Systematic review of contracture reduction in the lower extremity with dynamic splinting.

Joint contractures are relatively common disorders that can result in significant, long-term morbidity. Initial treatment is non-operative and often entails the use of mechanical modalities such as dynamic and static splints. Although widely utilized, there is a paucity of data that support the use of such measures. The purpose of this systematic review was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of dynamic splinting as it is used to treat joint contracture in lower extremities, and to determine if duration on total hours of stretching had an effect on outcomes.
Reviews of PubMed, Science Direct, Medline, AMED, and EMBASE websites were conducted to identify the term 'contracture reduction' in manuscripts published from January 2002 to January 2012. Publications selected for inclusion were controlled trials, cohort studies, or case series studies employing prolonged, passive stretching for lower extremity contracture reduction. A total of 354 abstracts were screened and eight studies (487 subjects) met the inclusion criteria. The primary outcome measure was change in active range of motion (AROM).
The mean aggregate change in AROM was 23.5º in the eight studies examined. Dynamic splinting with prolonged, passive stretching as home therapy treatment showed a significant direct, linear correlation between the total number of hours in stretching and restored AROM. No adverse events were reported.
Dynamic splinting is a safe and efficacious treatment for lower extremity joint contractures. Joint specific stretching protocols accomplished greater durations of end-range stretching which may be considered to be responsible for connective tissue elongation.
AuthorsJohn P Furia, F Buck Willis, Ram Shanmugam, Sarah A Curran
JournalAdvances in therapy (Adv Ther) Vol. 30 Issue 8 Pg. 763-70 (Aug 2013) ISSN: 1865-8652 [Electronic] United States
PMID24018464 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Review)
  • Contracture (rehabilitation)
  • Foot Joints
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint
  • Lower Extremity
  • Muscle Stretching Exercises
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Splints
  • Treatment Outcome

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