FPTR Grantee Identifying Alternate Treatment Plan for Muscle Stiffness Post Stroke

Botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) is associated with long-term increases in passive muscle stiffness and likely limits hand opening in patients recovering from a stroke. Benjamin Binder-Markey, PT, DPT, PhD, recipient of the first-ever Deusinger Family Research Grant is identifying complimentary therapies to the preferred BoNT treatment to manage the secondary adverse symptoms of treating muscle hyperactivity in patients with neurological impairments.

In 2021, the Foundation for Physical Therapy Research (FPTR) awarded its first-ever $40,000 Deusinger Family Research Grant to Benjamin Binder-Markey, PT, DPT, PhD. Binder-Markey is now using this grant to develop a novel and alternate treatment plan to prevent drug-induced muscle stiffness.

During his work with patients with chronic stroke, Binder-Markey observed increasing negative effects on muscle movement in individuals treated with the preferred treatment Botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT). BoNT, an injectable drug, is used as the preferred treatment for managing adverse symptoms of muscle hyperactivity and increased muscle tone and joint stiffness in people with stroke, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, and dystonia. However, this same drug has also led to increased passive muscle stiffness and limiting hand opening.

Over the next two years, Binder-Markey will use a rat model to identify an alternate intervention to reduce passive stiffness and prevent long-term loss of function associated with BONT using a combination of stretching and an FDA-approved anti-hypertensive drug that has anti-fibrotic actions within muscles.

“BoNT is a powerful and effective treatment for muscle hyperactivity in individuals with neurological impairments. However, its long-term consequences on muscle function may prevent them from achieving their optimal recovery,” said Binder-Markey. “Therefore, the focus of this work is gain a more complete understanding of this process and develop interventions to prevent these long-term detrimental side effects while maintaining the short-term benefits, allowing these individuals obtain their optimal function and quality of life.”

This project is an extension of Binder-Markey’s Ph.D. studies for which he also received FPTR support through a 2016 Promotion of Doctoral Studies II Scholarship.

This grant was generously supported by the Deusinger Family Endowmwnet Fund. This fund was established in 2007 through a generous contribution by Robert H. Deusinger, PT, PhD and Susan S. Deusinger, PT, PhD, FAPTA. The Deusingers have been longtime donors to FPTR with over 20 years of support.  This grant was awarded to support a new investigator in a high risk/high reward, high impact, innovative area of high contemporary significance to the profession.

Select Foundation Grants and Scholarships Awarded




  • Binder-Markey BI, Murray WM, Dewald JPA. “Passive properties of the wrist and fingers following chronic hemiparetic stroke: interlimb comparisons in persons with and without a clinical treatment history that includes Botulinum Neurotoxin.” Front Neurol. 2021;July. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2021.687624.

  • Binder-Markey BI, Broda NM, Lieber RL. “Intramuscular Anatomy Drives Collagen Content Variation Within and Between Muscles.” Front Physiol. 2020;11:10. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2020.00293. PubMed PMID: WOS:000530486500001.

  • Binder-Markey B, Lieber R, editors. Whole Muscle Passive Mechanics Do Not Simply Scale by Architectural Properties. American Society of Biomechanics (ASB) Annual Meeting 2020; 2020; Atlanta, GA.