The objective of this review is to evaluate the effectiveness of home exercise programmes for patients with rheumatoid arthritis. A search of seven databases was conducted using relevant search terms. Papers investigating the effect of exercise programmes on patients with RA in the home setting were included. Eight papers out of eighteen returned were included. All papers had a high risk of bias. The results show that home exercise programmes are effective in improving muscle strength, joint mobility, shoulder function and self-efficacy and reducing morning stiffness, number of tender/swollen joints and pain without increasing inflammation or disease activity.
The results of this review highlight the benefits of home exercise programmes for patients with RA, which encompassed physical, functional and quality of life domains. However due to the poor methodological quality of research in this area, further research is needed to confirm these findings.
Physical Therapy Reviews, 2009, 14(3), 149-159(11)