A contracture is a restriction of movement of soft tissues in an amputee. It occurs due to structural changes in the body, or a change in the connective tissues of the body. In some cases, the normal tissues in the body are replaced by stiff tissue. This can occur in ligaments, skin, muscles or tendons. Contractures may be permanent or semi-permanent.
There are a lot of reasons contractures occur. They can be caused by injuries or burns. Staying immobile for long periods of time may allow contractures to occur. Nerve damage may cause contractures, as well as inactivity. Contractures are problems for both amputees and non-amputees. They can be specifically damaging for amputees, however.
If motion is restricted, an amputee’s limbs won’t move enough to allow them regular activity. In some cases, contractures can make fitting a prosthesis difficult. When prosthesis does work with a contracture, it can be much harder to use.
Preventing contractures is critical, because it can be incredibly tough to stretch them out once they occur. If you are concerned about developing contractures, such as if you lie in bed in one certain way for hours at a time, you should take steps to prevent them from developing. Instead of staying in one position, it’s important to engage in activity and exercise, and well as stretch, even if you are confined to a hospital bed or a wheelchair.
A physical therapist or another medical professional can help with exercises. Once contractures occur, it can be very hard or almost impossible to stretch them out. A therapist can help, or splints and casts can help in some cases. Prolonged stretching may also help.
As an amputee, I understand the many challenged that amputees face, not in only dealing with healthcare-related issues, but in other areas of life as well. I dedicate my practice to helping amputees with their legal issues, including personal injury claims and fighting insurance companies that are acting in bad faith. Call me, Conal Doyle, Amputation Lawyer at 310-385-0567. I will be happy to help you with your amputation-related legal claims.