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Alternative namesDeformity - contracture
DefinitionA contracture is a permanent tightening of muscle, tendons, ligaments, or skin that prevents normal movement of the associated body part and that can cause permanent deformity.
A contracture develops when the normally elastic connective tissues are replaced by inelastic fibrous tissue. This makes the affected area resistant to stretching 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):
Home CareHome care is primarily a continuation of the care that the health care provider prescribes. For example, physical therapy exercises must be continued at home.
Call your health care provider if
Your health care provider will obtain your medical history and will perform a physical examination .
Medical history questions documenting contracture deformities may include the following:
Depending on the cause and type of contracture, diagnostic testing (such as an extremity X-ray ) may be necessary.
Physical therapy, orthopedic braces, or surgery may be helpful for some types of contractures.
Update Date: 11/14/2002Thomas N. Joseph, M.D., Department of Orthopedic Surgery, NYU/Hospital for Joint Diseases, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT