Effectiveness of manual therapy in patients with thumb carpometacarpal osteoarthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Héctor Gutiérrez Espinoza, Felipe Araya-Quintanilla, Cristian Olguín-Huerta, Juan Valenzuela-Fuenzalida, Rene Jorquera-Aguilera, Rodrigo Gutiérrez-Monclus, Jaime Castillo-Alcayaga, Patricio Retamal-Pérez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The effectiveness of Manual Therapy (MT) in thumb carpometacarpal osteoarthritis (OA) is unclear.Objective: This study aimed to determine the effectiveness of MT for functional outcomes in patients with thumb carpometacarpal OA. Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Methods: An electronic search was performed in the Medline, Central, Embase, PEDro, Lilacs, Cinahl, SPORTDiscus, and Web of Science databases. The eligibility criteria for selecting studies included randomized clinical trials that compared MT versus other interventions in functional outcomes, such as thumb and/or hand function questionnaires, pinch and/or grip strength, thumb and/or hand range of motion, and pain intensity or pressure pain threshold in patients with thumb carpometacarpal OA. Results: Five clinical trials met the eligibility criteria; for the quantitative synthesis, four studies were included. The mean difference (MD) for grip strength was 0.87kg (95% CI = 0.29–1.44, p =.003), for pinch strength was 0.10kg (95% CI = –0.01–0.20, p =.06), and for the pressure pain threshold was 0.64kg/cm2 (95% CI = 0.07–1.20, p =.03). All differences were in favor of the MT group. Conclusions: In the short-term, there was moderate to high evidence, with statistically significant differences in the functional outcomes, in favor of MT versus sham interventions in patients with thumb carpometacarpal OA. However, these differences are not clinically important.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysiotherapy Theory and Practice
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Carpometacarpal osteoarthritis
  • functional outcomes
  • manual therapy
  • meta-analysis
  • randomized controlled trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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