaMean (SD) 37.9 (21.7)3-month value: 53.9 (24.2)†Unclear
30No intervention35.7 (24.0)37.3 (22.9)
  • *Comparison between intervention and non-intervention changes p=0.36.

  • †Comparison between intervention and non-intervention changes p<0.05.

  • DASH, Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand questionnaire; LoE, level of evidence; RA, rheumatoid arthritis.