Prevention of contractures

Stretching exercises for amputees

What is a contracture?

It is important that the amputees make sure to stretch the muscles well and regularly to prevent contractures.

A contracture is reduced range of motion in one joint and can occur when the muscles become unbalanced when you are amputated.

Some muscle groups become stronger than others and this can lead to the stump being pulled in an undesirable position. For example, a thigh stump can have a forward bent position in the hip because you sit a lot and thus have problems getting the thigh stump stretched completely straight out.

In the same way, you can have problems stretching the stump straight out if you sit a lot with a bent knee. This can be avoided by practicing bending and stretching the knee.

When sitting in a wheelchair, you should have an amputation support to rest the leg stump in a fully extended position. When sitting in a chair, you should place the stump on a stool, push a board or similar.

For amputees, contractures can lead to complications.

A contracture makes it more difficult to wear a prosthesis. It makes it difficult to adjust the prosthesis and can lead to poorer force development in the muscles. It is therefore important to maintain any improvement in mobility throughout the body and especially in the hip flexor for leg amputees.

Here are some tips for stretching exercises to avoid contractures:

The back:
Lie on your back with 90 degrees at the hips and knees. Keep your arms out to the side.

Rotate the pelvis and legs alternately to the right and left.
You can lie down for 15-20 seconds on each side.
Be sure to keep your legs and buttocks together.

Hip flexors:

Lie on your back, lift one leg and grab the knee. Pull it towards your chest. Press the opposite leg / stump into the floor.

Hold 15-20 sec. and change legs.
If you have a thigh amputee, it may be necessary to lie on your stomach daily or otherwise get a stretch in the hip to avoid contracture in the hip flexor.


Seat muscles:

Sit with one leg crossed over the other. Bend the knee, hold it around and pull it towards the opposite shoulder until you feel that it stretches the vocal muscles.

Hold for 15-20 seconds and change legs.