New! Effects of Medical Pressure Garments on Motor Skills in Children

Effects of the Intensive Use of Medical Pressure Garments on Fine and Gross Motor Skills in Children with Motor Function Challenges

Tampere University of Applied Sciences

Lassi Fröberg
Antti Hokkanen

Motor function challenges are caused by a large scale of factors, including neurological disorders and motor impairments. Approximately half of the childhood motor impairments reflect to adulthood. Pressure garments are used to support children’s motor skills and function, and they have become an important part of neurological physiotherapy for children. However, the effect pressure garments have on children’s motor function has been little researched.

The aim of the thesis was to study how using pressure garments affect the fine and gross motor skills of children with movement difficulties. 14 children ages 4–11 joined the study in spring 2016. Common factors for the test subjects were difficulties with motor function and hypotonia. Study period was seven weeks including the pre-assessment, a six week period of wearing pressure garments and final assessments with and without pressure garments. During the period the aim was to wear pressure garments a minimum of six hours per day. The evaluation test applied was Movement Assessment Battery for Children 2 (M-ABC-2).

For the target group, the six week intensive period of wearing compression garments had a positive effect on fine and gross motor skills. The total average rose by 24.8% (p = 0.09) with compression garments and by 17.4% without. Of M-ABC-2’s sub-sections the balance averages rose 38.2% (p = 0.06) and 25.9%, respectively. Fine motor skills average rose 24.9% and 21.3%. Aiming and catching averages changed 8.8% and -0.5%. According to these results, it is recommendable for children with movement difficulties to wear compression garments when exercising and as an aid for physical and occupational therapy. However a broader study is required in order to make a more general statement.

The thesis is available in Finnish from here!