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post burn consultation




Post-burn contracture is a complication that can occur during the healing process after a burn injury. It refers to the abnormal tightening and shortening of the skin and underlying tissues at the site of a burn. This tightening can lead to restricted movement and joint deformities, significantly impacting the function and appearance of the affected area. Post-burn contractures often result from the formation of scar tissue during the healing process.
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Causes of Post-Burn Contractures

Scar Tissue Formation

After a burn injury, the body initiates the healing process by forming scar tissue. In some cases, excessive or hypertrophic scarring can lead to contractures.

Deeper Burns

Deeper burns, such as second-degree or third-degree burns, are more likely to result in post-burn contractures.

Lack of Proper Treatment

Inadequate wound care, delayed medical treatment, or insufficient rehabilitation after a burn injury can contribute to the development of contractures.

Location of Burn

Burns that occur over joints or areas prone to movement are more likely to lead to contractures.Areas of Post-burn contractures Neck:

Burns to the neck can lead to contractures that restrict head movement and affect the ability to tilt or turn the head.

Axilla (Underarm)

Burns in the axillary region can result in contractures that limit the movement of the arm and shoulder.
Burns to the neck can lead to contractures that restrict head movement and affect the ability to tilt or turn the head.


Burn injuries over the elbow joint may lead to contractures, restricting the extension or flexion of the arm.

Wrist and Hand

Burns on the wrist and hand can cause contractures that affect finger movement, grip strength, and overall hand function.


Burns on the chest area can lead to contractures that restrict chest expansion, impacting breathing and lung function.


Burns on the abdomen may result in contractures that limit trunk movement and flexibility.


Hip contractures can occur following burns in the hip region, affecting the ability to move the leg and pelvis.


Burns around the knee joint can lead to contractures that restrict the bending or straightening of the knee.

Ankle and Foot

Burns on the ankle and foot may cause contractures affecting walking, balance, and overall lower limb function.


Burns on the face, particularly around the mouth and eyes, can result in contractures that impact facial expressions, eye closure, and mouth movement.

Fingers and Toes

Burn injuries on the digits (fingers and toes) can lead to contractures affecting the range of motion and functionality of the digits.
Signs and Symptoms:

Limited Range of Motion

The affected joint or area may have restricted movement.

Tightness and Stiffness

The skin and tissues around the scarred area may feel tight and stiff.


Contractures can result in deformities, altering the normal shape and appearance of the affected body part.

Pain and Discomfort

Some individuals may experience pain or discomfort when trying to move the affected area.

Treatment and Management

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is a key component of managing post-burn contractures. Therapists work with patients to improve range of motion, strengthen muscles, and prevent further contracture development.

Splinting and Stretching

Splints and stretching exercises are commonly used to maintain or restore joint flexibility and prevent contractures.

Scar Management

Techniques such as massage, silicone sheets, and topical treatments may be used to manage scar tissue and prevent excessive scarring.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists can assist individuals in adapting to activities of daily living and using assistive devices if needed.

Surgical Intervention

In cases of severe contractures that do not respond to conservative measures, surgical intervention may be considered. This may involve releasing or excising scar tissue and reconstructing the affected area.

Preventive Measures

Early and appropriate wound care, prompt medical treatment, and ongoing rehabilitation are crucial in preventing the development of post-burn contractures.


Early Mobilization

Encourage early movement and mobilization of joints to prevent stiffness and contractures.

Wound Care

Proper wound care and management of the burn injury can reduce the risk of excessive scarring.

Regular Follow-Up

Regular follow-up with healthcare providers for assessment and intervention can help identify and address contractures early.

Compliance with Treatment Plans

Adhering to recommended treatment plans, including physical therapy and scar management, is essential.
Post-burn contractures can have a significant impact on an individual’s quality of life. Early intervention, proper wound care, and ongoing rehabilitation are crucial in preventing and managing these complications. A multidisciplinary approach involving burn specialists, physical therapists, and occupational therapists is often necessary to optimize outcomes for individuals with post-burn contractures.