Contractures refer to very advanced stages of soft tissue stiffness, which can affect all forms of soft tissues such as
Contractures tend to be very stiff and hard, and these are what that we physiotherapists truly dislike, because it means very, very limited
- active range of movement
These contractures can happen when the hands, feet, legs or arms start to slowly flex, curl and pull towards the center of the body and gradually stiffness sets in.
It can be caused by
- neurological injuries such as stroke, spinal cord injuries or Parkinson disease
These connective tissue shortening and stiffness typically happens as a response to
- prolonged immobilization
- prolonged rest
- prolonged inflammation
Physiotherapy treatment can help to manage stiffness and contractures in order to
- limit the severity of contractures
- improve the contractures as much as possible
Some of physiotherapy intervention approach for contractures include:
- Structured range of movement program – including passive and active movements to increase circulation, provide joint lubrication and to stretch soft tissues.
- Positioning – this will be continually assessed in lying, sitting and standing making it as functional as possible to prevent muscle shortening and decrease pain.
- Heat – to decrease muscle pain and assist tissue lengthening before stretching.
- Stretching – this may involve the use of splints or casts for prolonged stretch of the soft tissue surrounding a joint.
- Massage – helps maintain tissue mobility and nutrition.
- Manual techniques – joint mobilization may be used to increase joint flexibility and decrease pain.
- Advice and support – on orthotic devices and adaptive equipment.
- Training for family – or carers on positioning and posture
Physiotherapy treatment will help you achieve your optimal functional capabilities through correct positioning, advice on comfortable postures and stretching.
This will also ensure that you are safe around your home and avoid falls and injuries.
Your structured treatment program will be suited to your needs and involve short and long term goals to make sure you reach your maximum potential.
Nigel is a principal hand therapist practicing since 2005; and Louise is a principal physiotherapist practicing since 2006…and we’re really interested in treating orthopedic and sports injuries and condition, and treating pain for good.
Orthopedic and sports injuries and conditions refer to painful issues to one’s
- bones, muscles, joints, nerves, tendons and ligaments
- ie neck, back, hip, knee, calf, ankle, foot, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand and fingers
Where To Next
- Go to Home / Start
- Learn and find out more about your orthopedic / sports pains (bones, muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments, nerves etc) at Pain Conditions & Injuries
- Explore pain relief physiotherapy treatments as well as pain relief products & solutions
- Ask our physiotherapist and hand therapist questions about your specific pain.
- Read our latest articles at our blog
- Contact us to suggest topics / pain relief products for us to review; for media inquiries or even to say hi (we'd love to receive mail thanking us for helping with pain relief).