Restoring range of motion via stress relaxation and static progressive stretch in posttraumatic elbow contractures.
Loss of range of motion after injury or surgery of the elbow is a common complication. We hypothesized that an orthosis that used progressive stretch and stress relaxation principles would improve elbow range of motion. This study evaluated the result of a patient-directed, bidirectional orthosis that uses static progressive stretch and stress relaxation principles to improve elbow range of motion in patients who had posttraumatic elbow contractures. Treatment in 37 elbows consisted of a 30-minute stretching protocol performed in 1 to 3 sessions daily for a mean of 10 weeks (range, 2-22 weeks). The mean gain in range of motion was 26 degrees (range, 2 degrees -60 degrees ). Gains of motion were noted in 35 of 37 elbows. Patients lowered their analgesic use and were highly satisfied with the device (mean satisfaction score of 8.5 of 10 points possible). This device compared favorably with reports of other devices. Consistent improvements in restoring range of motion can be achieved with short treatment times by using a device based on the principles of static progressive stretch and stress relaxation in patients with posttraumatic elbow contractures. Copyright 2010 Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery Board of Trustees. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.DOI: 10.1016/j.jse.2009.08.007