A muscle contracture is a permanent shortening of a muscle
Muscle is a contractile tissue of animals and is derived from the mesodermal layer of embryonic germ cells. Muscle cells contain contractile filaments that move past each other and change the size of the cell. They are classified as skeletal, cardiac, or smooth muscles. Their function is to...

 or joint
A joint is the location at which two or more bones make contact. They are constructed to allow movement and provide mechanical support, and are classified structurally and functionally.-Classification:...

.. It is usually in response to prolonged hypertonic spasticity
Spasticity is a feature of altered skeletal muscle performance in muscle tone involving hypertonia, which is also referred to as an unusual "tightness" of muscles...

 in a concentrated muscle area, such as is seen in the tightest muscles of people with conditions like spastic cerebral palsy
Spastic diplegia
Spastic diplegia, historically known as Little's Disease, is a form of cerebral palsy that is a neuromuscular condition of hypertonia and spasticity in the muscles of the lower extremities of the human body, usually those of the legs, hips and pelvis...


Contractures are essentially muscles or tendons that have gotten too tight for too long, thus becoming shorter. Once they occur they cannot be stretched or exercised away; they must be released with orthopedic surgery
Orthopedic surgery
Orthopedic surgery or orthopedics is the branch of surgery concerned with conditions involving the musculoskeletal system...

 or Osteopathic Manipulative Technique the application of osteopathic manipulative medicine
Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine
Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine is the application of the distinct osteopathic philosophy, structural diagnosis and use of Osteopathic Manipulative Technique in the diagnosis and management of the patient. OMM takes into account the physical and mental health of a patient, and how either aspect...

. Most of the physical therapy
Physical therapy
Physical therapy , often abbreviated PT, is a health care profession. Physical therapy is concerned with identifying and maximizing quality of life and movement potential within the spheres of promotion, prevention, diagnosis, treatment/intervention,and rehabilitation...

, occupational therapy
Occupational therapy
Occupational therapy is a discipline that aims to promote health by enabling people to perform meaningful and purposeful activities. Occupational therapists work with individuals who suffer from a mentally, physically, developmentally, and/or emotionally disabling condition by utilizing treatments...

, and other exercise regimens targeted towards people with spasticity
Spasticity is a feature of altered skeletal muscle performance in muscle tone involving hypertonia, which is also referred to as an unusual "tightness" of muscles...

 focuses on trying to prevent contractures from happening in the first place.

Contractures can also be due to ischemia
In medicine, ischemia is a restriction in blood supply, generally due to factors in the blood vessels, with resultant damage or dysfunction of tissue. It may also be spelled ischaemia or ischæmia...

, as in Volkmann's contracture
Volkmann's contracture
Volkmann's contracture, also known as Volkmann's ischaemic contracture, is a permanent flexion contracture of the hand at the wrist, resulting in a claw-like deformity of the hand and fingers. It is more common in children. Passive extension of fingers is restricted and painful...


See also

  • Burn scar contracture
    Burn scar contracture
    Burn scar contracture refers to the tightening of the skin after a second or third degree burn. When skin is burned, the surrounding skin begins to pull together, resulting in a contracture. It needs to be treated as soon as possible because the scar can result in restriction of movement around the...

  • Capsular contracture
    Capsular contracture
    Capsular contracture is an abnormal response of the immune system to foreign materials in the human body. Medically, it occurs mostly in context of the complications from breast implants and artificial joint prosthetics....

  • Dupuytren's contracture
    Dupuytren's contracture
    Dupuytren's contracture , is a fixed flexion contracture of the hand where the fingers bend towards the palm and cannot be fully extended...

  • Marden-Walker syndrome
    Marden-Walker syndrome
    Marden–Walker syndrome is a rare autosomal recessive congenital disorder. It is characterized by blepharophimosis, microcephaly, micrognathia, multiple joint contractures, arachnodactyly, camptodactyly, kyphoscoliosis, and delayed motor development and is often associated with cystic dysplastic...

  • Muscle contracture
    Muscle contracture
    Muscle contractures can occur for many reasons, such as paralysis, muscular atrophy, and forms of muscular dystrophy. Fundamentally, the muscle and its tendons shorten, resulting in reduced flexibility.For example, in the case of partial paralysis Muscle contractures can occur for many reasons,...

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.