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Diseases reference index «Contracture deformity»

Contracture deformity

A contracture is a tightening of muscle, tendons, ligaments, or skin that prevents normal movement.

See also:

  • Becker's muscular dystrophy
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Duchenne muscular dystrophy
  • Dupuytren's contracture
  • Volkmann's contracture

Considerations

A contracture develops when the normally elastic (stretchy) connective tissues are replaced by inelastic (nonstretchy) fiber-like tissue. This makes it hard to stretch the area and prevents normal movement.

Contractures occur primarily in the skin, underlying tissues, muscle, tendons, and joint areas. The most common causes are scarring and lack of use (due to immobilization or inactivity).

Causes

  • Inherited disorders (such as muscular dystrophy)
  • Injury (including burns)
  • Nerve damage
  • Reduced use (for example, from immobilization)

Home Care

Home care continues the care that the health care provider prescribes. For example, physical therapy exercises must be continued at home.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if:

  • A contracture seems to be developing.
  • You notice a decreased ability to move a joint.

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

Your health care provider will perform a physical examination and ask questions about your tightness or limited movement, such as:

  • When did it start?
  • How would you describe it? Where is it located? How bad is it?
  • How much movement is there?
  • What other symptoms are also present?

Depending on the cause and type of contracture, diagnostic testing (such as an x-ray) may be necessary.

Physical therapy, orthopedic braces, or surgery may be helpful for some types of contractures.

Alternative Names

Deformity - contracture

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