1:00 PM ET | noon CT | 11:00 AM MT | 10:00 AM PT
Presented by Jos IJspeert, MSc, Radboud University Medical Center
Shoulder or scapular dyskinesia is one of the most common symptoms of FSHD. The muscles that normally stabilize the shoulder blade, or scapula, are weakened, and the scapula will jut out (“scapular winging”) and reduce the arm’s range of motion. Jos Ijspeert, a physiotherapist and PhD candidate at Radboud University Medical Center, has been conducting research on the potential for exercises to improve shoulder dyskinesia. He has found that shoulder problems caused by FSHD can sometimes be treated with physiotherapy. Targeted shoulder function training may even postpone muscle weakness. This training involves not only strength and mobility, but focuses on the control of the muscles. Through research in neuralgic amyotrophy, which is a nerve disease of the shoulder girdle, his team has discovered that the control of the muscles by the brain changes even if the muscle strength is adequate. The coordination of the shoulder muscles, therefore may deteriorate before the muscle strength does.
“We already know (mostly from the study of leg muscles) that FSHD progression is slower in more trained muscles, therefore, we think it is important that people with FSHD and shoulder complaints start using their shoulder muscles most effectively in daily activities,” IJspeert says. “As long as patients still have muscle strength, something can be done about the instability of the scapulae and overloading of the shoulder muscles can be prevented. We also hope that we can slow down the weakening of the scapular muscles, particularly in children, because they still have enough muscle strength to work with.”