Degree of disability, pain levels, muscle strength, and electromyographic function in patients with Hansen's disease with common peroneal nerve damage.
INTRODUCTION: This study evaluated the degree of disability, pain levels, muscle strength, and electromyographic function (RMS) in individuals with leprosy.
METHODS: We assessed 29 individuals with leprosy showing common peroneal nerve damage and grade 1 or 2 disability who were referred for physiotherapeutic treatment, as well as a control group of 19 healthy participants without leprosy. All subjects underwent analyses of degree of disability, electromyographic tests, voluntary muscle force, and the Visual Analog Pain Scale.
RESULTS: McNemar's test found higher levels of grade 2 of disability (Δ = 75.9%; p = 0.0001) among individuals with leprosy. The Mann-Whitney test showed greater pain levels (Δ = 5.0; p = 0.0001) in patients with leprosy who had less extension strength in the right and left extensor hallucis longus muscles (Δ = 1.28, p = 0.0001; Δ = 1.55, p = 0.0001, respectively) and dorsiflexion of the right and left feet (Δ = 1.24, p = 0.0001; Δ = 1.45, p = 0.0001, respectively) than control subjects. The Kruskal-Wallis test showed that the RMS score for dorsiflexion of the right (Δ = 181.66 m·s-2, p = 0.001) and left (Δ = 102.57m·s-2, p = 0.002) feet was lower in patients with leprosy than in control subjects, but intragroup comparisons showed no difference.
CONCLUSIONS: Leprosy had a negative influence on all of the study variables, indicating the need for immediate physiotherapeutic intervention in individuals with leprosy. This investigation opens perspectives for future studies that analyze leprosy treatment with physical therapeutic intervention.