OBJECTIVES: To evaluate whether supported standing can affect lower limb muscle length, spasticity, bone mineral density or the function of adults with upper motor neurone disorders. DATA SOURCES: A search was conducted of MEDLINE, EMBASE, AMED, CINAHL and Cochrane library electronic databases; clinical trial registers via www.controlled-trials.com and complemented with citation tracking. REVIEW METHODS: Two reviewers independently evaluated eligibility and methodological quality. Class I and II studies of assisted standing for adults with stroke, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury were eligible. A domain-based risk of bias approach was used to assess quality. RESULTS: Seventeen studies were included: 11 class I and 6 class II studies involving 540 participants, of whom 73% were non-ambulant. Quality was generally low, with only two high quality trials identified. High-quality evidence suggested tilt-table standing has a small effect on preventing loss of ankle dorsiflexion. One high-quality study found a low-dose standing programme did not alter bone loss early after spinal injury. Class II low-quality evidence suggested long-term, higher dose programmes may slow bone loss. Limited evidence for the effectiveness of standing on spasticity and function was inconclusive. CONCLUSION: Supported standing can prevent small losses of ankle mobility but the clinical importance of these effects is uncertain. Low-dose standing is unlikely to protect bone health.

Original publication




Journal article


Clin Rehabil

Publication Date





1059 - 1077


Activities of Daily Living, Adult, Bone Density, Humans, Leg, Motor Neuron Disease, Muscular Atrophy, Osteoporosis, Range of Motion, Articular, Self-Help Devices