The Influence of Kinesiophobia on Perceived Disability in Patients With an Upper-Extremity Injury: A Critically Appraised Topic

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Clinical Scenario: Kinesiophobia is a common psychological phenomenon that occurs following injury involving fear of movement. These psychological factors contribute to the variability among patients’ perceived disability scores following injury. In addition, the psychophysiological, behavioral, and cognitive factors of kinesiophobia have been shown to be predictive of a patient’s self-reported disability and pain. Previous kinesiophobia research has mostly focused on lower-extremity injuries. There are fewer studies that investigate upper-extremity injuries despite the influence that upper-extremity injuries can have on an individual’s activities of daily living and, therefore, disability scores. The lack of research calls for a critical evaluation and appraisal of available evidence regarding kinesiophobia and its contribution to perceived disability for the upper-extremity. Focused Clinical Question: How does kinesiophobia in patients with upper-extremity injuries influence perceptions of disability and quality of life measurements? Summary of Key Findings: Two cross-sectional studies and one cohort study were included. The first study found a positive relationship between kinesiophobia and a high degree of perceived disability. Another study found that kinesiophobia and catastrophic thinking scores were the most important predictors of perceived upper-extremity disability. The third study found that kinesiophobia contributes to self-reported disability in the shoulder. Clinical Bottom Line: There is moderate evidence that supports the relationship between kinesiophobia and perceived disability, and the relationship between elevated perceptions of disability and increased kinesiophobia scores in patients with an upper-extremity injury. Clinicians should evaluate and monitor kinesiophobia in patients following injury, a condition that can enhance perceptions of disability. An elevated perception of disability can create a cycle of fear that leads to hypervigilance and fear-avoidance behavior. Strength of Recommendation: Consistent findings from reviewed studies suggest there is grade B evidence to support that kinesiophobia is related to an increased perceived disability following upper-extremity injuries.

Bartlett is with the University of Illinois Springfield, Springfield, IL, USA. Farnsworth is with the Department of Health and Human Performance, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX, USA.

Farnsworth (farnsworth@txstate.edu) is corresponding author.
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