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Poliomyelitis destroys muscle fibers; consequently patients substitute other muscles or use passive tendon tension by alternate posturing to improve function. The result is overused muscles. Many years after the initial onset of polio and the overused muscles are exhausted, patients are being diagnosed with postpolio syndrome and experiencing decreased muscle strength and increased pain.


A cross-sectional study examined 32 patients with postpolio syndrome and measured pain intensity, pain distribution, muscle strength, and oxygen uptake. The results of the study showed marked decrease in isometric muscle strength, elevated scores in fatigue and pain, and low oxygen uptake. Performance of activities of daily living was diminished as well.


The researchers found that the patients' reporting of diminished capacity correlated with the study results. The authors recommended that evaluations of self-reports combined with sensitive muscle strength measures can provide additional information and should be considered in physiotherapy practice.




Hildegunn L, et al. Perceived disability, fatigue, pain, and measured isometric muscle strength in patients with post-polio symptoms. Physiotherapy Research International. 12(1):39-49, March 2007.