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Limb contractures in progressive neuromuscular disease and the role of stretching, orthotics, and surgery

date:1998 Feb;9(1):187-211
author: McDonald CM1.
publication: Phys Med Rehabil Clin N Am.
pubmed_ID: 9894140



Contractures are exceedingly common impairments in selected progressive NMD conditions, particularly those with excessive fibrosis and fatty infiltration into muscle (i.e., dystrophic myopathies) and more severe NMD conditions, resulting in significant weakness and wheel-chair reliance, such as SMA. Less than antigravity strength produces an inability to achieve full active range of motion. Static positioning of limbs (generally in flexion) and lack of weight bearing results in fixed contractures. This article has reviewed the prevalence and distribution of contractures in specific NMD conditions. Aggressive rehabilitation strategies, including stretching, positioning, splinting, upright weight bearing, and orthopaedic surgical management may help minimize the degree of disability in NMD patients with contractures.