Preliminary clinical experience of a contracture correction device

Prosthet Orthot Int. 1999 Aug;23(2):163-8. doi: 10.3109/03093649909071628.


Joint contractures which do not respond to conventional physiotherapy can be difficult to treat. Serial plastering has been used effectively but is expensive, inconvenient to the patient and does not permit daily hygiene or clinical inspection. A mechanical device has been developed consisting a hinged orthosis which spans the affected joint to which is attached a gas strut to provide a corrective moment about the anatomical joint. Such an arrangement enables prescribed corrective moments to be applied accurately following clinical assessment using routine physiotherapy techniques. The inherently low spring rate of a gas strut ensures that the specified corrective torque is maintained as correction occurs. Initial treatment experience under the control of the developers had generated wider interest in the system. A geographically distant independent orthotic supply centre was trained in the techniques of application. They treated nine elbow and three knee joints in patients who had not responded to physiotherapy treatment. All of the patients experienced improvement. The average for elbow joints was a reduction in the contracture of 25.6 degrees with a corrective moment of 6.8 Nm over a period of 3.9 weeks. For the knee joints the averages were a reduction in contracture of 10.7 degrees with a corrective moment of 12.7 Nm over a period of 4 weeks. The results confirmed the practicality of transferring the system to independent clinical centres and provide evidence to support funding for a formal prospective clinical trial of the treatment approach.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Contracture / rehabilitation*
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Orthotic Devices*
  • Treatment Outcome