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Keywords:

  • exercise;
  • leukemia;
  • physical therapy

Abstract

Background

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of physical therapy intervention in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

Procedure

Twenty-eight children aged 4–15 years were randomly assigned to an intervention or control group. The intervention group received five sessions of physical therapy and was instructed to perform an individualized home exercise program consisting of ankle dorsiflexion stretching, lower extremity strengthening, and aerobic exercise.

Results

After 4 months children who received physical therapy intervention had significantly improved ankle dorsiflexion active range of motion and knee extension strength (P < 0.01). Differences were not found between the two groups for any of the other dependent variables.

Conclusions

Physical therapy intervention for children with ALL receiving maintenance chemotherapy improved two body functions important for normal gait. Physical therapy programs initiated earlier in treatment and with greater emphasis on endurance activities may also improve stamina and quality of life (QOL). © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.