Physical Therapy 1989 Aug; 69(8): 695-698
ABSTRACT: This communication response to the article by Michael T Gross and Schuch entitled “Exercise Programs for Patients with Post-Polio Syndrome: A Case Report” published in the January 1989 issue of Physical Therapy. The investigators examined effects of a rigorous isokinetic training program on peak torque of the knee flexor and extensor muscles of a post-polio patient. The literature on post-polio syndrome, however, does not support the use of either conventional muscle strengthening regimens or rigorous isokinetic exercise programs in the management of post-polio syndrome. In addition, based on the observation that there was no appreciable increase in muscle strength in either the affected or the apparently unaffected leg, the investigators concluded that their rigorous exercise program was not deleterious. The lack of a normal training response, however, is consistent with bilateral muscle fatigue secondary to overuse rather than muscle weakness secondary to disuse. This result is consistent with the need for a balance between rest and low-intensity exercise, which will help to maintain or ehnace function while slowing rather than hastening further deterioration. We hope that this rejoinder clarifies some of the misconceptions that may arise from the Gross and Schuch article and that physical therapists consider very carefully the rationale for any type of exercise program for post-polio patients.